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Didier Le Marchand - Music producer

Didier Le Marchand

Special interview with a professional "sound producer" who helped to finalise a hundred albums and worked with different artists such as :  Les Garçons Bouchers, Pigalle, Césaria Evora, Trust, La Mano Negra, Gabriel Yacoub, les Coronados, les Inconnus, Georges Moustaki, Etienne Daho, Christine Lidon, CharlÉlie Couture...

A passionate, lively and creative spirit, with a big sensitivity. The remarkable interview with a professional of records who explains us how he puts "the sounds in boxes".

Version française

Didier Le Marchand, hello. Thanks, can you introduce yourself in a few words:

I have been an engineer of the sound freelance for twenty years (…) specialised in records. So, I spend most of my time in studios. That enabled me to work with different artists such as : Les Garçons Bouchers, Pigalle, Césaria Evora, Trust, La Mano Negra, Gabriel Yacoub, les Coronados, les Inconnus, Georges Moustaki, Etienne Daho, Christine Lidon, CharlÉlie Couture and other ones… To some extent, I participated to the creation of one hundred albums. I am more and more in demand for mixing, but I also take sounds, which is complementary. I am also interested in pre-mastering which is the final step to produce a record.

What about your current activities ?

- The album" ECHOES FROM EARTH " from M&M (François Moity and Nicolas Yvan Mingot) has just been released and from which is extracted the music of the advert  GDF largely seen at the moment.
- The new album to release of Gabriel Yacoub : " : YACOUB : ", ex-guitarist of Alan Stivell and above all founder of the band Malicorne.
- The album " Et SI QUE ? ",also  to release of  François Hadji Lazaro from Pigalle and also founder of the well-known  Garçons Bouchers.

Can you explain us how you became an engineer and an artistic producer ?

First,  I was a musician and then,  a manager, associating with my own manager(!). We were very lucky to work with the band Trust which had a lot of success. After, I moved  towards artistic creation and rather naturally, towards recording technique and I helped a lot of persons such as :   Yves Chamberlan (ex manager of the studio  Davout) or Daniel Abraham : an engineer/producer who, today,  has a lot of success in the  USA where he has been living for ten years and who is one of my best friends…In fact, I did not go through the step  "assistant" . That is why, I do not know yet how to make tea or coffee properly (no, I am kidding…)

What is the difference between a sound engineer, a producer, and an artistic director  ?

The engineer mainly carries out (normally...) the good development of a meeting, its technical aspect, (place of microphones, console layout, choice of effects and so on...).  I must add that the presence of a good assistant can make all the difference for the development of a meeting.
Producer and  Artistic director are synonyms (one is English and the other is French) not to confuse in French in the text with :  the "producer", which  is a word that implies a partial or total financial investment. The director is more involved in the musical aspect of the recording and even in the general sound of a record. In a way, he is the "sound producer" of an album, he is the necessary interface between all the persons who participate to the production of a record. He can also be the "plug" between the artists and record agencies.

According to you,  what are the knowledge that a young student has to have before starting his initial formation as a sound engineer  ?

He must be a musician because he will mix with  artists frequently. Moreover, he must have a good musical culture : record knowledge of bands and artists, musics of different styles, music instruments. For instance, he has to know the personal style of a drummer or of a guitarist ; the musicians also refer to it. For example, the artist will ask the sound engineer to be inspired by the piano sound of a record.

Apart from the personal skills, what are the qualifications  the most difficult to acquire alone to do that job with success  ?

Patience  with artists and  diplomacy with  record agencies ( or sometimes,  the contrary ).  

The continous formation for intermittents proposed by formation centres, authorized or not by AFDAS is necessary or not to succeed in that carreer?

I do not know those formations very well, but if there is only a rule to remember in that job "it is that there is no one"!. Now, it is important to have a good formation in musical data-processing ( Pro Tools and so on…) and to know a minimum of different equipments of recording studios.

What is the music instrument that suits you better ?

A recording studio(!) a mixing desk is really a nice instrument of music  !

What are your projects ?

Carry on ! ! !

Thank you very much Didier Le Marchand, you can visit our site  Art 'n Show whenever you want !

By Corinne Alfano
by Yasmina Guenifi

Didier Le Marchand

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