Synths, Irony & Robots: A Chronicle of Daft Punk Music Supervision in Skate Videos

May 15th, 2013 | 5:21 am | Features & Interviews | 19 Comments

daft punk griptape

Image via Street Piracy

Every skate site was obligated to have a “Dill & AVE Off Alien”-post, and every website on the entire internet is required to mention the new Daft Punk album. Combined with the release of Kendrick Lamar’s debut last fall and next month’s Kanye album, we are in an eight-month rut of opinion onslaught from an unholy trio of annoying fanbases.

…but even skateboarders are talking about Daft Punk! Skaters previously only acknowledged electronic music when posting “wtf iz with dis gay song?” comments on video parts that dared to use it. And now they’re interested in dance music? Instead of giving an opinion about Random Access Memories like everyone else on the internet, here’s an abridged history of how Daft Punk, and in turn, electronic music as a whole, achieved acceptance in skate videos.

olson daft punk

[Much like how Europeans are more sexually liberated than Americans, they also have a deeper history of accepting electronic music in their skate videos. So, please note that this is a North American timeline. Accounting for European usage of electronic music adds another dimension entirely. Frozen in Carbonite wrote about French house, French Fred, etc. back in 2011, so read that for a more worldly take.]

1997:

This is the year that Ty Evans likely began to wane off the rave scene, and focus his attention on a career in videography. His legacy would become primarily tied to an across-the-board heightening of production value in skate videos, but do not forget that he paved the road for #EDM tolerance in skateboarding. With Genesis, Evans edited a video containing the most electronic music-heavy soundtrack of its era, setting a precedent for the remainder of his career.

1997 also saw the release of Daft Punk’s debut album, Homework. Given his musical biases, Evans definitely knew about “Da Funk” or “Alive,” the two singles released in years before the album. Why Genesis failed to utilize them will remain to be one of skateboarding’s greatest mysteries. (Or it could be one of those tragic things he’s second guessing to this day, much like Gino’s choice of skating to “Publicity” and “Motherless Child” sans vocals.)

2002:

Chomp On This, the first major “ironic” skate video, is released.

Though Chomp remains a classic, it unfortunately convinced a generation of upcoming skate video editors that they should not be sincere in their utilization of rap and electronic music. Everyone giggled at Jamie Thomas ironically skating to Master P’s “Hoody Hoo.” Then the credits came, which, knowing Evans’ involvement with the project and synth-friendly ear, featured very un-ironic usage of Daft Punk’s “One More Time.” Club riot-inciting New Orleans rap and French house were still taboo music supervision choices in 2002, even if one was clearly used with more sincerity than the other. By convenience, amateur skate video editors lumped these two genres together under the “irony” label, and it took nearly a decade for the damage to be undone.

2004:

J. Strickland, one of the most un-ironic skate video directors of all time, set out to do what Evans had neglected seven years earlier and edited a friends section in Bootleg’s Side B Re-Mix to “Da Funk.” Bootleg would soon go out of business and the DVD saw limited circulation, so the movement to un-ironicize Daft Punk in skate videos did not pick up much steam.

2007:

Daft Punk had a “moment” in 2007.

They went on a successful world tour, Kanye West sampled them for a hit single, and then-popular groups like Justice, who were obvious decedents of the duo’s sound, championed their influence. (Justice, in their “prime,” would be used as music in parts where the skater predominantly wore party promoter hats, e.g. Greg Lutzka in Globe’s United By Fate.)

Then came the Canadians.

2007 culminated with the Winnipeg-based Green Apple releasing Supper’s Ready, the Daft Punkest video ever made. They didn’t just edit to Daft Punk songs — they broke new ground by using Thomas Bangalter’s solo work, complimented by all sorts of weird blog-baiting electro remixes by kids on MacBooks trying to capitalize on the aforementioned “moment.” Above all, the video’s visual effects (probably) capture the high of anyone who experimented with hallucinogenic drugs after watching Genesis. And this was all by dudes whose YouTube page had live concert videos of a trip to Berekely to see the Alive 2007 tour, and who wore robot masks for the video’s premiere.

2009:

alex-olson-dj

Alex Olson, noted skater-skater-who’d-rather-be-makin’-beatz, addressed the topic of his favorite Daft Punk album on an episode of Skate Talk. Closeted electro fans in the skate community rejoiced in knowing they finally had an A-list, un-ironic pro skater representative, and were hopeful that he would pick the song for his next part accordingly.

2012:

#EDM was fully mainstream by 2012, and what remaining intolerance existed in skateboarding eroded with time.

carroll instagram

Talks about Daft Punk’s fourth album had been going on since 2008, as was discussion regarding Girl and Chocolate’s follow-up to Yeah Right! It is easy to imagine Girl holding meetings throughout 2012, in which they tried to schedule a deadline for Pretty Sweet some months after the release of Random Access Memories so that Evans and Daft Punk could reunite un-ironically. Alas, it was not meant to be, with the French group ultimately winning the battle of postponements. Girl was forced to use lackluster Daft Punk substitutes like Justice in Pretty Sweet, and Ty Evans moved on from the Girl fam soon after.

