Montreal's Les Passagers Got To Record In An Iconic Converse Rubber Tracks Studio
Les Passagers is a Montreal synth-pop band that got picked out of thousands of applicants for a once in a lifetime opportunity. They got the chance to visit Los Angeles and record two tracks at the iconic Sunset Studios in part of The Converse Rubber Tracks Pop-Up program. I was lucky enough to get the chance to follow Andréanne, Nicolas, Antoine, Francois-Pierre and Keven on their journey in the studio.
The Converse Rubber Tracks Pop-Up program was born out of the brand’s desire to give back to the music community and provide a platform for emerging artists to express their creativity. In the past three years, Converse has taken the studio experience on the road hosting 65 Converse Rubber Tracks Pop-up Studio in 16 countries. You can now apply to get a chance to record in the iconic Montreal Breakglass studio as Converse plans to bring their pop-up to our city between Oct 26-30th.
Arriving to Los Angeles, I knew that the band had two days to complete two songs in the Sunset Studios. Time was as much of an essence as it was to let it all sink in.
Les Passagers came together as a band a couple of years ago, when they all met through music school. Two brothers, a couple, and mostly colleagues from the McGill music department, they all started to play jazz at their beginnings. It certainly felt like a strong bond was created amongst the band members as I watched them set up inside of Studio 1. They each have their role in this band, as well as in others, which makes it very easy for them to work together on this project: Les Passagers.
We started by taking a tour of the facilities with a bit of history thrown at us every time we entered a room. This iconic studio was the place where Prince recorded his Purple Rain album, and where The Doors were regularly recording their craft. This was also the place where Janis Joplin started, but couldn't finish her last album before she died. Walking through the corridors, I couldn't help but feel the spirits of these icons embedded into the air and walls of the Sunset Studios, and the band felt the same way, in awe at ever corner we turned.
As they were setting up, each band members sat in their spot and held their instruments to get into their own groove. It was quite obvious that Nick (main guitarist, vocals) was in charge of the arrangements. He seemed like the type of guy who comes up with the main idea and delegates the rest of the band members in their respective sound and roles. When I asked them if it was the case, they all responded that they find that this is the most efficient way for them to work as a band together, instead of having to each come up with ideas and then back-track from then on. They all seemed pretty comfortable in their own spots, and I didn't catch any "nervous vibes" from anyone during this time.
Something that was different this time around, was the fact that they were planning to record these two songs live, together, as a band. They are usually used to recording each instrument on its own, isolated from one another. However, they feel like this type of situation was really interesting for them as they were set up to feed off of each other's energy and vibe during the recording.
Getting picked for this opportunity came as a huge surprise to the band. Not only did they apply on the day of the deadline, they got picked and couldn't help but think that they might be part of a weird passport scam, which was obviously not the case.
Having had a pretty busy week prior to arriving to Los Angeles (they played two shows at Pop Montreal and recorded at the Breakglass studios in Montreal), they were really adamant in picking the two perfect songs to record in this iconic settings. They picked two previously unrecorded tracks, and although they had performed one of them back in the days, they decided to change it up completely for this situation.
It was surprisingly easy for them to perform these songs in the studio. After the first 3 takes, they were ready to listen to what they had, and with only a few minor tweaks in mind, they were back in there giving it all their energy to record it as perfectly as possible. As much as they mentioned not being super prepared for this, it was obvious that music is part of their entity, and it comes very easy to them.
Watching Andréanne on the piano was mesmerizing to say the least. Her fingers glided through those keys as if it was out of the movies and some backtrack was playing on the speakers. However, it was all real. It was very enchanting to watch them jam during these two days. Enjoyable to say the least, because every instrument's sound meshed so well together, and none of them were struggling with their sound. They were just playing together and it all sounded great.
When asked how and where they would use these two-tracks, they mentioned wanting to have them on an album, which they hope they can have ready by 2016. \
Listen and discover more about Les Passagers right here:
Musicians of all genres in the Montreal area are invited to apply for free studio time to record their original music alongside a team of experienced engineers at no cost. At the end of their studio time, the artists retain all the rights to their own music.
Registration for this opportunity are officially open and musicians of all genres still in the early stages of their careers can apply for a chance to record and learn more about Converse Rubber Tracks at http://www.converse.com/rubbertracks.