I hadn’t actually seen this quote from Daft Punk. I don’t want to beat this issue like a low-polygon future Derezzed horse, but I realized I missed a very important quote from Billboard. Bangalter:
We really felt that the computers are not really music instruments, and we were not able to express ourselves using a laptop. We tried, but were not successful.
The problem with the way to make music today, these are turnkey systems; they come with preset banks and sounds. They’re not inviting you to challenge the systems themselves, or giving you the ability to showcase your personality, individuality.
Presets, you say? Fascinating.
Source: Daft Punk Gross Beat, Image-Line News, March 2011
Change the scheme, alter the mood, move the damned knobs on the interface if you don’t like the presets. Maybe the battery was dead on their Bluetooth mouse; I dunno. But hold on a sec: are even presets really sinful, anyway?
Maybe it’s something about famous people that they start projecting what seem to be self-directed criticisms at the rest of the world. Cheer up, guys.
If you’d like to hear the music from the guy who made the preset Daft Punk used, you can. Because when Electroconductor makes music with the presets in Gross Beat, he actually is showcasing his individuality. In turn, though, it doesn’t sound anything like Daft Punk, making this whole argument somewhat … suspect.
The thing about getting to know the programmers and engineers who make music technology is, it gets harder to see them as faceless technology. This is not Stargate. You didn’t dig your DAW out of the sand in Egypt from a UFO crash site, touch its gold-plated, alien surface, and suddenly, eyes glowing blue, have your mind taken over by telepathic beings light years advanced of our puny Earth tech. (Crap, I was a folk singer-songwriter and now I can only make BROSTEP! You, too, will be assimilated!) No, this is stuff made by other musicians. And if you’ve ever heard the demo tracks they make, you know you can make something entirely different with them, entirely your own. (Keith Fullerton Whitman spoke to us rather eloquently about getting to know the folks making the modules in his rig. I see people I know when I use technology.
Of course, the irony here to me is also that, even using a preset pattern verbatim, Daft Punk come up with a Daft Punk song. It’s catchy. It can’t be faked. You could leave the rest of us alone with presets 3 and 5, and we might come up with nothing. And in a way, repeating this melodic pattern embedded in the preset is a weird 21st Century-equivalent of common musical practices from centuries past. Chopin made countless Mazurkas using the same rhythmic “preset”; composers used cantus firmi “presets” and made it their own, and —
Ah. This is a waste of time, isn’t it? Very well; I’ll stop. Because if there’s one danger in laptops, it has nothing to do with squashing creativity, and everything to do with getting involved in time-sucking arguments. That means the best thing you can do is switch off all your Internet-connected devices in the studio. Done.