Show Off Your Studio: CRi’s illuminated home setup

The Anjunadeep artist invites us into his studio and shows us what synths and effects were essential in the making of his new album, Juvenile.

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CRi Studio

Studio owner CRi 
 Instagram | Spotify | Facebook
Photography André Rainville

Key Kit

Tell us a bit about the studio, CRi!

I moved my studio at least six times in the last five years. This year, with the pandemic, I had no choice but to move home. I thought I wouldn’t like it but, finally, I’m getting into it. I like the closeness I have with my instruments.

How do you use your studio?

I mostly do everything from my studio, but sometimes I rent a cottage to change the environment – it helps me with inspiration. I have everything I need to record: piano, guitar, voice, synths, and everything else comes from my computer.

CRi Studio

Why do you use Ableton Live over other DAWs?

I think Ableton Live is really well set up for composing and it’s pretty easy to understand. It’s versatile, with the clip mode and the user-friendly plug-ins. Compared to Pro Tools, I personally find that MIDI is easily assignable so, when you have hardware synths, it’s easier to develop a working setup. Plus, Ableton is a very powerful sequencer/sampler for live performance.

What pieces of gear were essential in the creation of your latest single Runaway?

The Moog Sub 37 is the most present in this song. I did my bassline and the final melody with the synth glide. In fact, I passed my signal from the Sub 37 into the Cathedral reverb pedal – the mix of the two gives a very rich colour to the sound.

What’s been the biggest investment in your studio? Was it worth it?

If I remember correctly, I would say that my biggest investment for my studio, in terms of price, was my RME Fireface UC. I buy gear often so it’s hard to keep track. This soundcard is super compact, the converters are very good and the preamplifiers are crystal clear. I also like the fact that there are 16 audio I/O and several MIDI ports, but I would say that its main strength is its compactness and the quality of its converters.

What would you save in a fire?

My dog! He’s my best friend.

CRi Studio

How does the studio environment help you with your creativity?

Over time, I realised that the environment is really important, sometimes even more important than gear in terms of inspiration. I used to have a studio without windows and I found little inspiration, then I had a studio on the eighth floor of a building and I composed at least 40 songs in six months. Now I pay a lot of attention to the decoration of my studio, to create I need a pretty minimal space, colourful and bright.

How did you go about getting the acoustics right in the studio?

I’ve never paid attention to acoustics, I’ve always considered that it’s not necessarily useful to make a good song. Also, to have a really effective acoustic treatment you have to spend a lot. Recently, my friend Boston Bun told me about Sonarworks Reference, a program that analyses the room and calibrates the speakers according to the acoustics of your room. Since using it, my mixes are sounding way better!

CRi Studio

What atmosphere do you try and create in the studio?

A lot of light! A luminous atmosphere, minimal enough to leave room for inspiration. If there are too many objects, it’s like my brain isn’t free.

What is your favourite piece of gear and why?

The Juno 106 is my favourite. I love the simplicity of this synthesizer, it’s really not that complex, but it sounds great. I often combine it with the Moogerfooger Cluster streamer and it sounds inspiring every time. I think that the Juno has appeared in all my songs since 2015.

CRi Studio

Did your production and creative process change in the face of creating Juvenile?

My creative process hasn’t changed drastically. I’ve discovered a lot of things and I’m constantly looking for new ways of doing things. It’s a bit hard to sum up everything that I’ve learned and discovered in the last two years. One thing for sure is that my setup changes a little bit all the time and it’s part of my creative process, change inspires me.

Can you talk about what effects you used and how you used them in your live performance of Initial?

In the studio, my three favourites are; the Fabfilter Pro Q3, it’s for me the most complete EQ; the Soundtoys Devil Lock, a kind of compressor/drive; and the RC-20 Retro Colour. When playing live, I mainly use the Cathedral Reverb with my Moog Sub 37 and the Moogerfooger with the Juno 106.

CRi Studio

What is next on your shopping list studio-wise?

I would really like to buy the Moog One, it seems to be the most powerful and complete synth on the market and it’s the first polyphonic synth from Moog in decades. It really would be a dream to get it, but for that, I would have to sell a lot of gear!

What is your top piece of production advice?

I don’t think there is such a thing as production advice. Each person finds their own way to do what they like. The only advice I would give is to be patient, follow your instincts and work hard.

CRi Studio

Your journey into music involved you dropping out of college and working a small-time job. What was the most important lesson you learned in making a name for yourself in music?

It may sound cliché, but anything is possible and if you want, you can. You have to believe in yourself, even when it’s hard. You have to work hard – very hard – and entertain your passion.

What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?

I would say to especially think of a setup that will inspire you; where you will feel good and creative, before thinking about acoustics or gear.

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