Sometimes the music bug bites us late in life, but once it takes hold, it doesn’t let go, as we discover in our interview with Simon Chauvin…
MusicTech: Which gear?
Simon Chauvin: My sound sources are a Rhodes Mark I, Sauter grand piano, Korg MS-20 (vintage), Moog SUB 37, Roland Juno-60, DSI OB-6, Nord Lead 4, Elektron Analog Rytm, a Fender Strat and a Taylor acoustic guitar. Effects-wise, I have a Roland RE-501 Chorus Echo, Strymon Big Sky and El Capistan and Moog MIDI MuRF. Studio gear includes a UAD Apollo 8, Audient ASP880, Dangerous Music D-BOX, Focal Twin6 speakers, Ableton Push 2, Livid Ds1 and mics.
MT: Which DAW and why?
I use Ableton Live, from recording to mixing. That’s because I bought a small MIDI keyboard several years ago, and the ‘Lite’ version of Ableton came with it. I immediately liked the interface and workflow.
MT: Favourite gear?
I’m a huge fan of analogue synths and at the moment, the Dave Smith Instruments OB-6 is the king of my setup. My creative process usually starts with sound design, so having such a bold and inspiring piece of gear to hand is amazing.
MT: How long do you spend in the studio?
Not enough time, as I also have a full-time job. I’d say that I spend at least 12 hours a week making music: that also includes improvisations on the piano, where I record the best parts and keep them in my ‘idea folder’ for later.
MT: How do you use your studio?
My interest in synths and electronic music started quite late, while living in London and then Amsterdam. I invested in a basic home-studio setup 18 months ago, and studied the basics of production (including a course at SAE). That got me completely hooked. What was initially a fun activity became more serious, and as a result, the studio grew bigger… I performed live for the first time in a venue in Amsterdam a month ago. It’s still a hobby, but I’m aiming to have my music released in the future and I’m working hard for that.
MT: What’s the next piece of gear on your shopping list?
Proper room treatment or studio space. My studio is in my living room, so bass traps and acoustic panels are not really an option. I’d have to rent a small room somewhere else for that.
MT: Anything annoy you about it?
Really, just having an untreated room. It makes it difficult to receive clear info, especially when mixing the low end. I’ve been able to check mixes in a proper studio on a regular basis, though, so I have a fairly good idea of what my room sounds like.
MT: Dream gear?
My dream is to slowly build a modular system that reflects the sonic palette I’m after, but also takes me out of my comfort zone by creating ‘happy accidents’. I’m interested in Buchla, Make Noise and Verbos modules.
MT: Any studio anecdotes?
My cousin travelled from Paris to Amsterdam by bus to bring me a Juno-60 I’d bought online. During the trip, some water leaked inside the luggage compartment. Once at home, we could see it was impregnated with water and I got really scared. We let it dry, then switched it on… and played the most beautiful pad ever. Happy ending!