2013:

Pretty Sweet‘s outing with Daft Punk came on a much smaller stage, in the release of a shop-curated Justin Eldridge remix part edited to “Get Lucky,” the first unremarkable single from their new album. The early consensus on Random Access Memories is that it’s “okay,” but the fact that people are talking about it so much, mostly to compensate for not paying attention to the group when they were actually making great music (see also: post-Black Album Jay-Z), will give skateboarders cause to edit at least two dozen clips to songs off it. Yes, #trendwatch2013.

19 Comments

Comment by new balance skate kickz
  • it’s more techno than electro, i know, also it’s french.

    i guess you guys have already seen it – the megamix video.
    somewhat similar to bronze, but more edm, more gay stuff and, of course, more lucas.
    one of the best indie vidoes i’ve seen (why haven’t you brought it up in your indie video post?)

    http://www.dailymotion.com/MEGAMIXVIDEO#video=xw0qsz

    May 15, 2013 @ 8:01 am
  • Comment by SP
  • Thanks.

    May 15, 2013 @ 11:19 am
  • Comment by Bobby BottleService
  • Jesus christ, edm is still the shittiest stuff out. The only people who like that shit are people who pay too much for their pants, have dumb haircuts and pay way too much for alcohol and then brag about it. Im glad that people are overhyped on this new album though, it means the genre is going to go out of style within a couple years from edm exaustion.

    May 15, 2013 @ 12:15 pm
  • Comment by esteban
  • “see also: post-Black Album Jay-Z” hahaha so true

    May 15, 2013 @ 1:29 pm
  • Comment by au contraire, beware of the flare
  • I don’t agree that the general understanding used to be that all dance music should be an object of ridicule. I mean the fact is that some dance music IS shitty, air headed, flat and fun to goof off at. The ‘Chomp’ outro wasn’t supposed to be ironic and I think that was pretty well understood. Another example of a skate video from around that time using dance music – without any irony – is in Rune Glifberg’s part in ‘Sorry’. There are many more from back then too. I don’t think ‘Get Lucky’ fits in the genre anyway.

    May 15, 2013 @ 1:47 pm
  • Comment by Ripped Laces
  • Been meaning to do a Dill & AVE article on the site but I’ve got my hands full tracking down all the gossip and dudes on the New Balance Skate team. It’s not a pretty job, but someones gotta do it. #ThankYouSkateboardingIguess

    May 15, 2013 @ 1:54 pm
  • Comment by JFK
  • http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VXa9tXcMhXQ
    Daft punk copies kraftwerk

    May 15, 2013 @ 1:57 pm
  • Comment by JFK
  • And stole this beat too, http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QgGK4qBTwpw

    May 15, 2013 @ 2:02 pm
  • Comment by Onasis
  • And stole this beat too, http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QgGK4qBTwpw

    May 15, 2013 @ 2:03 pm
  • Comment by 90ssk8
  • http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QgGK4qBTwpw
    Sound familiar?

    May 15, 2013 @ 2:05 pm
  • Comment by Snack
  • @RippedLaced: Are you still allowed in the next union meeting?

    @JFK: Might be easier to just link to their WhoSampled page…

    May 15, 2013 @ 2:28 pm
  • Comment by biscuit
  • Random and not an actual skate video but I’m pretty sure Enjoi had a Bag of Suck teaser using Aerodynamite.

    May 15, 2013 @ 3:31 pm
  • Comment by Ripped Laces
  • @Snack: Don’t think I’ll make the next meeting anyways, gotta do an article about how Reebok might as well comeback into the skateboarding industry. It’ll be an all nighter; I have 10 reasons why, with a power point presentation pending.

    May 15, 2013 @ 11:14 pm
  • Comment by Samuel Hamilton
  • Completely unrelated to this post, but I felt this was noteworthy: http://www.hm.com/ca/stylesession#path=1&transition=10&duration=500

    May 15, 2013 @ 11:57 pm
  • Comment by Miguelito
  • Will someone please tell Alex Olson that there was a ceasefire in Israel in November.

    May 16, 2013 @ 5:48 pm
  • Comment by Lexington Upon Washington Ave.
  • WHAT…THE…FUCK…IS….GOING…ON?

    May 16, 2013 @ 7:16 pm
  • Comment by Proposition Joe
  • If I recall correctly, it was about 2002. I was sitting in the office my with the fan on, as it was a humid afternoon. I popped Thrasher’s “Go for Broke” into my VCR, tryna see what all this skateboarding racket was about. I cracked open a nice cold Coca Cola. I had some time to relax before Avon and Wee-Bey would be coming by to talk business. Anywho, I got distracted by the Orioles game, but y’all onto something with this skateboard stuff.

    May 17, 2013 @ 9:49 am
  • Comment by Philosopher
  • Brian Anderson and Alex Olson skate for NIKE and not Girl now…AVE and Dill skate for VANS and not Alien Workshop.

    Ch-ch-ch-changes…

    May 22, 2013 @ 11:15 am
  • Comment by Corrections
  • You forgot big brother videos…….probably just as prominent if not more than chomp during late 90s early 00s era.

    June 17, 2013 @ 8:31 pm
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