Alternative Symphony brings their Daft Punk orchestral show to Adelaide Festival this weekend

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Alternative Symphony are an orchestral group who perform orchestral concerts of the music of popular artists, such as Daft Punk. They will perform their Daft Punk show at Adelaide Festival tomorrow night. We interviewed Alex who conceived the project about what audiences can expect at their only Adelaide performance this weekend.

Alternative Symphony: Daft Punk

Can you tell us a little about Alternative Symphony?

Alternative Symphony is a concept that I put together in Europe. As you might be able to tell I’m English, so I’m actually living in New Zealand now. I left the UK for about three years ago after forming this kind of idea of running orchestral shows of popular albums.


When I moved to New South Wales, I made contact with a guy called Phil Lombardo, who’s the musical director, and also the drummer for, all of our shows. And he’s done Dr. Dre with us, the Daft Punk one, and our Biggie vs. Tupac one. It is open to anyone.


We are a collective of musos about 20 of us, 25. It can range because what we do is we have a core group of about 18 people, I’d say, out of New South Wales. And then when we travel around Australia, generally, everybody seems to know somebody in the local area. So, we like to kind of involve five or six local people as well. In Adelaide, we’re about an 18 piece, and then we’ll have about five local violin players and I think a trumpet player joining us.

Image: Alternative Symphony Facebook page


Had you already kind of done that kind of thing in Europe and tested the concept?

Yeah, so my background is marketing. So, I tested the idea, but I’ve never actually run one of these orchestral shows in Europe. But I just knew it’d be really popular in Australia. The plan was pre-COVID was to start running shows in Europe, as well, but naturally, that went under and everything.


Yes, unfortunately COVID has messed up a lot of things for a lot of people. How did you put together that the core group?

When I arrived in Sydney, I’m a drummer myself, I actually joined all these Facebook groups of Sydney musos and stuff like that to find a band for myself. And I thought I’ll post in here did the Dr. Dre 2001 album first.


So, I posted in there saying “would anybody be interested in putting together an orchestral rendition of a Dr. Dre album?” And I had about 30 messages from people that were saying “oh my god, let’s do it. This sounds awesome”. And then I had to fish through the people to find the core group.


Phil, who I mentioned, our Musical Director, has been on the music scene in Sydney for 15+ years. He had great contacts with a lot of string players, horn players, and vocalists as well. So, we were able to put them together, quite easily really.


Is the show coming to Adelaide Festival the same as the one that’s been titled An orchestral rendition of Daft Punk?

Yes and that’s with the 18-piece group. We’ll cover all of the number one hits from Daft Punk. It’s awesome.


My background is in promotional marketing, I used to work a lot in student events and things like that. And production so important to me. So, when Phil says, “let’s do a Daft Punk one”, I was like “Oh my God, this is just a perfect opportunity to use lasers, LED screens” – really electronic stuff, which was cool. Daft Punk is definitely, in my opinion, the best show.

Alternative Symphony: Daft Punk


You’ve taken the show around Australia, not Adelaide before, obviously, and also to Canada. How have you found audiences have reacted to the show?

They’ve loved it. Like I said, production’s so important to me, it’s not just about the music. I think sometimes I forget that it’s so cool for somebody to be able to come and watch their favourite group or, in this case, Daft Punk, performed with an orchestra. We provide a level of production, like the LED screens which are mapped to all the songs of the group are playing, It’s an immersive experience. People always leave saying “wow”, which is awesome and is a huge plus for us.


What made Alternative Symphony decide to do a tribute to them? Because it is a tribute to them, essentially. Have they caught wind of it, by the way? Have you gotten on their radar?

No, I never heard from them. I think that’d be a bit of a compliment but no, I’ll let you know.


Was it the style of the music and the whole spectacular that you can put on that made you decide they were a good fit?

Yeah, definitely. If you listen to a lot of the songs as well, being from musical background, it’s quite cool. If you listen to the songs, obviously a lot of it is electronic and stuff like that. But a lot of the raw music sounds almost like it is violin, and there are almost trumpet parts in there. They’re made in the studio but the essence of some of the notes that they’re using, and certainly some of the frequencies and all the electronic sounds, they’re pretty much violin. So, it’s quite cool, to have that written in sheet music, and then give it to orchestral people and they’re “ok cool”. And then they all play it and you’re thinking “yep, there you go. Crushed it!”.


Is there any sheet music for any of this stuff? Or is it essentially kind of listening to it and trying to get an idea of what notes are being played where?

All this sheet music. We have people that take the songs and write the music to the songs that we want to perform. And then they do that in the violin. And they do it for the cello and then some trombones. And then the saxophones. And then our core group is bass, drums, guitar, piano, so you still have that original band set up, like the core. And then with the orchestral elements, it just adds way more effects.

Alternative Symphony: Daft Punk
Alternative Symphony will perform Daft Punk’s hits with its 18 piece orchestra at Adelaide Festival tomorrow night

What can audiences expect from the show? Do you need to be Daft Punk fan to go? Or does being an orchestral performance give you a different audience as well?

Yeah with this Daft Punk show, just expect great energy. It’s awesome for us to be performing at the Adelaide Festival. And definitely looking at the other people they’ve got in the line up and people that have performed in the past. I’d say, you definitely don’t need to be the biggest fan at all.  I can guarantee that even if you don’t think you’ll recognise the songs, you will. They’re so popular, and they’ve been in the charts at some point, so guarantee you would have come across it.


Also just come and, watch a load of orchestral performers do something a bit different to what they would normally do, a sit-down orchestra is great, but what we do everybody’s standing, there’s loads of energy, there’s loads of hype. Some fantastic vocalists as well, which perform a range of different songs that Daft Punk have produced and put together.

We thank Alex from Alternative Symphony for this interview ahead of the Daft Punk Adelaide Festival show.



WHAT: Alternative Symphony: Daft Punk

WHERE: The Summerhouse, Elder Park, ADELAIDE

WHEN: Saturday 19 March 2022 (one show only)

HOW: Purchase your tickets via this link:

HOW MUCH: Reserved seating $59 or $41 if 30 or under.


What’s your favourite Daft Punk song?


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