Arnaud Le Texier is a french DJ & producer, currently based in London. He’s being part of the label since some years and will return on Affin with “Shadow Bubble” in the next weeks. So i took the opportunity to talk to him about his new insights about producing music and silence in the studio….
J: How do you see your process of being creative in the studio since 2015 (when “Empty Space” was released)? I guess there were some changes regarding your way to work on music.
A: Many things happened since this release. First of all I’ve moved my studio in a new house which is not so good for the acoustic compared to where I was before… So it took me almost a year to manage to work the way I wanted. That was a hard time. I live in a victorian house so walls are not so big and you can’t really touch them so I had to change my way of working because I was used to work with loud music. But in a way this move helped me to understand how I could work in my new studio. I’ve learned how to really understand frequencies more visually with some tools and analysers rather than using my ears. Which is good too and one thing I’ve understood is that a good mix is good even if the volume is not loud because you should be able to ear every channel even at a low level. Then I’ve bought some hardwares for the studio so I have new tools to work with. I like to have always new tools to get inspiration and it’s a nice process to learn to use them and get new technics to renew yourself.
J: Could you also explain a bit what components (Hardware /Software) changed in the last years?
A: Many years ago when I was in Paris I used to have some hardwares in my studio and when I moved to London I sold 90% of them because I needed space. So for many years I’ve worked with my computer and few controllers. But I realized that every time that I was working in studio with these controllers, I was missing the touch of a proper synth. I like to modulate synths and this is important for me to do it with knobs and not a mouse…
So slowly I’ve started to buy again some hardwares and it was also a good time when brands such as Roland or Elektron started to do synths that take less space. So I have some Roland boutiques, few Elektron synths, Blofeld, Korg and still some controllers like Push 2, Maschine Mk3 or panorama, Apc 40 etc. Sometimes I also borrow synths from friends when I need something specific. Also I am working with many Daw such as Logic Pro x and in rewire Ableton, Reason or Maschine. I like to work with different Daw because they have different ways of working and some parts are simpler than the others. I’ve made many templates to work faster, every channel is routing to groups with different compressions and some Efx chain to speed up and record fast when I have ideas. Before for many years I was always starting a track from scratch and it was a waste of time to route every channel the way I wanted. It’s time consuming and unproductive. The time you do this you can lose either the motivation or the idea. At the moment I am looking for an external Multi Efx such as Eventide Harmonizer Max or a modular Efx. Still didn’t find what I am looking for as I would like to use it if I do a live one day.
J: You’re a DJ since more than 20 years, did you ever think about playing live ?
A: I am DJ since 30 years… time goes fast. I’ve started in 1989 exactly so next year will be the 30th. I’ve thought about doing a live quite often and still thinking about doing it one day. But I didn’t find yet the way I would like to do it. I am someone who doesn’t like to repeat myself when I play as a DJ. You will never hear me playing twice the same set or the same mix. I just can’t….
I like to improvise and this adrenaline of taking risks is what I like the most when I am performing as a DJ. Because I think after 30 years behind the decks I know exactly what to play and how to understand the risk of putting one track that is more experimental and to correct straight away if it’s a wrong choice although with my experience this rarely happens.
So if I do a live I want to be at the same position of when I am DJing. I want to be spontaneous and not repetitive every night and playing the same tracks all over and over. This is not for me.
Then on top of it, the other problem is when you travel and do lives you need to limit yourself with the quantity of gears you can bring and that you will be able to control with your hands… There is no way that I will put my hardwares in a check-in bag when I see the way airport staff treats the suitcases. Many years ago I had a bad experience with a fly-case they lost with 100 vinyls, including records that I will never find anymore even on Discogs…. So until I’ve cleared all these challenges I don’t think I will be ready for a live. But I am working on it anyway with my friend Antonio De Angelis and probably we will do a live together because I need at least 2 more hands to do the live I would like to do. We know each other well because we work in studio together since years and it’s always fun. Then it’s probably the only DJ who I accept to play B2b as we don’t need to talk when we play. It all comes spontaneous and this is exactly what I am looking for if we do a live.
J: Besides the music, what’s the inspiring part of your life these days ?
A: Many things and it’s a privilege to live in London where most museums are free or cheap so you can often see exhibitions. I like paintings and lately I like collages, I think it is really close to music. It’s the same process in the making, layers and layers that fit together and create something unique. Then I like to walk in the city, it refreshes me and I get inspired by its architecture which is a mix of old and new. I can also find new and funny street art. I watch a lot of movies especially when the soundtrack is good. I like to read many style of books, I always have one book with me in the studio and I often take a break and read during my production to refresh my mind. I like books where I can learn something and the silence in the studio when I read them. Then I can make a mess for few hours more in studio.