He's certainly one of the most vibrant producers out there and describes himself as "being funny on Instagram". Also a live performer, Pastel is a 26-year-old French guy, who now resides in London and has a lot of groove in his veins.
He dropped by for a chat share about his background, inspirations, his new music and perhaps inspire you to start live-looping, who knows?
Hey man, how do we find you today?
Hey, I’m doing pretty well thank you, my quarantine is getting a bit long but better being safe, haha.
"Day Light" with Ben Kessler is out today - what's the story behind it?
Ben and I met through a mutual friend. Ben was studying in London and I remember struggling to meet each other. I was on tour at some point and Ben was traveling around. I really thought we would never meet. Luckily, we met during his last week in the UK.
The process of the song was pretty fast and straight-forward. We both showed each other music and started jamming on a beat I was making. I came with some jazz chords I like and the melody came pretty naturally to Ben. I started adding some guitar leads at the back while Ben was finding a chorus melody. The rest of the song was pretty much some jamming parts I stuck and structured together.
The song is about a guy talking to this girl who is trying to be someone she is not and how seeing her during daylight would actually be different.
Let's go back a bit - how did the journey of Pastel start?
I’ve started the project 6 years ago when my genre was more electronic/house music at the time. It took shape when I arrived in London in 2014. Before being in London I was playing in a band and wanted to take it to the next level but the rest of the band didn’t have music as their first priority so I decided to keep going the journey in solo.
Electronic music became an obsession probably a year before I moved to the UK. I was releasing my songs on Soundcloud at the time and were part of this community of producers from all around the world.
I’ve met a lot of different artists by being in London and it helped me of shaping the sound that I have today. I feel like I managed to do a blend of my favourite music genres such as neo-soul, bossa nova, and funk.
What's your creative process like?
It really depends, I really love starting things by a jam. I love taking a guitar and finding some chords and then build all the production behind. But I can sometimes start with a beat or a type of drum sound that will give more ideas for the rest. When the first idea is down I usually do some variation to define structures and stick to the few sounds I selected to keep it consistent. Melodies usually come after when I have a base or demo.
You've done tracks in various genres - do you have a favourite direction already or you still like experimenting?
I won’t say I’m experimenting or doing different genres, I think my style of music evolved since I started and I’m probably in that transition moment where the audience probably can not define a style for my music.
My music is a blend of what I like and I also think that we live in an amazing generation where the artists don’t have to stick to one genre anymore and can really experiment with what they like or feel.
I absolutely fell in love with "Breezy" with MarcLo - how did this one happen?
Oh, that’s awesome thank you. The song is actually quite old, I had that beat for years. MarcLo contacted me to remix one of his song but I came up to conclusion that his songs were already good that I didn’t want to touch them so I asked if he would like to collab instead. I sent him this beat that was a simple loop of bass/drums/rhodes and a few weeks later he came up with those amazing melodies.
Once I had his vocals I re-structured it and added some guitars and layers and the song was done. It took a long time to be released (a year) as I had a few songs to release at first.
Why do you think multi-instrumentalism flourished in recent years? Is it because of the freedom it gives the artists (combined with having instant access to music lessons) or something else?
It’s for me definitely because how fast everything is happening, we have access to everything, we can learn guitar on YouТube, make music on a small laptop without having to move to recording studios. I think people like to experiment and being multi-instrumentalists keeps us creative anyways so I guess it’s also a fun process/journey.
Yes, it gives bigger freedom as nowadays we can pretty much do everything ourselves.
This one is for the music nerds - what's the quickest way to start live-looping (software, gear, resources, any tips, really)?
I actually started live looping with a simple guitar pedal (BOSS -RC3) a while ago.
I think the best way is by starting with simple things we can do and adding elements to it once we feel comfortable. I personally use Ableton when performing live but I produce with Reason which is not easy to connect both so it took me a while to understand it.
I started by doing the simple way on Ableton by looping guitars and beats with each other. Now I’m using midi pedals to help me do quick transitions during my live shows.
Do you like touring? How's playing live vs. creating music in your studio?
I love touring. They are both different and they are both amazing.
I spend most of my time in the studio creating music and probably 30% touring at the moment so whenever I go on tour it’s always a joy for me but also a lot of work preparing it and make sure everything is organised in case of any sort of problems. I love exploring so whenever I’m somewhere I never been I try to have extra time to meet people and understand the local culture, etc...
Creating music stays for me a fun process but can also be tiring cause we never come up with something we are 100% happy with and they are long hours indoor focusing on a screen or thinking about chords...
Borrowing the idea from the "Hot Ones" YT show - can you tell us more about the above picture we found on your Instagram?
Haha, nice pick! I was in Nashville on this picture with my friend Camden, we collabed together a few times with our songs "When It’s Real" and "Don’t Feel It". I worked for Camden’s project producing 7 songs for him, because he is from America, it was easier to meet up and work on this together. This picture is from a session we had at Secret Genius Spotify Nashville, I believe it was the 4th day for me in America.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you for the interview it’s always a pleasure! Stay safe!