Meeting with Chromatik in studio

By the end of March 2014, the band French groovy band Chromatik was at La Canopée (France) to record its news EP. I took this occasion to pay them a visit and ask a few questions.

La Canopée is a recording studio located near Paris, which offers the possibility to sleep there directly and thus to have access to the studio 24 hours a day. It was almost like if they were home… It is in this very chill mood, after having chatted a bit with everyone, played ping-pong and drink a few beers, that we finally managed to gather everybody for the interview.

‘Chromatik’… Why this name?

It is both the chromatic range of colors and the chromatic scale in music: it gives an idea of mix. We had this will to mix different styles: jazz, groove, hip-hop, funk … It is a bit dangerous but it seems to work!

You are now eight in the band, how did it start?

Carl (guitar) and Léo (MC) had known each other for a really long time and they wanted to create a band together. Thus, they started to look for some musicians, especially in the American School of Modern Music (Paris) where Carl is studying. They found there Lucas (saxophone) and Teddy (bass). Lucas knew Sarkis (keyboards). Regarding the twins, Lucas (trumpet) and Maxime (saxophone), and also Hugo (drums) they were involved in some projects in which Carl was taking part. To sum up, it was kind of an informal meeting, but it directly worked out because everyone is in the same mood.

You are almost done recording right now, how are you feeling?

Exhausted!  But we are happy with the work we have done, almost on time … yeah! for now it is awesome! We haven’t finished everything yet but we are positive: the sound is really unbelievable. I am not sure you can imagine it, but this morning when some of us woke up, the brass instruments were still recording!

It seems that this week has been a bit tough… Did you expect it? 

We have already been recording in a studio, but it was only for our two first songs: five days is a lot. It is a lot but nothing at the same time when you have to record five tunes. But thanks to our sound engineer and to his work, we made it! We ‘survived’ thanks to coffee, breaks, (video games) but mainly thanks to everyone’s strong motivation and this comradeship between us. Living together in the studio allowed us to become closer, it is super cool.

What’s next? What do you hope this record will bring you ? 

The aim? An EP so perfect that when we give it to a venue they will really want us to play… Or to try to find a label, it will be a base for us to work on new compositions and to continue our way. We want the same thing than now, but in better, always the same idea: image/sound/album/composition/hip hop.
We would also love to create a kind of family (like Snarky Puppy), and have group of persons surrounding us (drawing, video, etc) because we are sure they would enrich our work!

Well, I have heard a little about this crazy team working with you: Could you present them?

First, there is Pierre Brochard who helped us for the kisskissbankbank: he helped us for the paper work, to prepare the rewards, and of course he takes care of the money issues. Then, there is Jonathan Schupak (applause) who is director and editor, and who is in charge of the video aspect of our project. He is working with a lot of people: Maxime Sabin, Victor Debordes, Nam Aragon, Clément fritz, Ran Li etc… And there is also Tristan Guerre (claps, again) our hard-working sound engineer. He is the one who told us about this place (La Canopée). Finally, there is Wee-Wee here who is taking care of the drawing aspect of the project.

What is the writing process? 

It is Carl or/and Sarkis who arrive with an idea and show us during a rehearsal. Then it the ‘oh but I would better do that here’ moment. They come with the main idea and then we refine it all together. We try different stuffs, we do the arrangements.

And what about La Canopée, the place itself? What did you think about it? 

It is convivial! The team is very nice, and the recording conditions makes this experience even more intense than it already is. We are always together, so we can make things as we like to do them, make breaks if we need to. We have five to six days to be in the mood. Moreover, the equipment is awesome and the place perfect. In a few words : good sound quality, good team, good environment, conviviality, no pressure, disconnected from the real world… Concretly, we were at their place, we’ve been incredibly well welcomed, they are discret and very nice. On top of that, there’s a barbecue.

What about your craziest dreams??

Come to a successful musical project, crazy and explosive. Why not go on tour too. For that, we would like to be well surrounded, to have someone to manage all this mess, all the financial aspect, in order to keep our mind free to focus on other stuffs, to allow us to become independent. But the real goal, no matter the further events, is to keep our state of mind till the end!

To end up with this interview, i asked each of them to cite me one word or expression which match with this project, with Chromatik. They answer me : work, giant, live, pleasant, love of life, crazy, serious, buddies, outcome, satisfying.

And the more I stay with them, the more i realize it is exactly that! It’s a great band, full of energy, with an incredible potential. I guess that with reading this article you will want to see them, that’s why I need to remind you: they play the 15th of april at “l’Etage”!!

To finish, a few pictures of the band’s members, who give us their best and worst moments!

Lucas (saxophone) – My best moment ? After one of my chorus on which I spent more than an hour, when I realized that finally it was sounding nice. The worst ? When the Thursday mornings, we were recording during thousands of years, and were coming to absolutely nothing : each time, there was at least one member getting mixed up !

