Interview of Patrice QUEF for PRO SOUND NEWS - Studio Miraval manager.
- June 2005 - BACK TALK
Patrice Quef :
Farewell to a
“[With Miraval], the music industry realised it could record an album
on a very pleasant site in a sunny place.”
INTERVIEW BY GUILLAUME SCHOUKER
As it is now, so it was then: Patrice Quef knocked on many a Parisian studio door before he was fortunate enough to be taken on as a trainee by manag-ing director Gerhard Lehner at Studio Barclay, Avenue Hoche in Paris, in October 1968. Tutored by renowned recording engineer Jean-Claude Achallé, Quef was called by Jean Bonzon of Studio des Dames (Phonogram Studios) a month later and hired as assistant engineer in January 1969. At that time, Studio des Dames was a three-studio complex with seven engineers and seven assistant engineers. Becoming a fully qualified Studio des Dames recording engineer in 1973, Quef had already made the acquaintance of famous French composer, arranger and musician Jacques Loussier, the then-owner of the 600-hectare domain of Miraval, in the south of France. On this superb wine-producing site, Jacques Loussier and Patrice Quef founded what would become the legendary Studio Miraval in January 1977. When Loussier sold his property in 1992, Quef kept run-ning the recording facility and took the position of owner as well as of managing director.
Over the years, many big names have committed famous albums to tape at Miraval: notable recordings include The Cure’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987), Courtney Love’s America’s Sweetheart (2003), Rammstein’s Mutter (2000), The Cranberries’ Bury The Hatchet (1999), Wham’s Make It Big (1984), David Sylvian’s Secrets Of The Beehive (1987), Yes’ Union (1991) and Julia Fordham’s Porcelain (1992).
Now, as Quef will retires soon of the studio with its 64-channel SL 4000 G desk and Digidesign HD3 system, is inevitable, we look back over this grand old man’s achievements.
right that technology has always revolutionised our profes-sion. I took my
first step in the trade with a three-track Ampex analogue tape machine and
here we are today with a Pro Tools hard-disk system. What spectacular
progress we’ve made, always towards superior quality! “This multitude of
what were the skills of the
“The same ones as required in any recording studio around the world: technical competence along with a certain musical and artistic sensitiv-ity. The engineer was often the music and sound consultant during the recording sessions. And of course having a talent for human relation-ships was very important, to handle the artists and the musicians during the sessions. If a client chose to come to Miraval, it was to find a unique place and working environment.”
were the first residential pro-fessional studio in France, located
Miraval], the music industry realised that they could record an
your most memorable
“After 30 years in the studio busi-ness, there’s not just one session but lots of good souvenirs. But I admit I have a particularly fond memory of the time with Pink Floyd [during The Wall album recording] because it’s thanks to them that our studio business really got going. Our quality label was recognised by the trade.
I was recording engineer at the time and you never forget when you contribute to an album which is still referred to today.”
Any other pleasant memories?
yes! A number of artists and
EVERYTHING ON THE SPOT
Co-founder and former owner of Miraval, Jacques Loussier – oft remembered for his jazz arrangements of Bach – reveals: “Untiring worker Patrice and I spent nights on compositions and doing research on sound levels. We had lots of ‘discussions’, but always about improving the quality of both recording and the artistic field. It was hard in the beginning but also full of promise and, little by little, was crowned with success. The Studio Miraval formula – everything on the spot – has functioned very well.”