PARIS, FRANCE: The French band Fumuj blends elements of hip-hop, dub, electronica, and – in the words of co-founder, sound designer, engineer, and drummer Romain Pasquier – “loud music” on their fourth studio effort FUMUJ – Eponym Album. The five-song EP surveys the eclectic content of Fumuj’s prior work and reframes it with an urgency and intensity that suggests a band that has matured into form. Beyond its genre-bending take on composition and style, Fumuj is also known for its unique and vibrant sound, which is carefully curated by Pasquier. Metric Halo hardware and software figures prominently in that sound: Fumuj and its members own one or more Metric Halo ULN-8s, ULN-2s, and 2882s, and most of Pasquier’s processing and mixing relies on Metric Halo MIO Console (the free routing and recording software that runs the interfaces) and Metric Halo’s ChannelStrip plug-in.
“The new EP is somewhere between Mogwai, Helmet, and Bill Laswell, I guess,” said Pasquier. “We had a lot of fun creating these songs because we felt free to do anything. There were no limits. We all love to deconstruct and reconstruct elements, playing on contrasts, and building something new and inspiring through that process.” Having equipment with the flexibility and reliability to let that process unfurl naturally and without interruption is essential, and after first discovering Metric Halo a few years back, Fumuj has enjoyed the inspiration that comes with a transparent workflow.
“In anticipation of our recording sessions, a friend lent us some high-end, customized preamps and some crazy mics,” said Pasquier. “They were fun to use, but at some point in the first day I decided to use the ULN-8 preamps because I wasn’t feeling very happy or confident about the sound we were getting. It was like I turned to the ULN-8 because I wanted to know what was actually going on in the new room we were using. I realized I just wanted that Metric Halo transparency! I can trust what I hear from the ULN-8, ULN-2, or 2882. There’s no compromise. The preamps are great, the converters are great, the DSP – including the 80-bit summing mixer – is great, and it all fits in one rack unit! We can recall the MIO Console for each song, which makes the workflow easy.”
Pasquier used the Metric Halo ChannelStrip 3 plug-in extensively on FUMUJ IV. “I love ChannelStrip because the equalization and compression can be so subtle,” he said. “It’s very painless to use, and the newly-integrated spectrum analyzer makes it easy to see where adjustments will be most effective. I know it’s a small thing, but I’m also grateful for the ability to resize ChannelStrip 3.” In addition to his work with Fumuj, Pasquier also uses ChannelStrip and his Metric Halo hardware to do freelance work in Paris, which gives him an authentic sound that sets his work apart from engineers that use run of the mill equipment.
Fumuj’s FOH engineer, Alain Lesparat, recently purchased two Metric Halo 2882 interfaces and is now using them with Apple MainStage as a virtual effects rack and as an archive recorder for all shows. Although Pasquier has used his ULN-8 together with Ableton Live and the band’s hardware synthesizers, he looks forward to acquiring another 2882 or LIO-8 to dedicate to the live rig. “I can’t live with the ULN-8 in the rack on the days off,” he laughed. When asked what makes Metric Halo interfaces so useful for Fumuj’s live applications, Pasquier cited “a fat, open sound” and the tremendous flexibility of MIO Console. In addition, he said, “They’re also completely reliable. They just work, period. All the other members of Fumuj now have a ULN-2, and they aren’t engineers! They would have no patience for bugs or latency. With Metric Halo, they can simply make music.”
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