"Get Lucky," the monster hit single by French duo Daft Punk, turned one year old earlier this month. By coincidence, renowned session bassist Nathan East released a video for his track, "Daft Funk," which plays on his association with the group, almost a year to the date of the initial release of "Get Lucky" on April 19, 2013.
While we had East on the phone recently from Japan to talk about his eponymous solo album, we also asked him to give us the inside track on the sessions that led to the Grammy-winning "Get Lucky." Some might be shocked to learn that the song was basically finished and then Daft Punk went back and revised the track nearly a year after the original sessions.
"They actually hooked up with me," East says of Daft Punk. "They had a list of the musicians that wanted to work with. They kind of embarked on a new kind of record where they were going to use players and musicians that they liked from L.A. and New York. I was one of the guys that got the call and I was honored and flattered to be on the list." East also ended up playing on several other tracks on the album.
Prior to working with Daft Punk, East was most familiar with the duo from their work on "Tron: Legacy" score. "I had seen the movie and I was admiring music from that and when I got the call, 'Oh, really, they do electronic music,' so that's another reason I was pretty excited to get the call," he says.
Initially, East was impressed with the sessions for the song. "While working on it, I thought, 'This is great. These guys are going to have a great record.' We cut 'Get Lucky,' but then about nine months later they came back and changed the song around and added [guitar parts by] Nile Rogers, so we did another bass part based on the new version of the song. I remember dancing around the studio and everybody thinking how great this is, but nobody could predict it would be such a big song and Grammy Record of the Year. It was pretty exciting."
During the sessions, East almost committed a faux pas. "We were in the studio taking pictures," he says, "and I went to go post it on Facebook and they said, 'Oh no, you can't do that. Nobody knows what we look like.'"
East also had the pleasure of performing with the band the night of their triumph at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards when the song also won the award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and "Random Access Memories," the album featuring the track, was named Album of the Year, Best Dance/Electronic Album and Best Engineered Album Non-Classical.
"When they were asked to perform at the Grammys they got everyone that performed on the record, the same exact band to play," East says. "So literally that band that you saw on the Grammys was the same band that was in the studio with them." Joining Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter and Gay-Manuel de Homem-Christo was East, Rogers, singer Pharrell Williams, drummer Omar Hakim, keyboardist Chris Caswell and guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr., and special guest, Stevie Wonder. Together, they performed a medley of "Get Lucky," Chic's "Le Freak," "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," and Wonder's "Another Star" that had stars like Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, Beyonce, Steven Tyler, and Katy Perry shaking their groove things.