Back in 2014 a collaboration appeared online between Daft Punk and Jay-Z. At the time no one really knew where it came from or – and most importantly – whether it was real.
In a recent interview with Mitchell Leib, the president of music and soundtracks for Walt Disney Records, the track’s existence has now been confirmed as real and it was from the duo’s TRON soundtrack.
When Disney and Leib were courting Daft Punk to record the film’s excellent score, music execs wanted a track that could be the single for the soundtrack’s release – and that’s where Jay-Z came in.
“So they get together and recorded a song,” Leib explained. But it turned out the track wasn’t the right fit for the film and was unceremoniously canned because the lyrics were “too rooted in real life and rap for their fantasy movie.”
Leib went into detail on some of the other constraints he and Disney faced working with Daft Punk, which turned out to be French copyright laws.
The duo usually write their music in Paris, but due to the way French copyright laws work, Disney was unwilling to allow the soundtrack to be recorded outside of the US.
So Disney and Leib wooed the duo with the promise of a new studio, which eventually would be used to record the duo’s grammy-winning album, Random Access Memories.
“Daft Punk and their manager Paul Hahn came up with the idea of building them a studio at Henson, where Hahn had an office and it made logical sense”.
“it basically looked like you had just walked into the small brain of the starship Enterprise. There was gadgetry everywhere.”
When Leib went to see it he was surprised by its modest size, stating “it was just a funky little room at Henson”, but was “by no means was it a normal recording studio. It was like a giant closet. It had no windows and it had no control room and it basically looked like you had just walked into the small brain of the starship Enterprise. There was gadgetry everywhere.”
Leib also confirmed that if the Jay-Z collaboration had been used he and Disney had persuaded both artists to perform it at the film’s premiere where the studio planned to block-off Hollywood Boulevard for the performance.
“We had this great thing in mind; just the two robots and Jay-Z doing his thing,” explained Leib.
Leib also mentioned that had reached out to the duo to do some one-off live performances of the TRON music, stating they declined because, in Leib’s words, “It’s just not something they’re interested in doing. I think they see it as repeating. I don’t think they see it as doing something new and dynamic.
“They didn’t even tour on the back of Random Access Memories, the album of the year. But they left it on the table, because they’re always planning something bigger. Right now, you can bet that, on the slow burn, they are cooking up something big for their next move.”
Read the full interview here.