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The story of people who are inspired by music #2

Sébastien Laurendeau


An artist who expresses the liveliness of a changing stage with music and sound, Sébastien Laurendeau

- Tell me about your brief history.

 I’ve been performing, conducting, writing, composing and arranging for Cirque du Soleil since 2000.


-  Please introduce your role as a music director in the Cirque du Soleil show you are doing now.

First and foremost, my role is to guide the show musically.

In the form of conducting the band which is to synchronize the band, the technology (Ableton Live recorded tracks) to the acrobatic acts.

My job description also includes: arranging, orchestrating and programming the playback system.

Furthermore, I am in charge of all music that is required for promotional events, records etc… 


- The role of music in Cirque du Soleil shows is likely to be different from ordinary live sessions and concerts.

What role does music play in a Cirque du Soleil shows and is there a special part that you want to convey to the audience through music?

The music at Cirque du Soleil is at the service of the bigger picture so we always have to adapt to what is happening on stage acrobatically which is not a small task.

There is never 2 shows that are exactly the same. Music, automation, lighting and stage management have to be in sync at all times.


-  What does music mean to a professional musician?

As a musician, music is like food. It becomes a necessity.

- Is there any difference between listening to music as a hobby and working on professional music in terms of sound?

I think that in some case no and some case yes. For example, when we finish a mix or attempt to a mastering session we realize that what is important is that the sound we listen to is not embellished by the equipment.

What we want in that particular case is the truth which means, if the mix is bad it’ll sound bad. 

In a different situation, when I listen to music for entertainment or pleasure, I want the sound to be pleasing so I much prefer listening to a colored playback system that is pleasing instead of an analytical playback system that take away my enjoyment.


What inspires your music work?

Only 3 things. Love, people and nature. 


I know that you are working on music in various ways such as live performance, studio recording, and playback through DAWs.

When working on music, how can a portable digital audio player be used?

I use a portable DAP in two ways. The first is as a DAC out of my DAW. It’s portable and 99% of the time it is far superior to audio interfaces.

The other way I use a DAP is a quality reference playback to test my compositions, arrangements or to validate a mix. 


How do you normally listen to music when you're not working? 

Through my AK DAP with headphones or custom in ears.


I understand that you usually use Astell&Kern products. Do you have anything to say about our brand and products? 

I started using DAPs about 8 years ago. I went to the NAMM show in LA and I stopped at the Jerry Harvey Audio booth to try some inears.

I ended up buying my first A&K after that with its own dedicated amp. I believe it was a AK320 then I needed another so I got a AK70mk2 and lately I acquired a SR25mk2.

I really enjoy the portability, craftsmanship and audio quality of the Astell&Kern device I’ve heard. All of them.

They might have different signature but that is what I like because it allows me to hear different aspects of the music from different angles.