September 2021

If you have browsed through Music Partner’s library, you may have noticed that most tracks composed by Daniel Plaud are co-composed by Sylvain Legeai and vice versa. While each artist leads his own career, their collaboration is an opportunity to introduce both at the same time. Sylvain Legeai gave guitar lessons to the son of Danny Plaud over 10 years ago and during their first meeting their personalities clicked with their similar taste in music. The collaboration never ceased, bouncing music ideas to one another and working together supplying great music for our library.

Music Partner: Where did you build your studio?

Daniel Plaud: Originally, my studio was in a film post-production facility. I moved it to my home in the suburb with big windows allowing daylight to inspire me. It is the best working conditions for me.

Sylvain Legeai: My studio is in Rueil Malmaison, not far from Paris where many clients and partners are located.

Music Partner: When did you discover your interest in music?

Daniel: I was 14 when I got attracted to the drums and wanted to play them. I learnt with Dante Agostini for 7 years. Later, I started the piano with my son and took harmony lessons at the Poissy conservatory of music.

Sylvain: The guitar was my first love at the age of 9. Quickly, I wanted to compose and write my own songs. My focus as a teenager was on playing with rock bands before indulging in my other passion, classical music. I then studied music and its history in university.

Music Partner: How did you start in the music business?

Daniel: It all began when I started as a Sound Designer/Mixer for short films, documentaries and live events. Step by step, I jumped on the opportunity to compose for documentaries and have done so ever since. It was during that time I met Sylvain and we worked on multiple TV projects together.

Sylvain: I first worked for an advertisement company start-up with friends while still giving guitar lessons. It was my first experience working for Institutional films and TV commercials. Meeting Daniel has been an open door to work on documentaries and fiction.

Music Partner: What is your creative process when starting a project?

Daniel: When watching a new project, the first questions are about the emotions a Director wants to convey, the overall mood, specific actions or silences. Then comes the tempo selection and harmonies which I find from working on the piano to define the structure of the music. Once the music is arranged, I send the tracks to the Director and Producers for review. If I do not have images to start from, I ask for a PDF of the sequence with some photos to drive inspiration and the rest follows the same process.

Sylvain: It will depend on the project, and it is never the same. Some Directors work a certain way while others use a different path. It is my job to follow the needs of the Director. I usually ask for existing references to give me an idea of the desired genre, mood and eventually original music. Then I start to work using symphony suites to narrow down what will become my frame of work.

Music Partner: What is your first artistic conversation about when working with a Director?

Daniel: From the beginning, my role is to listen carefully to the Director explaining his/her vision and musical tastes in his/her own words, then I ask questions and take lots of notes to make sure I am totally in sync.

Sylvain: I like to understand what the genesis of the project has been, how the idea came about. None of my first music conversations are technical but rather poetic. We present our respective universes and see where we meet artistically.

Music Partner: Do you want to see “rough cuts” before accepting to work on a project?

Daniel: I love composing for images, watching a sequence and anticipating how music will impact the viewers.

Sylvain: Not necessarily, a deep conversation about the project can be enough to get started. It is quite rare to work exclusively with images from start to finish.

Music Partner: What is the most challenging aspect about creating an instrumental piece?

Daniel: Time is the enemy of the Composer. We often work with tight deadlines and must provide our work without the luxury of fully reviewing it, shortening necessary adjustments.

Sylvain: Totally agree with Dany, delivering the music of a project within a defined timeline can be very intense.

Music Partner: Is there a piece of music or a Composer that inspires you and why?

Daniel: This is an impossible question to answer for me, there is way too much music and too many artists I admire and source my inspiration from to be able to name any or all of them.

Sylvain: Currently, I am listening to the music of Justin Hurwitz from the film "First Man" and especially the title "Crater" which I find very moving. Hurwitz has succeeded in putting the melody at the center piece of the soundtrack with elegance.

Music Partner: What is your favorite score?

