Name: Maxime Picard, Clément Picard
Occupation: Producers, DJs
Current release: "Blessing In This House" by Picard Brothers is out now.
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What was your first studio like?
We grew up in the countryside of Paris, so our first «studio» was the attic in our parents house. It was filled with a cheap yamaha keyboard, a drum set and some guitars.
We had a cracked version of Fl studio on an awfully slow computer and we were tracking everything on a Digitech Jamman.
How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
We luckily work in a nice studio in Paris now, but it’s still really important for us to never depend on any sort of equipment. We need to keep being able to produce a whole album only using our MacBooks and some iPhone earplugs.
We tend to think that the most important pieces of gear are the ones that give you inspiration. Nothing gives us more inspiration than a real piano, we have a Klein piano in our studio and a Fender Rhodes. They are both really important in the way we’re making music nowadays
What motivates you to buy new gear: The curiosity to try new things, a specific function, something else entirely?
We love to buy synths and pedals that are fairly limited to just a couple of really specific sounds. Sometimes synths can be too overwhelming if there are too much options available. You end up scrolling presets for hours and losing focus.
We recently got a Siel Orchestra 2 in our studio. There are only 4 sounds in it and just a flanger. It has so much personality, it’s perfect for us.
How would you describe the relationship between technology and creativity for your work? How do you work with your production tools to achieve specific artistic results?
In the way work we love to use technology to create randomness in our music, we use Melodyne on samples a lot and also a bunch of Max for Live tools, anything that can create «happy accidents».
Historically speaking, there has always been a close relationship between technological and artistic progress. Accordingly, there have been musical paradigm shifts accompanied by technological innovation. Which of these shifts do you rate particularly important for your own music?
Well, it seems like it’s important to remember that without Ableton and the power of new laptops we would certainly never have been able to become producers. It’s quite humbling to think that had we been born 3-4 decades earlier, we would certainly have a different jobs now.
Our career basically started when we randomly sent an email to Diplo, so thank you Mr Internet!
Have there been technologies which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
We've recently been really impressed by Melodyne. It still feels like wizardry to us but we use it all the time. Izotope Rx Suite is absolutely mind blowing, too.
The fact that we can now sample only the vocals or the drums or the bass from a song opens so many new doors. We often wonder what it would have been like had that technology been around during the golden days of NYC rap or even French house in the late 90s.
To some, the advent of AI and 'intelligent' composing tools offers potential for machines to contribute to the creative provess. Do you feel as though technology can develop a form of creativity itself? Is there possibly a sense of co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
If I were my computer I would ask for publishing (laugh). No doubt about it.
More seriously we’ve been trying AI under multiple form as tools to make music with but nothing really convinced us so far. Open AI Jukebox is really impressive I’m sure it will at some point sounds as real as it can get. But right now, it still feels like an unusable technology to us.
I’m sure there will be an helpful tool in the future, but we don’t really see the point in trying to use it for writing.
The question of co-authorship is interesting but feels more like an anime scenario right now.
Do you personally see a potential for deeper forms of Artifical Intelligence in your music?
I’m sure it’s much more complex but there’s only a finite amount of sounds/music that can be made and an even smaller number of music that’s listenable. We can imagine that there will be at some point a super AI able to create any kind of music.
Then again it’s important to remember that we were born in the decades where there was still some music to be made ... (laugh)
What tools/instruments do you feel could have a deeper impact on creativity but need to still be invented or developed?
We would love to see an AI that does time consuming stuff, give us mixing options, make 5/6 different edits of a same song.
But before thinking of any science fiction scenario, we would love to see Ableton fix the MIDI sustain pedal bug at the end of a clip ... (laugh)