From these legendary studios that have fallen into disuse, Brad Pitt has made, with the young sound wizard Damien Quintard, a little gem combining the best of analog and digital, in the middle of the fertile Var countryside.
These are studios, nestled in the middle of olive trees and Provencal vines, which have become legendary as they have seen the passage of renowned artists in the 80s and 90s, including Pink Floyd (for the album The Wall), The Cure, AC/DC, Sade, Muse, Sting, Bryan Ferry, George Michael, Telephone or Indochina. Their name: the Miraval studios, a dependency of the castle of the same name, a Var estate acquired by Brad Pitt in 2008.
Unused for twenty years, fallen into oblivion in the 2000s, these recording studios have been reborn since the summer of 2022 in a completely redesigned version, desired by the Hollywood star in collaboration with the young musician, producer and engineer. sound Damien Quintard. Unknown to the general public, this French sound wizard was spotted by Brad Pitt during the sound design for the reopening of MOMA in New York in 2019.
Damien Quintard: “I thought it was a joke”
Aged 31, Damien Quintard has worked with Brian Eno, Parcels, Gaspard Augé de Justice, Bertrand Chamayou, Arca and L’Impératrice. “One day, I receive a message from Brad Pitt who wants to see me the following week. I thought it was a joke“, he rewinds for AFP. “I had no idea it was about Miraval studios, it was a total surprise when Brad pulled the file out to me asking me what I could do with it.“, he continues. They then joined in a joint venture.
“There have always been plans to restore the studio, which has a great history and so we were expecting to be able to do something special“, confides Brad Pitt, amateur guitarist in his spare time, in a report by Billboard (above). The actor, who considers his field as “a sanctuary“, likes to invite his friends painters, chefs, novelists, directors and musicians. Regarding the studios, the challenge was to “change, while retaining the soul, honoring the past and advancing towards the future“.
One of the strong decisions was to bring natural light into this studio plunged into darkness, in search of “openness and communion with nature“, explained Damien Quintard at Spin Magazine end of 2021.”One of the big challenges was to build a huge glass partition between the control room and the recording studio.“
The singer Sade introduced the new life of the place
It was essential for the two associates that the studios had “an organic sound“.”The sound had to resonate with the wood and the natural stones of the estate.“, explains Damien Quintard to the Billboard. Aesthetically, the control room, with its immaculate and ergonomic mixing table, resembles the spaceship of 2001 a space odyssey. The analog equipment, including the microphones, has been preserved and maintained and has been supplemented with state-of-the-art technological and digital equipment, to have the best of both worlds.
How does it feel to have the keys to such a place? “There’s no sense of accomplishment, comments Damien Quintard. My goal is for magnificent creations to come out of here. Judging the result will be done over time, as with wine“.
It was the singer Sade who breathed new life into the sound of the place, where she had already been twice, notably to record her first album. The studios, bathed in enveloping southern lights, were recently hailed on the networks as a “magical place” by French 79, a French figure in electro. The only unknown: the price that artists must pay to have the privilege of recording in this inspiring little paradise…
Source: France TV Info