Daniel: Georges Delerue is a Composer who does move me. In "The important thing is to love" by Andrzej Zulawski, there is a scene at the beginning where the camera moves towards Romy Schneider in tears, and this scene is so touching not just because of Schneider’s acting but also from Georges’s music. It is an indescribable emotion, with full intensity. Delerue has also composed internationally recognized music such as the soundtrack of "Le Mepris" from Jean Luc Godard.

Sylvain: Difficult to select only one. I remember as a kid watching Sergio Leone’s film "My Name is Nobody". Ennio Morricone's music in total symbiose with the humor of the film marked me and triggered the desire to compose for films. It may not be Ennio's most memorable soundtrack, but it works so well with the story.

Music Partner: What is your proudest work?

Daniel: As an artist, I am never fully happy with any of my film compositions even if the client is totally satisfied. I always find little adjustments to be done afterward.

Sylvain: I am particularly proud to have participated to the original soundtrack of the documentary series: "Aventures de Medecine".

Music Partner: What about your influences?

Daniel: Electro, orchestral, funk, fusion, I have been listening to many genres and got influenced by most of them.

Sylvain: From Radiohead to Mozart to John Williams, Igor Stravinsky, Ennio Morricone or Rachmaninov.

Music Partner: Noteworthy projects you worked on?

Daniel: I currently work on a documentary to be broadcast prime time on "France 3". Cannot say more than that...

Sylvain: Different TV shows such as "Faites entrer l'accusé" or documentaries like "Goering, l'Homme de Fer (CC&C)".

Music Partner: Do you have a specific genre you enjoy more?

Daniel: I particularly like the combination of instruments unlikely to play together, the melting of electronic sounds with waves of orchestral sounds. The result is often surprising and complementary.

Sylvain: I am a fan of orchestral sounds and the endless possibilities to arrange them. I also enjoy breaking down acoustic sounds.

Music Partner: Music Partner has a revolutionary concept intended to disrupt the music licensing industry. What prompted you to work with them?

Daniel & Sylvain: After reading a post on social media, we contacted its CEO Philippe Falliex and liked his ideas and vision. The conversation was excellent so we decided to supply some of our work to Music Partner. It is also for us an opportunity to open our horizon to international projects.

Music Partner: What is your working setup?

Daniel: I work with Pro Tools, Ableton Live, two Macs, one MacBook Pro and two PCs. They are all connected, as working with orchestral music requires lots of memory! My dream setup would be a Mega Mac to run all my software and a larger studio to add multiple synthesizers and peripherals.

I do mix my own music and deliver it mostly in stereo, as it is the format chosen by my clients for French TV projects. I had the opportunity to record in 5.1 and it is a delight.

Sylvain: I work on Pro Tools with 3 computers to manage all sound samples and my DAW. With this setting, I can access multiple tracks in real time right away. My dream would be to have a lot more space for acoustic instruments such as drums, a grand piano and the possibility to record small ensembles live.

I do mix my music; budgets are often tight and hiring an outside Mixer is rarely an option. The modern Composer for TV or Cinema is a one man do it all. I deliver my music in whichever format is requested.

Music Partner: What do you find most challenging technically?

Daniel: Compatibility between the Operating System and the new plug-ins. Moreover, with Apple Silicon, the problem might be even larger. That said, technology today is allowing Composers to work without the expensive professional studio rentals from the past. Computers have given Composers new tools to fully express themselves.

Sylvain: Always running after time with short deadlines, you need your setup to be ready to operate in a blink of an eye. Time spent in preparing is time lost for creativity. I have always used computers in my compositions ever since I became a professional. I cannot imagine creating otherwise.

Lastly, Daniel and Sylvain have had the opportunity to compose the music for a film with the budget to hire an orchestra. It was abroad and the acoustic of the studio was not ideal, but even if they had to do more work later in post-production, they both agree it was a fantastic experience.

You may listen to samples of Daniel & Sylvain's music at the following link.