Who are those masked men?

KIERAN GRANT

, Last Updated: 4:32 PM ET

Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo have no intention of revealing themselves.

Hence the sinister masks the Parisian techno duo wear "only for TV and photographs."

"We don't believe in the star system," says Bangalter, the talkative Daft Punker, during a recent visit.

"We want the focus to be on the music," he adds. "If we have to create an image, it must be an artificial image. That combination hides our physicality and also shows our view of the star system. It is not a compromise."

Facelessness was not a problem for Daft Punk when their underground dancefloor hit Da Funk burst onto the scene two years back.

People don't care what techno duos look like. That's fine with Daft Punk.

Unfortunately, now that a deal with Virgin records and an exceptional video for Da Funk has flung them into the mainstream, Daft Punk are finding out that people do care what pop stars look like.

For the record, there's nothing sinister about Bangalter and Christo, both 22, in person. See for yourself tonight at Industry, where the two French DJs will be spinning vinyl. The pair will return for a gig this summer.

Still, Daft Punk's shyness, and love of masks, have worked in their favor.

They have a "general rule about not appearing in videos," according to Bangalter. So, they let offbeat video director Spike Jonze -- responsible for Weezer's award-winning Buddy Holly, among others -- work his magic for the dialogue-filled Da Funk clip. Entitled Big City Nights, it features a rather pathetic but good-natured dog-man, Charles, limping around New York City with a crutch and a ghetto-blaster.

It also breaks with techno's usual attention to psychedelic visual images, and whittles the song's funky hooks down into background music.

"We're trying to break the rules everywhere," Bangalter says. "I think this breaks the rules for videos.

"There's no story. It is just a man-dog walking with a ghetto-blaster in New York. The rest is not meant to say anything. People are trying to explain it: Is it about human tolerance? Integration? Urbanism? There's really no message.

"There will be a sequel someday."

Bangalter adds that Daft Punk's bizarre next video, Around The World -- a send-up of '30s musical numbers centred around breakdancing mummies and astronauts -- is already a hit in Europe.

Meanwhile, the group's credibility on underground dancefloors remains intact.

"This is quite surprising," he says, smiling. "In the underground scene, you have half of the people pushing the music forward, and the other half pulling the underground just to keep it for themselves, which is a very selfish attitude.

"We wanted our music to be more accessible to the people. We thought there would be more resistance from DJs. That's not happening. It is, indeed, very surprising."

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