Miraval Studios has hosted French and international stars from Maxime le Forestier, Indochine and Telephone to The Cure, AC/DC, Wham!, Sting, The Cranberries, Chris Rea and Judas Priest.
Pink Floyd recorded part of their album The Wall at Miraval. The studio was founded by French jazz pianist Jacques Loussier and sound engineer Patrice Quef at Château de Miraval in Correns, Var, in 1977.
Its glory days were behind it in the early 2000s, although a few popular bands were still recording there.
When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie bought the chateau and its vineyard in 2011, they decided not to continue the workshop. This year, Pitt, now divorced from Jolie who sold her half of the property, plans to reopen it.
Pitt is not just an actor and winemaker, he is also a music enthusiast, whose personal favorites include Muse and Morrissey, both of whom recorded at Miraval.
Now the star of films such as Fight Club, Troy and 12 Monkeys wants to make his mark in the recording industry and has teamed up with producer, songwriter and entrepreneur Damien Quintard to revive the studio.
Mr Quintard, 30, won an Emmy for the opening ceremony of the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan, and has a local connection as his father is from Antibes.
Damien Quintard, how did this renaissance come about?
Brad was very aware of the incredible history of Miraval Studios.
He contacted me at the beginning of 2021 to work with him on this fabulous project.
He told me that he appreciated my links with the world of modern arts, in particular my work for the reopening of MoMA in New York, in 2019. The meeting took place in Paris and between us it was, musically and emotionally, ‘love in the beginning’. view’.
Who does what in the adventure?
It’s a 50/50 joint venture with Brad Pitt. I am the President of Miraval Studios and in this capacity I will manage the whole project in a region that I love, in daily contact with Brad who has an eye on the design and the overall vision of Miraval.
My role is to create a competitive studio, using my specialty that pushes sound technologies as far as they can go.
Have you kept the analog 56-channel Solid State Logic console used by music legends in the past?
It was actually one of the hardest decisions of my life: renew everything or do something in between? I went with the latter.
The legendary SSL, which by the way ended up at 64 channels, is being refurbished, as are all the microphones that recorded those incredible albums.
At the same time, we are looking to the future, in particular with a Dolby Atmos mixing system and a hybrid sound table.
How are you going to revive this recording juggernaut, which declined in the 1990s because it had become too expensive and ill-suited to home studios?
It’s true, the studio business is in trouble.
Hence the enormous challenge of stringing together all styles, from pop-rock to rap via classical.
Our vision is to go beyond the basic recording studio.
There will be a lot of diversification in Correns, which will become a production house with video editing stations, Dolby Vision, etc., to play a role in the audiovisual sectors by imagining series concepts.
The idea is to create virtuous circles between workshops, wine, visual arts, special events… It will be Renaissance Florence!
Not to mention accommodation.
The spectacular tower next to the studios is increased in height and will be used as a residence for visiting artists.
Read more: French musical review: summer memories
Who will be the first celebrity tenants this summer?
It’s going to cause a stir and we’re really delighted with the interest already shown by certain artists, but it’s too early to talk about it.
The same goes for the amount spent on such a big change. It goes without saying that this is a pretty penny.
And for me, in addition to being an honor, it’s the project of a lifetime.
Just look at the global buzz caused by our reopening announcement.
Interview by Laurent Amalric for Nice-Matin. Article translated and adapted with additions by Liv Rowland
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