The Studio and Playlist of François Chambard of UM Project

The Studio and Playlist of François Chambard of UM Project

Gregory Han
Jul 28, 2010

François Chambard has never owned an iPod. Nor has he ever had a CD, a tape, or a record collection. But this founder of Brooklyn's UM Project sure does know how to make a mean music mix. Check it out some of his recommendations (we think it's the perfect list for the summertime).

What do you listen to while you work? All kinds of music. My tastes are very eclectic, but maybe "eclectic" is too much of a fancy word. A mish-mash really. I have never been a music guy so I am not sure if I am a good reference. I do not have an iPod, never had CDs, cassettes or LPs. I guess I never had the patience and time to grow and groom a music collection.

How do you listen? From the computer with speakers. Above is a picture of how we tried to make to look our cheap speakers look fancy with a piece of leftover bent ply (pictured top).

Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? I love the convenience and accessibility of Internet radio. I always end up listening to Radio Nova from Paris. I often go to Wefunk from Montréal and other Internet stations. One of my recent favorites is Attention Span, a jazz station.

Does music influence your work? It is hard to speak about a direct influence. It is more about energy level. I spend most of my time at the studio. Sometimes I need a boost; sometimes I need to be soothed. Just two random examples: The Specials will pump me up when I start to get tired. Beth Orton will help me stay in the zone, in that very special moment when you are so absorbed with your own work that you lose sense of time.

If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? I am not sure which musician or song it would be, but there are specific instruments or sounds that I really relate to. Often those are sounds that have a spatial and spacey quality. In other words, sounds that have almost a 3D quality, which define a space in which I want to live and dream. For example, there is a recent version of "Summer Madness" by Kool and the Gang with a deep, floating synthesizer sound. I am totally addicted to it. I want to be part of that space.

In Paris, there is this giant sphere at the Museum of Science and Industry (La Villette) with an ever-changing space-age sound rotating around it, composed by genius sound designer Louis Dandrel. The sound bounces back on the sphere and on the reflecting water pool around it and it is totally mesmerizing. Again, it defines more of a space than a sound, and I'd love my work (and myself) to be in it and not come back.


  • Everybody Loves the Sunshine, Roy Ayers
  • Mellow, Prince
  • Je Bois, Boris Vian
  • Aeroplanes, Serge Gainsbourg
  • Reality and Fantasy, Raphael Galuzzi/Gilles Peterson
  • Too Young To Die, Jamiroquai
  • Ashes To Ashes, David Bowie
  • Dear God 2.0, Roots/Monster of Folk
  • L'irréel, Alain Bashung
  • Blue Monday, New Order
  • Lady Day and John Coltrane (and the most of the "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"album), Gil Scott-Heron
  • Private Life, Grace Jones
  • You Can Have Watergate Just Gimme Some Bucks And I'll Be Straight, Fred Wesley & The J.B.'s

Originally published at Lifework by Amy Feezor

Images: Francis Dzikowski / Esto
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