Studio Guide
Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts

Originally hailing from Montreal though now based in Berlin, Guillaume Coutu-Dumont is an artist that has always found a way to neatly tie together influences from different cultural pots - in his productions he knits together threads from the sound worlds of jazz, house and techno utilising improvisational flow in his performances studio working processes to harvest the moment. Hardware is very much at the heart of his operation which has made him the next and suitable candidate for our Studio Guide series of interviews as we anticipate his next live performance in Room Two this coming weekend (25th July). We jumped on the phone to find out more about the elements that are at the core of his studio, the long wait to get his productions released and also his plans to take control and launch his own label later this year...

So, set the scene for us a bit.. where is your studio based? In Berlin? Are you part of some kind of complex or community of artists?

Guillaume Coutu-Dumont: Yes, it's in a building where there's a club and there’s lots of people doing lots of different things like architects, video artists, designers and carpentry studios... so it's not just electronic music.

Could you run us through the core set up you have there?

It’s centered around a computer, there’s a recording station and a mixing system. Synth-wise I have a Moog Voyager which I mainly use for bass. A few years ago I was tempted to go in a modular synth direction because I wanted to create all those weird spacey bleeps they make but then I met up with some friends who had spent a fortune on an amazing rig of modular synths but actually listening to what they were doing with it for what I needed I didn’t need to spend 25,000 euros to achieve it. You can do this with the Moog Voyager with the extensions you have more ways of controlling its modulations, with that going into several panels, effects and delays I can get somewhere close to where I want to go without having to spend so much money.

Modular synths have been getting more and more prominent now that’s for sure, what other synths are part of your regular kit?

I’ve got a little Roland Tandi it’s like a little party, there’s an SH101, Juno 6 and a JX 3P which is the cheapest synth you can get but it’s amazing, it’s been on every track I’ve made since I got it. I’ve also got a Nord Lead but I don’t use it that much.

For drum machines I mainly use a 909, an 808 clone and I use a little Volca Bass thing... it’s actually pretty cool. I also use a drum pad, the Roland Handsonic HD10 and a Korg White Drum as well that I just process, I’ve had the white drum in my studio for ages but never made anything with it because I didn’t like the sound but I started patching it through an amp emulation device and it’s pretty crazy you can easily find yourself pushing into the realm of ethno techno but if you’re careful with it it’s ok.

How about the computer what's your software of choice?

I use the Universal Audio DSP card - it's the UAP Quad - and it's basically an emulation of all the classic studio equipment. You have Neve compressors and all the universal audio stuff, I think it’s the future of mixing inside a computer.

How much does the computer play a role in your production?

I never thought about it like that in percentages, but as I have more gear I try to do more with hardware and then record it and then probably just give it a treatment inside the computer. I mix on separate channels on the board.

Do you have a specific working process or do you find that it’s different every time you sit down to write?

I really try to make it different every time, I don't always succeed in that but for me it's one thing I really try to trick myself you know make it a bit more difficult otherwise you always have the same reactions and go through the same motions.

“I always try to make improvisation a big part of the live set because it’s the moments where I surprise myself that I really enjoy.”

So do you think that's important in terms of you being able to develop your sound and keep creating something new?

Yes and I use the cards that Brian Eno and David Byrne made. They're really cool actually. I’ve been using them more and more. It's funny how it gives a new perspective on things.

Are there any you remember that you found particularly inspiring?

It can be pretty diverse, yesterday I got one that was 'what are you really thinking about right now' or 'try and find your recipes and throw them away'. It's cool for working alone, I get to a point where I can't see the forest for trees.

You use a lot of vocals in your tracks, how do you source these are they of yourself or do you like to work with guest vocalists?

I don't sing, I would never inflict that upon anyone! Over the last few years I’ve been working with Dave Aju, he sung on my band project The Side Effects but he also sang on the second to last solo album I made and we’ve done a bunch of collaborations. I’ve worked with other vocalists before and I use samples sometimes, for my live set there are a lot of vocals that are sampled.

What are you working on at the moment with your solo work?

I’m always working on a million different things at once! I don’t know if you’re aware of the situation but at the moment when you have a release scheduled it’s probably going to take a year and half to get out there. Everything’s pushed back, there’s a big problem with the pressing plants. Saying that, I do have one release that’s out soon on Montreal’s Musique Risquée. There are a couple more but I can’t talk about them right now, they're not signed and I don’t want to jinx myself but there’s a Flabbergast record (a project I have with Vincent Lemieux) which will be released in September.

I’m also about to launch a label later this year with my buddy from Chic Miniature, Ernesto Ferreyra.

Can you talk about what releases you have lined up and the artists you're going to be releasing?

There’s going to be an album and an EP from Chic Miniature and we also want to release a record from Vincent Lemieux, it’s his first record ever and it’s absolutely dope.

Let's talk about the live set because you're obviously coming to perform for us this weekend, how do you go about adapting your tracks to preform and take on the road with you?

I always try to make improvisation a big part of the live set because it’s the moments where I surprise myself that I really enjoy, I don’t like it when it’s all planned. Over the last few years I haven’t really changed the live set in the sense that I haven’t sat down and done a new one, I’ve just been constantly adding new stuff into it. It’s a huge patch, almost 40 gigs which takes forever to load up!

To end our chat is there a track you've written that you feel particularly proud of that you’ve created during your career?

There is one that’s pretty crazy, it’s a pretty emo one but when my mom heard it she started crying. A friend of mine also told me that he played the track while his dad was dying, I was really touched by that but at the same time I was a big freaked out too. The track’s called 'Discoteque', it’s on my second album Breaking The Forth Wall.

Photo credit (head image): Mark Cole
Photo credit (studio): Artist

Saturday 25th July

Related Posts

Popular Posts