Show Off Your Studio: Green Chapel Studio is Cedrik Zimmerman’s ambient workshop
Located in a small French village, Cedrik’s home studio is where his chilled-out records take shape.
Green Chapel Studio
Studio Owner Cedrik Zimmermann
How do you use your studio?
I’m an Ambient music producer, known as Cedrik Zimmermann, so I use my home-studio to create, record and produce my music. I’ve made four albums in this studio. It’s also a great space to do promotion, listen and send demos to labels, listen to new records….
I have also the chance to work with my best friend, Dominique, who manages a reggae/dub label “Vibeguard records”, we work together to write and produce music for singers and toasters…
All is just for fun, I have a day job, but the studio takes a lot of my time.
Tell us more about the studio, Cedrik!
The home-studio is based in France, in the Champagne country, a small village with 500 people…It’s a room in my house, alongside the bathroom and toilets, perfect for me!
I’ve been there for 2 years, because I moved from another town, not far from here.
The idea behind the studio is first, to have a space to do my music, my own space where I can be relaxed, not disturbed, with a good vibe to make music with friends… Recording and mixing my music is also very important, and I am really happy with all my stuff. It’s a great place and I’ve spent a lot of good time inside.
Which DAW do you use?
I have used Ableton Live since I started making music.
I love Ableton, it’s the heart of my production. The workflow is so nice, the possibilities you have for editing a sample are incredible, the ease to create your live set, control your external instruments, that’s what I love! The LINK function, to join external instruments from my Ipad is magic for me! I’m also a Max for Live lover, that’s a cool way to find good tools for your music productions.
How much time do you spend in your studio per week?
I think I spend 20/25 hours per week, and more if I have an album to finish, or a recording session during the weekend.
It depends on the season, in the summer, it’s impossible to do music in the afternoon, because it’s too warm, (i haven’t got air conditioning and it’s like being in Hell!), so I do my studio session in the morning and late at night when I have a day off work. No problem with the winter, I can stay here 12 hours a day.
How did you go about getting the acoustics right in the studio?
That’s a real problem when all you have to play with is a room in your house. To be honest, I’m always editing the room with acoustic foam, and homemade panels. It’s very expensive if you want complete acoustic treatment, but it’s important to have a “clear” sound in your room. In my case, I’m lucky because the sound is acceptable, and I can work easily.
What atmosphere do you try and create in the studio?
It’s a good question…It’s sort of minimalist, with fairly sober colours, which also helps me to concentrate and stay well. I have a flag of England because my wife is English – it reminds me of the family, sometimes it gives me the motivation to put myself even more into my work.
When you make ambient music, you must be in a peaceful place, when I start research or creation, I don’t hesitate to put candles, which sometimes makes the atmosphere more intimate.
What is your favourite piece of gear?
Wow, it’s like asking “which of your children do you love the most?” …if I must say just one item, I say my computer, because with Ableton Live I can do all I want, with a lot of good VST plug-ins. You can do what you want, where you want. But if I can add another favourite piece of gear, it will be my Dave Smith Mopho because of the sound. This synthesizer is perfect for what I do, I can create drone sounds with very interesting textures, super lead and robust bass line.
It is also practical as a MIDI keyboard to play my instruments on Ableton.
How are you using the iPad in your set-up?
The iPad is connected like any other external instrument, I only use synthesizers with this one, it is “linked” with Ableton on certain apps, connected to an input on my sound card or my console.
I mainly use Synth One Synthesizer from AudioKit, it’s free and it’s amazing to have a rendering with this quality, a wide choice of sound bank, huge possibilities.
I love to use the Minimoog Model D, iProphet synthesizer and GeoShred to do some crazy leads!
What is next on your shopping list studio-wise?
I would love a Behringer Poly D. I’m really fascinated by Behringer’s work right now, and I’m quite tempted to try this Poly D, not just because of the price but also all of its capabilities.
But otherwise, a lot of things would please me, a new mixing console will be nice, my Mackie is getting old and it’s time to move on. Maybe a new iMac with a recent Osx, but my banker is not so sure as I am!
Do you have any frustrations with your current set-up?
Yes, just one frustration, my iMac is starting to get too old to have access to recent updates and programs. It’s also stressful and frustrating to say that I have a machine that works perfectly but that is not updated.
What is your dream piece of gear?
It’s not a piece of gear but it’s a place. I dream about an external studio, in the garden, an independent place at home, where I could put a rehearsal room and a place to record a drum and singers properly…..but it’s a dream…
What is your top piece of production advice?
The place where you are is very important for production, for me it’s the most important.
Whether you are in a super equipped studio, in a cellar or your grandmother’s kitchen, the main thing is to be well where we are, if you are well settled, then inspiration will come.
Equipment is also important if you just have the tools you need, it’s perfect, there’s no point in having too much.
What is the one piece of advice you would give someone starting out building a studio?
The best advice would be to find a good place where you can install and build something.
No need for a place that is too big, but a place which is practical and ergonomic, a place where you will not be forced to lower the sound, a place where you could stay for 15 hours.
For me, this is the most important.
It’s great to ask friends for advice, who also have a home studio. It’s interesting to interact with others who have built studios, too.
Lastly, out of interest, what records are on the wall?
I’m signed on different labels like Noctivagant (U.S) and Voyager 1 records (France) which is my own label and I had the chance to do a lot of techno music before I was 100% in the Ambient music, so, records on the wall are a part of my own releases, I love to listen to my music on wax!
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