Brad Pitt’s French Villa recording studio reopens
A legendary recording studio has been brought back to life, thanks in part to Brad Pitt.
Studio Miraval has been the site of dozens of classic recordings, including that of Pink Floyd The wall and WHAM’s “Careless Whisper”. It sits on the sprawling grounds of Chateau Miraval, a French villa owned by Pitt, 58, and Angelina Jolie, 47, and the site of their 2014 wedding. It’s now a cause for legal disputes amid their pending divorce.
in a new Billboard cover storyPitt and French producer Damien Quintard reveal that the studio, which has been used by music icons like AC/DC, The Cure, Elton John and Sting, has been completely revamped just a year after Pitt announced its reopening, and provides an inside look at the process of upgrading the state-of-the-art space now known as Miraval Studios
The facility was built in 1977 by then owner Jacques Loussier, a French jazz pianist and was ahead of its time, housing the first solid-state mixing desk in France. Built to replicate the sound heard by Loussier in concert halls, the large, isolated facility also contained a separate drum chamber.
It remained in frequent use through the early 2000s, but gradually slowed down after Loussier sold the property in 1992. When Pitt and Jolie first discovered the villa in 2008, the studio, including its instruments, synthesizers and internal equipment, remained available.
It wasn’t until last year that Pitt finally decided it was time to tackle the studio head-on. “There were always plans to revamp the studio,” he said. Billboard. “It has great historical provenance so we didn’t want to do it until we could do something special.”
Quintard, 31, was exactly that special something for the High-speed train star, who said Billboard it was a “matter of instinct” to hire the producer for the job.
“As a French engineer, it was a holy grail,” Quintard said of the experience redesigning the space. “Miraval is one of those legendary and iconic studios. But it wasn’t until I came to Miraval that I realized how deep the roots go.”
As he undertook the redesign project, Quintard made sure to retain much of what gave the legendary studio its storied history.
“It was important to us to preserve all of the analog technology that was here, but also to fully integrate the best digital technology of today,” he said. “We’re not here to build a new studio: we’re here to honor a legacy.”
The advice Pitt gave the young producer was to stay focused on what the musicians would come to do: create. “Let’s make a sanctuary for artists to come and do their thing.”
In 2008, Pitt and Jolie signed a long-term lease on the 1,200-acre estate before officially purchasing it in 2012 for an estimated $60 million. It was an often-visited vacation spot for the couple and their six children, and they held their wedding on its grounds two years later.
Since announcing their split in 2019, French winemaking has become a hot topic, as it’s not just about ownership, but also the wine brand the couple launched in 2013, Miraval. Wines.
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In October 2021, Jolie sold her interests in Château Miraval to Tenute del Mondo, whose parent company is spirits maker Stoli Group. According to legal documents obtained by PEOPLE in February 2022, Pitt alleges that Jolie made the sale despite their prior agreement that neither would do it unless the other person approved.
In the trial, the fight club The actor claims that Jolie’s business, Nouvel, owed his company, Mondo Bongo, the right of first refusal and that the sale breached that right. Pitt’s lawyers also stated their belief that Tenute del Mondo is “determined to take control of Miraval”.
According to Pitt, the move was deliberately intended to hurt him, as evidenced by legal documents obtained by PEOPLE.
The actor accused his ex-wife of having “contributed nothing to the success of Miraval”, while the wine company became his “passionate” project which became “a multi-million dollar global business” thanks to his work.
A countersuit Jolie filed in October says Pitt’s claim is “false” and “no such agreement ever existed.” The filing also claimed that Jolie had offered to sell her share to Pitt, but he allegedly “required” that she sign a nondisclosure agreement preventing her from “speaking out of court about Pitt’s physical and emotional abuse of her.” and their children”.
“Jolie refused to agree to such a provision and Pitt walked away from the agreement,” the attorneys say in the documents.