It’s not every day that school children get taught a curriculum based on one of modern music’s most influential groups. For the children of Wee Waa though, it is all part of the preparation for the international album launch of Daft Punk’s latest album, Random Access Memories.
The sleepy New South Wales town, with a population of just 2,000, will tonight be the centre of the music world when the French duo launch their album at the town’s 79th annual agriculture Wee Waa show, despite the entire album leaking online then appearing as a full stream on iTunes earlier this week.
Preparations are well underway and the town has created a series of YouTube videos titled ‘Road to Wee Waa’, showing numerous locals donned in the robot masks that Daft Punk have become synonymous with, including school children, local business owners, and residents performing a series of flash mobs around town.
In one of the clips, titled ‘School Kids Talk Daft’, one school girl says of the album launch: “It’s coming to Wee Waa for Wee Waa show and I think it’s incredible;” while another boy masked in a Daft Punk style helmet jumps up and down excitedly to the groovy guitar riffs of the album’s single “Get Lucky”.
The excitement and hype for the album’s release has evidently saturated the town (along with the rest of the world), with footage revealing spray painted stencils of the Daft Punk masks featured all around Wee Waa, from letter boxes to horses.
Other videos interview owners of local businesses whose excitement over the alum launch is evident. Brett Dickinson, president of the Wee Waa show says in one of the videos “it’s amazing that it’s gone all around the world to quote a song.”
Another clip interviews scientists at the Wee Waa telescope, which reportedly is one of the reasons Daft Punk were first attracted to the town for the global listening party in the first place, as Pitchfork points out.
“Daft Punk and the [Australia Telescope] Compact Array have a lot in common,” says one white coat, while another jokes that “I think Daft Punk are pretty up with their digital equipment. No offence to Daft Punk but our computers are pretty huge.”
Tonight’s Wee Waa launch will see 4,000 ticket-holders to the Daft Punk event descend upon the town and local police have announced they will have a strong presence at the event, with 30 police officers as well as 80 back up security staff in attendance as part of Operation Hadrian, targeting alcohol and drug related crime, underage drinking, and drunk drivers.
Operation Hadrian Commander, Superintendent Jenny Hayes, has said, “officers will be out in force at the event and local licensed premises and there will be no hesitation in taking action.” Numerous locals donned in robot masks, including school children, local business owners, and residents, performing a series of flash mobs around town.
Many have wondered if the Wee Waa launch is still relevant after Random Access Memories leaked online on Tuesday this week and later appeared on iTunes for fans to stream in an attempt to combat the illegal downloading of the album. While this proved goods new for fans eager to hear the duo’s new direction, it removed the exclusivity of the Wee Waa launch as being the first time music fans would hear the full length record.
Despite the police operation and the leak however, Wee Waa show president Brett Dickinson is confident the event will remain a spectacular night to remember. Telling media that the early link didn’t disappoint him, ”it’s hard to have a party on your own when you download a song off the internet,” adding the “light and spectacular show that’s going to be here – it’s the place to be.”
The Daft Punk album leak also follows the news that Weekend Vines, the proposed weekend long afterparty to the Wee Waa show evernt, ran into serious issues with securing permits from local council that led to its cancellation.
Daft Punk have been hyping the release of Random Access Memories through several teasers, as well as the online making-of series ‘The Collaborators’, featuring interviews with the record’s list of A-grade musicians, including Giorgio Moroder, Todd Edwards, Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams, Panda Bear from Animal Collective, Chilly Gonzales, and most recently, Paul Williams.
Now the album is in the hands (and ears) of fans, the reactions have been varied. The Age’s review notes it has failed to live up to the hype, while our own Tone Deaf reviewer has praised it for its “utterly human feeling,” awarding an 8.5 score. While Tone Deaf writer Al Newstead plumbed the depths of Random Access Memories and emerged with an opinion piece covering computer analogies, conspiracy theories, and talk of ‘prog-disco’ and Steely Dan.