The high places of music in France, boosted by Brad Pitt
Paris: these are small corners of French paradise that attract British and American rockstars to record their masterpieces, with the help of Brad Pitt.
France has long had its share of famous music studios that have attracted not only local talent, but also foreign bands hoping that some of the country’s artistic heritage will rub off on them.
Some have fallen into disrepair, like the famous Château d’Hérouville where Elton John, Iggy Pop and David Bowie recorded in the 1970s.
Super Bear Studios was home to Paul McCartney, Queen and Kate Bush before it was destroyed by fire in the 1980s.
But others find new life.
Miraval, a villa in sunny southern Provence, opened its studio in 1977 and saw Pink Floyd record part of “The Wall”, as well as albums by AC/DC, The Cure and Muse.
Largely abandoned, it was purchased by Pitt and his wife Angelina Jolie in 2008.
Despite a bitter divorce dispute, Pitt oversaw the renovation of his music studio with the help of French sound engineer Damien Quintard.
“One day, I received a message from Brad Pitt, who wanted to see me the following week. I thought it was a joke,” Quintard said.
Pitt, himself an amateur guitarist, told Billboard, “It was pretty cool in there. It hadn’t been touched since the 1970s, maybe the 80s. He needed a hug. “
Sade was the first artist to use the revamped, ultra-swish studio after it reopened last summer, recording her first and third albums there in the 1980s.
“My goal is for beautiful creations to come out of here, so judging the outcome will take time, like making wine,” Quintard said.