10 years ago, Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams enjoyed one of the biggest hits of their respective careers with “Get Lucky” — which spent five consecutive weeks at a peak of No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. On Wednesday (Oct. 11), the Oscar-nominated hitmaker is reflecting on the creation of that smash hit.
Williams appears in the latest episode of Daft Punk’s Memory Tapes series — a collection of interviews with key Random Access Memories collaborators in commemoration of the record’s 10-year anniversary. In his interview, Williams recounts his journey from being invited to be one of the album’s songwriters to eventually providing vocals for two songs on the final tracklist.
“When they brought me in to write on the album, I thought I was just writing for someone else,” Williams mused. “So, in my mind, I’m like, ‘Oh, okay, I’m writing this for someone. Okay, I think this is Michael-esque…’ It’s all feeling.”
That feeling resulted in “Get Lucky,” a seismic hit single that won two Grammys — including one for record of the year — and reached the top 10 of eight different Billboard airplay genre charts. Williams noted that while the songwriting process was fairly seamless, the recording process was particularly meticulous, with Daft Punk members Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo urging him to re-record certain sections several times over. “Now I understand the value of taking the time to iron it out, it could be perfection,” he says. “That’s the difference between a human and a robot.”
Williams also revealed that the road to “Get Lucky” was a bit longer than some might think. “By the time the song was done, I didn’t know who was gon’ end up singing it,” he recounted. “I didn’t hear it for a year, I forgot what the song sounded like — both of them.” “Both” is in reference to “Lose Yourself to Dance,” the other Random Access Memories track that Williams provided lead vocals for.
The rest of Williams episode also included footage of him hearing the final mixes of his Random Access Memories cuts and more reflective musings about what working with Daft Punk taught him about himself and the universe. “We must remember, we are part of the universe,” he said. “We don’t run the universe.”
Random Access Memories peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and won five Grammys, including the award for album of the year.
Additional guests in Daft Punk’s Memory Tapes series include album collaborators Julian Casablancas, Chilly Gonzales, DJ Falcon, Todd Edwards, Nile Rodgers, Paul Williams and Chris Caswell. Rodgers’ episode will debut on Oct. 25, while an interview with Williams & Caswell is set for Nov. 8.
Watch Pharrell Williams reflect on the making of “Get Lucky” above.
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