(Paris) Hollywood resurrection among olive trees: Brad Pitt has restored the Miraval studios in the south of France, where Pink Floyd built part of The Wall, a place that fell into oblivion in the 2000s.
In recent years, the name Miraval has come up especially in gossip magazines like the 500-hectare estate, including 50 hectares of vines, acquired in 2008 by the interpreter of “Seven”, then in a relationship with another megastar, Angelina Jolie . Since: a shattering divorce and disputes around the vineyard.
But music fans also know that this little paradise on earth, between olive trees, vines and cypresses, concealed the remains of iconic recording studios, where the voices and instruments of Pink Floyd, AC/DC or The Cure resounded. . Before being abandoned for almost 20 years.
Then, at the end of 2021, the rebirth of the studios is announced for the summer of 2022 on Instagram, with Brad Pitt, bob on his head next to Damien Quintard, a French sound wizard unknown to the general public.
“One day, I get a message from Brad Pitt who wants to see me the following week. I thought it was a joke, ”rewinds the latter by videoconference for AFP.
The meeting goes well. “I didn’t know it was about the Miraval studios, it was a total surprise when Brad took the file out to me asking me what I could do with it,” continues the 30-year-old. The movie star heard about this sound engineer/producer during the sound design for the reopening of MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York in 2019.
“There have always been plans to restore the studio, which has a great history and so we were waiting to be able to do something special,” said Brad Pitt, amateur guitarist in his spare time, to Billboard, American music media.
And what stories. “We ended up in the tower full of microphones, which were recording fireworks being launched in the direction of the tower for the effect of (a) wonderful symphonic finale… It’s quite possible that we drank a lot of wine that evening, “testified the ex-leader of Yes, Jon Anderson, who moved to Miraval in the 1980s.
Souvenir recorded in a guestbook dedicated to Patrice Quef, sound engineer of the place, and unearthed by Manuel Jacquinet, author of Legend Studios, secrets and stories of our French Abbey Road.
Quite a challenge in any case for Damien Quintard: to remodel these mythical studios, or “to change, while preserving the soul, to honor the past and move forward towards the future”, as he describes it.
The Frenchman, a joint venture partner with Brad Pitt, first focused on the “sanctuary side of the place created by Jacques Loussier (1977) and which Brad holds dear”.
And it was the singer Sade, who had already come to record within these walls in the past, who gave Miraval a second sound life.
“On the one hand, it was very moving, begins Damien Quintard. And as Brad says, for the studios, Sade, the first artist welcomed, is “Royalty”. Term to be understood here as a seal of nobility affixed to the premises by this elegant artist.
French 79, a French electro figure, recently hailed on his networks “a magical place”, where he was able to work for his album “on the same machines as Pink Floyd, The Cure or AC/DC”. There’s also the latest, like this control room with a design reminiscent of the spaceship in 2001’s Space Odyssey. All bathed in a light with the hues of the enveloping late afternoons of south-eastern France.
How does it feel to have the keys to such a place? “There is 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.”