Show Off Your Studio: Joachim Pastor’s sleek new studio sports iconic analogue processors
Moog, Shadow Hills, Elysia and Lexicon all make appearances in the Armada artists’ elegant home studio. The producer tells us how it all gets used, shares his wisdom and talks about the importance of acoustics.
- Studer 903 analogue console
- Lexicon 300L
- Elysia Karacter
- Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor
- Thermionic Culture Phoenix
- A design hammer
Born in France and exposed to the electronic music scene from a young age, Joachim Pastor has cultivated a strong following with his emotive, synth-led house music. In 2014, he founded the Hungry Music label and has recently put out music on the prestigious Armada Music. His work has earned him performances at iconic festivals such as Tomorrowland, Dour, Paleo, Olympia and more. With the release of his new track Be Someone, we head into his newly built studio to find out what gear is essential in his productions and what advice he has for aspiring artists.
Tell us a bit about the studio, Joachim.
My new studio is in my house and it’s a 90x2m room. I finished it just a month ago. Before, I also had a dedicated room at my old house, the acoustics in it were fantastic, I spent two years treating and tuning the room. The new one is promising, and a way nicer place to be.
How do you use your studio?
The studio is used 100 per cent for myself, and it’s basically a control room. I do not record anything, except a singer once in a while for rough work.
Which DAW do you use?
I use Ableton Live. I believe it’s the best for creativity and I find everything is really quick on it. It’s also the software I use to play live, so it facilitates every process to produce with it.
What’s been the biggest investment in your studio? Was it worth it?
The biggest investment was the Studer 903 console, not just the cost, but also the time. I recapped it fully – I changed 2500 capacitors myself – it was a gigantic task but worth it. I love this console, it sounds truly amazing.
What would you save in a fire?
My family! But studio-wise, the console. Except it weighs about 350kg so it would be tough to move quickly [laughs]. I’d like to save my Lexicon 300L, these are getting rare and hard to find in good condition and they can be a pain to repair.
What atmosphere do you try and create in the studio and how does it help with your creativity?
In the new studio, I have a really warm and organic style. I have the nice wooden diffusers with integrated LED, stone walls with LED and the window giving a view on the garden. It’s really important to feel good in the studio, not just for inspiration but when you spend seven hours in a row there, you need to feel good in it.
How did you go about getting the acoustics right in the studio?
Getting the acoustics right is a huge process, it requires a lot of patience and knowledge. To sum it up, I assess the room with measurements, then I take care of broadband absorption as the maximum, then I take care of the SBIR, then diffusion and finally tuned traps like membrane traps of Helmholtz resonators.
What is your favourite piece of gear?
I love my Lexicon 300L because nothing else sounds like it. in my opinion, no plug-in reverb comes close to it.
Which piece of gear was essential to the making of your Nils Hoffman remix?
In my Nils Hoffman remix, I made the bass with a Moog Sub Phatty and an Elysia Karacter distortion. This thing is my secret weapon for basses, it’s a beast.
What about in your latest track, Be Someone?
The piece of gear that was very helpful for this track was my Empirical Lab DerrEsser. It’s an analogue De-esser from Eli (the company famous for the Distressor), and it’s really great. It can catch peaks and remove sibilance so well. On the vocal i had a hard time removing some ‘s’ sounds without losing the edge of the vocal, and it was a huge help for that.
What’s something you use every day that is so boring that it’s not worth mentioning?
Ableton’s EQ8 to cut resonant frequencies, or maybe Ableton’s compressor as a sidechain.
What is next on your shopping list studio-wise?
I’d like a new pair of studio monitors for the new studio, I’m going to go either with Barefoot or ATC. I’ll do the change as soon as I’ve finished the album.
Do you have any frustrations with your current set-up?
I’ve to admit I’m pretty happy with the current setup. It’s true sometimes the console isn’t the easiest place to use a computer keyboard and mouse, and I’ll also have to get a bigger tv screen now that my studio is bigger, but aside from that, I’m pretty happy with the configuration at the moment.
What is your dream piece of gear?
An SSL or Neve analogue console of course, but that’s really a crazy dream.
What is your top piece of production advice?
Always listen to your music in context. It was my biggest flaw for many years – always listening to tracks on solo, then EQing and compressing in solo. You need to always listen and set everything up in the mix, especially when compressing, which usually turns out not aggressive enough when you do it solo.
What is the one piece of advice you wish you were told before starting your studio journey?
Take your time. I believe it’s better to do a great thorough job that will last a long time rather than rush something and then have regrets for years because it could have been done better.
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