Last week, I spent three great days in the new Studios Saint Germain with producer François Delabrière for an upcoming project from singer Marc Lavoine. I’ve worked in this studio before, when it was still called Studio Acousti, and have fond memories of what the place used to be. We made Lise’s debut album there in 2009, a conceptual album made exclusively with piano, including drum sounds, effects etc. Fortunately the sensational Steinway piano we used for those experimental sessions survived the change into what the studio has become now. I also did several sessions there for an ad campaign for L’Oréal, that featured the Steinway prominently.
The studio went through some shaky times in the past years, and almost became a Yoga club. Fortunately things worked out much better. An ambitious trio of talented entrepreneurs have turned the place around: Pierre Guimard, Matthieu Tessier and Raphaël Hamburger, with Stan Neff as the main engineer. A lot of good choices have been made already, amongst other things seriously freshening up the place, and most importantly getting hold of a wonderful old Neve console from the BBC. Beside the studio itself, a big part of what makes this place special is the fact that it’s situated in the Rue de Seine by the boulevard Saint Germain, in one of the very neighbourhoods that define Paris.
Times are hard in the music business these days, the entire industry is undergoing something close to an earthquake. Much less revenue is generated; and the way the remains are being redistributed is chaotic and opaque. A lot of people in the industry are going through times of draught; and often legendary studios around town shut down and become supermarkets. In this environment it is incredibly revigorating to have people taking these kind of initiatives. For the moment the studio is off to a great start, I hope that they can keep up the steam and that a lot of great records will be made there.