Cadenza co-founder Quenum (Cocoon, Second State) is about to drop a three track underground house EP ‘Little Secret’ featuring a remix from Yulia Niko so we took the opportunity to take a look around his studio.
My studio is in an amazing building, it used to be a factory that made faucets. The city of Geneva rehabilitated it and gave it to artists, there’s one floor just for musicians. It’s a grand-looking building and it sits on a point of land where two rivers meet. In summer it’s a total hot spot. One of the rivers is really good for swimming, so what people do is they walk up to the bridge nearby and jump from there into the water. The current brings them back here. It’s a total scene, people bring their wine and their barbecues. I get to rent my studio in this beautiful place for very little money. Lucky me!
Mixer Midas Venice F16
I use this mixer all the time, mainly because I find it gives a lot of warmth. It’s super high quality but compared to other similar stuff it’s not too expensive. I think I’ve used it for 8 out of 10 tracks I’ve made. Can never let this one go, cannot recommend it highly enough.
Moog slim phatty
This is for sure the best for bass! It’s what I use if I want a phat groovy bass, for example on my track ‘We Are Together‘, which came out last year on This and That. You have to take a bit of time and play around with it until you find the sound that’s really good and what you’re looking for, but it’s worth the effort.
Korg Electribe ESX1
This is my go-to tool for percussion, beats and drums. It’s an old model, but I’m totally loyal to it. I know how it works inside out and I find it super easy to use. I think I’ve used it on nearly all my tracks since I got it, about 10 years ago. It can do a bunch of stuff but I use it mainly for the drums, you have a huge variety of beats.
It has nice features, it’s flexible, easy to use and very interactive. When I made the track Solitaire (Cadenza) I was looking for a way to produce hot and heavy kicks and a tom drum – this is where they came from.
PMC 250 rotary DJ Mixer
Nobody is going to hear the sound that comes out of this machine, because I only use it in the studio by myself to listen to stuff. It’s a really good mixing table but I never take it out of the studio. I also don’t prepare my DJ sets in advance. So really I only use it when I want to have a good time in the studio, sometimes I’ll play for my neighbours: next to me there’s two studios. One belongs to Dachshund, top Swiss DJ and a good friend. On the other side there’s my mate Franz, who’s in The Young Gods, an amazing band. Even though it doesn’t get much professional use, I really love it and will keep it forever.
JVC Double Cassette Deck
This is probably the least used machine in my whole studio, but one of my most loved ones! It’s proper old school. Some of the young people reading this article might not even know what it is. It’s a double-deck that plays good old cassettes. I grew up with this kind of machine, playing mixtapes that my friends and I passed around. We would tape radio shows and other cool stuff.
Actually, it’s come in really handy lately. I found a whole collection of old tapes that had tracks I made but never released, and also my DJ sets. Mostly stuff from my Access 58 days. And you know what, I’ve been transferring a lot of that stuff on my computer to have them in digital format. And I plan to release some of it very soon.JVC Double cassette decks
Doepfer A-198 (Module + Manual) + R2M midi ribbon controller
This is one piece of gear I use all the time to play bass and percussion. This module has a ribbon controller, which means it’s very tactile, you use it by moving your finger across and also by pressing on your fingers. It’s quite magic. It feels organic and fun, and we all need more of that!
A couple of years ago my good friend Alison asked me what I wanted from Australia and I said a didgeridoo. I never thought she would bring one back, it must have been a total nightmare on the plane! I’m bad at playing it but boy does it look good in my studio. It makes me so happy every time I look at it, and I think about my Australian friends and native Australian culture which I find so attractive.
Eightball Records DJ flight case circa 1994
I went to the Eightball record shop in New York City for the first time in 1994 and that’s when I bought this flight case. It was one of my favorite record stores in New York, of course it’s closed now like most of the other cool shops in the city. This case is indestructible, still going on strong! In the meantime I’ve bought and broken plenty other cases, but this one survives. I guess it’s a symbol of my enduring love for New York City.
Indispensable tool, the basis of everything I do. For me it’s a very precise speaker. I think my ear has gotten used to that sound and I can’t do without it – would not change it for anything.
The running joke in the building is that I’m a bit of a cleanliness freak. I guess a lot of people have this idea about artists being messy and lazy about housework. For me it’s the opposite. I do better in a neat environment. I don’t know what it says about me as an artist! Well even though they make fun of me, the guys are always asking to borrow it, so I guess I’m just more honest about it!
Quenum – Little Secret (Remixed by Yulia Niko) is released 19th March on Rebellion
Main artist photo by Dan Reid Photography
Studio photos by Olivier Doret.