They had already started playing games with their public image, wearing a variety of gaudy masks to conceal their faces onstage and in photo shoots. When I interviewed them for Mixmag before a festival show in 1997, they explained that they were trying to create a visual language for dance music that would leave the clichés of the past behind.
“We don’t want all the rock’n’roll poses and attitudes - they are completely stupid and ridiculous today,” Bangalter told me. He went on to explain: “This is new music, so it’s a new way of doing things. There is nothing to follow. There are no rules anymore.”
On stage later that day, they just wore the masks with their everyday clothes - Bangalter in a brown vintage leather jacket and ‘Back To The Future’ T-shirt and de Homem Christo in a casual turquoise top and denims, although these rudimentary outfits would evolve over the years into high-tech helmets fitted with LEDs and ventilators, sleekly complemented by stage costumes designed by French fashion star Hedi Slimane.
What was evident back then was their enthusiasm about the possibilities that were opening up in front of them. They had learned from the early house and techno producers who set up their own labels that it was possible to retain creative control over your musical output; they were also realising that they could apply the same philosophy to their image-making. Employing directorial talents like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry to make promo videos for tracks from ‘Homework’ prefigured their subsequent engagement with cinema, which culminated in the feature-length films ‘Interstella 5555’ (which they wrote and produced) and ‘Daft Punk’s Electroma’ (which they directed).