Pink Floyd recorded The Wall there. The Cure retreated for two weeks in the studio in the south of France to record their 1987 double album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me—writing and recording hit “Just Like Heaven” there, too. For decades, Queen, Elton John, Sting, Shirley Bassey, The Cranberries, Muse, AC/DC, and more called Miraval Studios “home” at one point before it closed its doors in the early 2000s.
Videos by American Songwriter
Now, Miraval Estate owner Brad Pitt and French producer Damien Quintard have renovated and redesigned the studio and will reopen it for business by Summer 2022.
First opened in 1977 by the estate’s then-owner, French pianist and composer Jacques Loussier as Studio Miraval, the newly rebuilt space, housed at Château Miraval property in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of France has been renamed Miraval Studios and will honor the past of the studio while offering a more modern recording experience.
Pitt initially sought out classical musician Quintard, who has produced artists including Brian Eno, Arca, Parcels, and Teodor Currentzis, and won an Emmy for his work on the Baku 2015 European Olympic Opening Ceremony, to work on the project, and rebirth, of Miraval.
“When we met in Paris, we immediately clicked,” says Quintard. “It was an intense moment where we just talked and talked about sound. I was amazed at how sensitive and precise he was in his analysis of music.”
Revisiting recording equipment that was still working after 20 years of disuse, the pair faced the challenge of keeping the original bones of Miraval intact or starting from scratch and redesigning the space. Deciding on both, Miraval Studios will still offer the original gear used to record classic albums, in addition to analog and digital capacities, including a fully integrated Dolby Atmos system, and technology to handle pre-mixing for film and television.
The 1,000-sq-ft. control room and 3,400-square foot live room of Studio One, along with its 25-foot ceilings is something that preserves the “heritage of the quirky sound,” says Quintard, of the drum room pioneered by Loussier.
Quintard adds that Miraval Studio also has “redefined a remarkable natural reverb” to record voices or instruments anywhere in the studio. “It really is a space where you can produce anything from pop and rock to hip-hop and classical records,” he adds.
Additional features within the studio include recording booths, work stations for sound and video editing, a room of vintage synthesizers and other rare gear, a mezzanine overlooking the entire studio, a swimming pool and a tower connected to the studio for visiting artists, and on-site catering provided by the Château.
“The combination of Brad’s vision for Miraval and our common passion for taking the time to make simple but beautiful things has resulted in something that is one-of-a-kind,” says Quintard. “We are so excited for musicians of all types to be a part of what we’ve created.”
Photos: Hélène-Hadjiyianni / Grandstand PR