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Taft Plunk is the DJ duo impersonating Daft Punk in Ukraine

The alternative timeline adventures of everyone’s favourite robots

  • Words: Alice Austin | Photography: Olga Babych | Replicas: Alexey Tatarintsev
  • 26 November 2018

It began in May of this year. Ukrainian DJ and producer Vlad Fisun was helping organise the Burning Man Precompression event, where he was also booked to play a set in a reconstructed Soviet mine just outside of Kiev. His usual DJ partner Vladimir Sivash was unavailable so he ended up performing with a volunteer.

“We were looking for some props and we found a guy from a small town in Ukraine who made these two Daft Punk replicas,” Vlad says. “Then at the event we got two guys to pretend to be our security, we shut all the lights off before we went on stage and then played a Daft Punk-inspired set. Everyone was pretty surprised like… where did these Daft Punk guys come from?”

Vlad enjoyed the experience so much that he didn’t want the act to end there. “I thought we’d really like to pretend to be Daft Punk on the streets of Kiev,” Vlad says.

Both Vlad and Vladimir have played as DJs and producers for over 20 years, as well as working as magazine editors in Russia and Ukraine. They used their contacts from the industry to build a team to bring their new ‘Taft Plunk’ idea to life on the streets of their home city.

“We asked ourselves what Daft Punk would be doing if they’d never made the big time? I decided I would sit with a cold beer at an old Soviet pub I know and think about the good times.”

The duo called on their photographer and filmmaker friend Olga Babych to take snaps of them living their everyday lives in costume around Kiev. They sat on the subway, went to local pubs and visited their favourite record stores.

“The funniest thing to happen was on the subway,” Vlad says. “I thought that some people would ask for an autograph but everyone reacted like everything was normal. There’s one image of us on a bridge which is a popular place for hipsters, but nobody even looked at us.”

They spent the entire summer’s day sweating in their Daft Punk helmets, Vlad intermittently greeting passers-by with LED messages on his helmet activated by remote control.

After the shoot they wondered what to do with the images. “We could’ve just put the images on Facebook, but we wanted to attach some meaning to it,” Vlad says. So they decided to create a mix to honour Daft Punk’s French house roots – and contacted Mixmag.

When he was a teenager growing up in Ukraine, Vlad’s pirated copy of Daft Punk’s ‘Homework’ became one of the reasons he started DJing. “Both of us are influenced by French electronic music, so we asked ourselves ‘What would Daft Punk sound like if they still played underground music?’”

The result is a nostalgic, post-disco, upbeat mix that includes some pre-‘Homework’ studio works along with tracks by Étienne de Crécy, Motorbass and Benjamin Diamond. “It makes great driving music,” Vlad says.

The whole team have poured a lot of time, effort and creative energy into this project. Not that it really matters with something so beautifully pointless, but what do they hope to get out of it?

“It would be really great if Daft Punk would come to Kiev one day. They’ve never played here before. In fact, they haven’t been to many Eastern European cities at all. Unfortunately it’s nearly impossible to see them these days – so we created our own Daft Punk performance here in Kiev.”

Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo Vladimir Sivash, Thomas Bangalter Vlad Fisun, Additional Photos Anna Kisirija Locations Alexander Tsyganok

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