Romanthony: the soul of Daft Punk’s ‘Discovery’

    Twelve years ago, an 11-year-old version of me sat bored on a living room couch flipping through TV channels looking for something interesting to watch. Settling on MTV Europe, which at the time still played music videos, I vividly remember a song that started to play.

    Daft Punk’s colorful anime video to “One More Time” glowed out of the big black box that was my family’s large and ridiculously heavy Sony TV. I sat mesmerized at the sight before me. A conglomeration of visuals and audio so amazing that I was unable to look away.

    I remember the catchy vocal melody that was so clearly digitally processed yet remained so powerfully soulful. The visuals of the video conveyed an exciting story of a blue-skinned alien band being abducted by agile masked soldiers. All of this combined to create a powerful figurative hook that latched itself deep into the recesses of my brain and refused to let go – this was my introduction to Daft Punk.

    Imagine my joy after I found out that the music videos were episodic, each music video serving as a continuation of an epic story. It wasn’t until years later that I found out that the music videos were bits and pieces from an animated music film called “Interstella 5000: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem.”

    It wasn’t long before I went out with my parents and got the album on cassette tape to play on my Walkman, which in 2001 was still getting a lot of mileage out of me. I remember sitting in the back of my parents’ car, headset over my head, completely lost in another world, with my head bobbing along to “One More Time.”

    The other day I found out that the man responsible for the soulful vocals on that track, Romanthony (real name Anthony Moore) had passed away. I also read that he had been a fairly accomplished house producer and guitar player in his own right – something I wish I had known earlier.

    Although he was only featured in two songs on Discovery, they happened to be two of the best. More importantly, the song he contributed to was the first Daft Punk song I ever heard and was my introduction to the world of electronic music.

    If Daft Punk is fondly referred to by the music press as “robots,” Moore was the ghost in the machine, the thing that gave the album and the band its soul.

    Rest in peace, Romanthony.

    Listen to “One More Time” and “Too Long” below as well as Romanthony’s own track “Remember 2 Forget.”