Timber Timbre

We’d been hearing about this legendary Chateau / studio for years

by Taylor Kirk from Timber Timbre On March 2017

“How can I make this interesting…? It’s weird this anti-journalism where I sit down and the “writer” asks me to tell them a bunch of interesting things about a recent recording. The other day it was “pick a song on your record and talk to me about it. And please repeat that ten more times, and then we’ll go outside in the back alley and take a photo of you all trying to look cool.”

Sincerely, Future Pollution started out as the group’s first “electronic” effort. Pretty classic. Cliche even. Vocoders (but no autotune.) Thankfully we very quickly realized that we have no business making electronic music or dance music or anything hip or remotely fun like that. So we ended up just doing “us” again; much the same but a little different. Different place. Different pallet and instrumentation. Different songs.

A year ago we took our musical odds and ends from Montreal and moved into La Frette Studios, just outside of Paris, for about two weeks. We’d been hearing about this legendary Chateau / studio for years, as many friends and acquaintances had spoken so highly of the place. A year prior to that we’d visited and were smitten by the house, the environment; the garden, and the anomalous collection of synthesizers and guitars and machineries. Not to mention the host, Olivier Bloch Lane and his illustrious staff.

Timber Timbre la frette studiosNow, I don’t mean this in a pejorative way but if Wes Anderson were going to make a film on a recording studio, this would be the place. The experience was magical. I don’t think we even left the building except for a cigarette or to restock the wine. We’d work all hours and sort of tumble in-and-out of the kitchen to dine on delicious meals prepared by Elizabeth, the wonderful in-house chef and hostess.

Every morning we’d be greeted by the beaming faces of the engineers, Nico, who’d arrive by bicycle and Jonathan, by a sputtering Austin mini. Olivier, the spirit guide would swoop in and fill your cup and vanish again for a few hours, returning later with the OBx or Clavinet or Farfisa he’d promised. Though it was the Fairlight sampler that captured our imagination the most I think. And as lovely as the sunlight-bathed salon was, it felt like we spent the majority of our time down in the crypt, hunched over that strange machine.

I could have stayed there forever. It was such a reprieve from my own grey life at the time and felt somehow distanced from all the anxiety that seemed to be permeating the general consciousness, no doubt from the terrorist manifestations and political turmoil of the year. When our two weeks were up I went to Paris to work out the words, as many of the songs were without at that stage. I was welcomed back to La Frette for another week to record voice, this time in a smaller house on the riverside. It was springtime and I had to compete with the birds, whom are all over the album if you listen closely.

I am told that Sincerely, Future Pollution is an extremely dark record, and beyond that, it has a message that is bleak and pessimistic. Now I certainly don’t think I have any right to protest that. But while ostensibly this dystopic environment is so well-described, it’s very difficult for me not to be triggered by a hopeful note, and not to be transported to that bright and idyllic paradise where we joked around and laughed made that thing.”

My encounter with Taylor Kirk

by Nicolas Quéré, sound engineer and producer at La Frette Studios

“My encounter with Taylor Kirk and the band was epic! My son was born on that same day they just arrived from Montréal for their European tour! Despite this miss-match, it was gratifying and promising to see them in such a moment. Mathieu Parisien, our friend sound engineer talked to them about our studio, so they were curious to visit the place.

One year later, we started to work on the album Sincerely, Future Pollution. They sent me an important amount of demos recorded in their rehearsal studio, so the songs were there, but there was still a lot of sound research to do.

La Frette Studios fitted perfectly to these experimentations

La Frette Studios fitted perfectly to these experimentations: the synth sounds with Mathieu Charbonneau (Fairlight IIx, Jx3p, Prophet 5, Oberheim Obx…), Simon Trottier’s saturated guitar sent in 3 amplifiers simultaneously, the drums in the dead room with Olivier Fairfield. Each sound became a subject for debate and reflexion! Very exciting!

Once everything was recorded, the final voices were still missing. Taylor had different inspirations in mind: films, images, and albums. We took some time to discuss the sounds for the voices, the influences, the perception, the spirit for the songs.

For this work, we needed a new place, far from the outside world. Olivier and Marie Jo kindly proposed their house along the Seine, renamed since ‘the left hand studio’. We settled in with a few mics and preamps in this incredible kind of loft with a view on the houseboats. The sunny bike rides between the recording sessions were constructive and relaxing, far from the dark atmosphere of the songs, that could have been extracted from the Blade Runner soundtrack.”