Lucas (saxophone)My best moment? After one of my chorus on which I spent more than an hour, when I realized that finally it was sounding nice. The worst? When on Thursday mornings, we were recording forever and ever, and were coming to absolutely nothing: each time, there was at least one member getting mixed up !

Teddy (bass) – My best moment ? It was my little bas solo, which you all liked, it was « my » moment. The worst? The recording of Galapagos !

Teddy (bass) My best moment? It was my little bas solo, which you all liked, it was « my » moment. The worst? The recording of Galapagos !

Léo (singer) – My best moment ? I think it will be during the upcoming recording of my parts. The worst ? It was the fact that i had to come to the studio during two days, to do not so much [he was sick] and to go back home at 00:30 in « RER shlag C » and to come back the next morning. I had to disconnect from this nut environment and then to readapt within less than eight hours.

Léo (singer)My best moment? I think it will be during the upcoming recording of my parts. The worst? It was the fact that i had to come to the studio during two days, to do not so much [he was sick] and to go back home at 00:30 in « RER shlag C » and to come back the next morning. I had to disconnect from this nut environment and then to readapt within less than eight hours.

Carl (guitar) – My best moment ? When we sat in the couche after finishing the recording of the rhythmic part, and we listened one of the chorus particularly heated. The worst ? When there was no coffee left!

Carl (guitar)My best moment? When we sat in the couche after finishing the recording of the rhythmic part, and we listened one of the chorus particularly heated. The worst? When there was no coffee left!

Maxime (saxophone) – My worst moment ? When we had finished to record the brass part and we could listen the result : it was nice ! The worst ? It was when we were doing the groceries : we had to put up with the crazy crew screaming everywhere « Where are the PEANUTS? »

Maxime (saxophone)My worst moment? When we had finished to record the brass part and we could listen the result : it was nice ! The worst? It was when we were doing the groceries : we had to put up with the crazy crew screaming everywhere « Where are the PEANUTS? »

Sarkis (keyboard) – My best moment? On Thursday morning after the brass section, when we got totally crazy at 8am. I’ve been solicited all night long to watch after the the quality of the sound… And I think that like all the rhythmic part, I also enjoyed the moment when we were done and we listened to everything we had recorded. The worst? In the car, when we went to pick up a bulb which had burnt, and I thought I was gonna die from a heart-attack because there was so much trafic in the tunnel while I was super tired.

Sarkis (keyboards)My best moment? On Thursday morning after the brass section, when we got totally crazy at 8am. I’ve been solicited all night long to watch after the the quality of the sound… And I think that like all the rhythmic part, I also enjoyed the moment when we were done and we listened to everything we had recorded. The worst? In the car, when we went to pick up a bulb which had burnt, and I thought I was gonna die from a heart-attack because there was so much trafic in the tunnel while I was super tired.

Lucas (trompet) – My best moment? When we finally finished on « Thursday night » at 8am, we were really released et frankly, listening to the songs after that was amazing. The worst? This interview? Ahah, just kidding !

Lucas (trumpet)My best moment? When we finally finished on « Thursday night » at 8am, we were really released et frankly, listening to the songs after that was amazing. The worst? This interview? Ahah, just kidding!

Hugo (drums) – My best moment? When I came for the first time in La Canopée, and I realised it was an amazing place: I was nut! I directly felt like home. And then, I really enjoyed finishing the last track. The worst? I think it was during the recording of Rap Jazz, which was really complex as I was expecting while everyone thought it was going to be easy. We did so many tries that I couldn’t continue, especially because I had the spotlights on my back and I was wearing a black tee-shirt. This track mentally put me to the test, because I had to be really good.

Hugo (drums)My best moment? When I came for the first time in La Canopée, and I realised it was an amazing place: I was nut! I directly felt like home. And then, I really enjoyed finishing the last track. The worst? I think it was during the recording of Rap Jazz, which was really complex as I was expecting while everyone thought it was going to be easy. We did so many tries that I couldn’t continue, especially because I had the spotlights on my back and I was wearing a black tee-shirt. This track mentally put me to the test, because I had to be really good.

Jonathan (director) –My best moment ? When I realized, arriving in La Canopée, mainly in the studio, the good quality outcome we were going to have, both for songs and images. It is at this moment that I told to myself « we are going to have a great week and do great job ». The worst ? When my 5D [camera] fell down in the studio and almost hit the three most expensive microphones of the studio.

Jonathan (director)My best moment? When I realized, arriving in La Canopée, mainly in the studio, the good quality outcome we were going to have, both for songs and images. It is at this moment that I told to myself « we are going to have a great week and do great job ». The worst? When my 5D [camera] fell down in the studio and almost hit the three most expensive microphones of the studio.

 Mahaut

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