How Daft Punk Created One of Their Most Famous Samples

Slate's Culture Blog
Jan. 3 2014 7:38 PM

How Daft Punk Created One of Their Most Famous Samples

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How do Daft Punk do what they do?

Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images

A lot of people who listen to hip-hop and electronic music might find the process of building beats a bit mystifying, especially since the genres’ instruments aren’t as readily identifiable as, say, the electric guitar. (The drum machine, the synthesizer, and the sampler aren’t as widely understood, leading some people to say they’re not “real instruments” at all.) This video, which just started going viral this week, should help demystify that process a bit.

In it, YouTube user SadowickProduction gives a step-by-step breakdown of how Daft Punk built the basic backing track for “One More Time,” using Eddie Johns’ “More Spell on You.” (The author of the video claims that Daft Punk has denied using the sample, but Vibe says it was officially cleared.)

A lot of people will see this video as proof of how building songs from samples takes a keen ear and a lot of skill: You’re not just “stealing” something, you're transforming it. Others will see it as proof of the opposite: Anyone can put a urinal on the wall and call it art. Of course, those people didn’t put a urinal on the wall, and they aren’t Daft Punk.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer.