This song pays tribute to Italian electronic music innovator Giorgio Moroder. It starts with a monologue by the synth legend in which he narrates his life story, beginning with growing up in a German small town wanting to be a musician, driving to the disco, sleeping in a car and how he decided on using a synthesizer because "I knew that could be the sound of the future."
Daft Punk explained the story of the song to French publication Le Nouvel Observateur: "We met several years ago and has always been for us a kind of mythical figure, a little mysterious. His personal journey following the music. The idea came to us a little bit of a documentary based on an interview we conducted. The voice of Giorgio Moroder was recorded with multiple microphones several different times... So we finally recorded about three hours of interviews in which he recounts his life as a musician.
"This piece is a metaphor for musical freedom," they continued. "We have always tried to break down the barriers between genres, between good and bad taste, the stuff connected and unconnected. Giorgio is a bit of a model of its kind. He was born in a small provincial town, began studying music in hotel lounges, the opening act for Johnny Hallyday, starts doing stuff progressive rock. To hear him say, in 72 years, 'ah, I made electronic music forty years ago,' it's fascinating."
Moroder recalled his contribution to Redbull Music Academy
: "It was great. I didn't really work in the sense of being in the studio. They just asked me to talk about my life. So we sat down for three hours in the studio in Paris. They gave me the concept of the album, but not really anything about the song. I just heard it for the first time a few days ago, and I'm surprised at how well they integrate my voice with their music. They were very professional, very detail-oriented guys."
Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter told NME that the song's lyrics also act as a metaphor. "We like to do open-ended lyrics, meanings and roles," he explained. "As much as it's a homage to Gorgio, it's also about freedom, music creation, life and how things are evolving."
Speaking to Vice as part of their Creators Project video series, Moroder said that Random Access Memories is a "step forward" for dance music. "Daft Punk wanted to do something and do it in a way that's not done by just pushing a note or a chord," he said. "You definitely hear that it's nice and full; the drums and the bass have that warm, that full sound. This is like a step forward."
This song set the stage for Giorgio Moroder's comeback - he released a solo album in 2015 called Déjà Vu. "I was semiretired and had a nice quiet life until Daft Punk got me back into work," Moroder told Entertainment Weekly. "The experience changed quite a lot of things in my life. I got a manager and I got several offers to do albums."
Daft Punk used microphones from the '60s to '00s when they recorded Giorgio Moroder's monologue for this song. This was so when he spoke of a period in his life, it would be recorded with a microphone that existed within the same timeframe.