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My Toolbox: Poté

Poté breaks down the production tools in his studio.
Poté

Poté

Sylvern Mathurin aka Poté released his debut album A Tenuous Tale of Her at the top of last month. The Paris-based artist created an album that is tender, danceable and tough, meshing over the 11 tracks house, soul, garage, pop and more into the project. His own production and singing are the north star for the album, but his collaborations with the likes of Damon Albarn, Pierre Kwenders and INFAMOUSIZAK all provide a little extra spice.

Poté was born in St. Lucia and later moved to the UK, where his family would end up in London when he was 12. He spent his teenage years in the English capital and that is when he made his first steps into music. He combined his Caribbean roots with what he was discovering in the London at the time. He moved to Paris in 2019 and that freedom helped shape this album, which is out now on Bonobo’s OUTLIER.

We wanted to get a better sense of his setup and how the project was made, so he took us into his Paris studio for a new My Toolbox feature. Get your copy of the album here.

1. Studio

A Tenuous Tale of Her as a project started in my old flat on Rue Saint Martin, in the center of Paris but has footprints in a few different spaces. Here (pictured below) in London being one of the most important ones. At the beginning of lockdown last year, most of the album was finished but still needed that final touch, so I settled in the spare room at my parents place in London, bringing with me the main pieces of equipment I’ve used so far on the project.

Poté Studio

Poté

2. Arturia Mini Brute

This Arturia Minibrute was given to me a few years ago by Remi Kabaka Jnr and we’ve been inseparable ever since. It’s the first sound you hear on the album on "Under" as the swirly arp as well as the bass, it’s also used throughout the album on many other tracks. It wasn’t as much a conscious decision to keep a unified sound, I just fell in love with the amount of power and uncontrolled chaos this synthesizer was able to create. This is my first synth and I fell in love with the idea of recording a melody and not being able to adjust mistakes like you would with midi or soft synths. It forces you to process/mix differently and change your direction, which can sometimes lead to golden ideas you would have never just thought of.

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Arturia Minibrute

Minibrute

3. Arturia V Collection

I fell head over heels with this collection years ago and never turned back, I’m pretty certain you can hear a synth of Arturia’s on every single song on this album. It’s got everything you need and more. I know, this seems like a bit of an Arturia advert at present but I find they’re equipment works so well with my flow and taste in sound.

Arturia V Collection

Arturia V Collection

4. Deviation x AIAIAI TMA-2 Modular Headphone

I had to move apartments so I decided to get rid of my monitors I had at the time (Behringer Truths), which had been very loyal to me over the years. I wasn’t drawn to getting new monitors, so I used headphones I trusted and knew. These AIAIAI x Deviation headphones were used to mix the whole album. I liked the idea of having something that no matter where you are the sound you get is consistent and I knew them well enough to trust what I was doing with them. I’m a firm believer in it’s not what you have (to an extent), it’s how you use it, so I stuck with them and used lots of different everyday speakers to test out how things sounded.

Deviation x AIAIAI TMA-2 Modular Headphone

Deviation x AIAIAI TMA-2 Modular Headphone

5. SM57 Mic

Embracing the idea of imperfection once more, I’ve stuck with using an SM57 for years now because it just felt comfortable to me. It’s a classic. I quite like the idea of not being overly polished sonically so this fits with me for the moment, it’s more about the take for me and the emotions it carries. 

SM57 Mic

SM57 Mic

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