Charline de Cayeux: Mixing Seamless Sounds Live on Tour with Hyphen Hyphen

Sound Engineer Charline De Cayeux

Renowned throughout France for her mastery of everything audio, sound engineer Charline de Cayeux was sought out last year by popular French electro-pop band Hyphen Hyphen to come on board their 2018 HH Tour. She has since travelled multiple countries with the band as their key front of house sound engineer.

“They heard about me and they contacted me because they wanted to work with me. They wanted someone their age, someone who could understand their music and have the same musical influences,” explains Charline de Cayeux.

Given her mastery of audio engineering and extensive achievements to date, not to mention her deep understanding of today’s youth culture, Charline was a natural fit for the band, who found themselves in need of talented professional to help deliver their sound live to the masses. Adored for their upbeat and melody driven sound and strong vocals, the four-member group Hyphen Hyphen earned the Best New Act Award at the 2016 Victoires de la Musique Awards and have continued to gain international traction with the albums Times (2015), Times & Lives (2016) and HH (2018) earning extensive praise.

Setting out on tour with the band last year in promotion of their album HH, Charline has been a critical figure as the front of house engineer for all of Hyphen Hyphen’s live shows.

Charline explains, “It’s a key position because you’re the link between the album, the stage, the musicians, and the audience. In the case of Hyphen Hyphen, they want a very produced sound, like the album. They want to play live but sounding as ‘fat’ as a DJ. They want a loud but very clean and precise sound with special attention to the effects applied on the lead vocal.”

Charline De Cayeux’s sound set-up at the Hyphen Hyphen show at Zénith in Paris

Having honed her skills at the famous Le Bataclan in Paris, Charline has been recognized for her work with Gossip, Slash, Jack White, and more, so it’s not at all surprising that the award-winning electro-pop band Hyphen Hyphen tracked her down to join them on tour.

“In live engineering, where I work, my role is to make the band sound as ‘good’ as possible. ‘Good’ means that the audience can hear every instrument playing, but above all that the color of your mix matches with the band’s aesthetic,” explains Charline.

Mixing live on tour for the band at over 120 concerts over the past year, Charline’s adept technique and swelling creativity as a sound engineer undoubtedly helped Hyphen Hyphen to wow their fans at numerous sold out shows across Europe, including the Olympia in Paris, as well as at the Zenith earlier this month.

Hyphen Hyphen recently released the song “Lonely Baby” featuring famous American artist Kiiara, and there has been much discussion of an upcoming tour in the states. Considering Charline’s collaborative style and diverse skill set, there’s no question that the band will assuredly want to bring her along.

About touring with the band on the HH tour, Charline says, “It’s the first time I was able to tour with my own workstation. It’s very exciting because I can work more deeply on effects and on the color of the mix in general. I can have very specific settings on each song, which you can’t do when you’re not touring with your own gear.”

Born in Orsay and raised predominantly in Paris, France, Charline discovered her love of music early on. Spending much of her youth attending live shows and frequenting vinyl shops, Charline knew she wanted to work in music, but she didn’t want to be a musician, so when she discovered sound engineering it seems the stars had aligned.

She says, “I used to go to a lot of shows and I just wanted to be a part of it ! I wanted to work with musicians, but didn’t want to be a musician myself… So being a part of the technical crew was just a way to work in the music industry without being on stage.”

In time, Charline’s tireless work ethic and uncanny ability to master the sound of any performer she was paired with earned her a spot at the distinguished Le Bataclan, where she earned a prestigious position when she was just 21 years old. Earning the trust of seasoned musical giants wasn’t easy for the budding audio engineer, but in time her talents became so widely respected that Hyphen Hyphen, and other notable groups, deliberately sought her out to bolster their on-stage performances.

Charline is no ordinary sound engineer; well-versed in live performances, she’s become uniquely capable of melding her mixing talents with the musical identity of the performers she’s working alongside with, which is one of the reasons why Hyphen Hyphen insisted on taking her across Europe with them on their fabulously successful HH Tour.

Hyphen Hyphen on stage in Belgium

“We chose Charline because she’s known in the industry as one of the most talented sound engineers of her generation.What we considered even more when we know how hard it is to conquer this industry as a woman,” says Hyphen Hyphen. “She became a cornerstone of our team. Gigs after gigs she really helped us to create something beyond our expectations.”

Playing hundreds of shows with the band in venues across France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, she gained invaluable experience catering to international audiences while exposing herself to a wide range of musical talent. Acting as the medium between the band and their beloved fans, she gained immense experience manipulating sound waves until they rang with euphonious brilliance across the stage to the churning masses cheering below.

Producing ringing, roaring sounds that are nonetheless clear and precise is no easy feat, yet Charline’s tireless years of learning have prepared her for nearly any musical conundrum. Having played hundreds of shows in venues capable of jamming tens of thousands of eager fans inside their confines, she’s become immensely seasoned in the art of stage performance. Her talent isn’t limited to live venues, as she’s proven audio prowess on countless occasions in the studio. Early on in her career she honed her skills at the recording studio of French legend Olivier Lude, a highly-lauded expert who asked her to become his personal assistant.

Having spent countless years perfecting her skills, Charline’s dedication has certainly paid off as the audio engineer’s expertise and on-stage elegance continues to be widely recognized across Europe. While Charline has become a sought after sound engineer for musical artists across the globe, she’s also proven herself to be an indispensable engineer of live performances, like that of Arnaud Rebotini. In April Charline was called in to mix Rebotini’s live version of the soundtrack from the award-winning film “120 BPM.” Performed at the Paris Philharmonic, Rebotini needed a stellar sound mixer for the performance, which aired live on national television, and Charline was the perfect sound engineer for the task.

Charline De Cayeux

Charline says, “Mixing for TV is very different than mixing in a venue. There are less problems with the acoustics of the venue for example, so it’s easier and more artistic, but your mix will be heard for days, maybe months or years online or on TV. So it has to be perfect.”

More than anything else, Charline’s diverse skill set, which has been applied to both studio projects and live performances, has taught her that versatility is essential in her field of work. Her engineering mastery has fueled the uproarious cheering of live audiences and tugged on the heartstrings of TV-viewers alike, but Charline’s shining personality is surely one of the reasons that big name acts keep calling upon her skills. A sound engineer is worthless if they can’t unite with the artists they’re paired with in order to produce a melodic sound that highlights the performer’s skills, and Charline has shown time and time again that she’s unsurpassed in savviness and charm when working with others.

No wonder Hyphen Hyphen is eagerly eyeing her for their forthcoming tour of the United States — after all, the best bands understand they need reliable audio engineers who are comfortable to live with in the midst of a long, tumultuous tour. Charline’s workplace grace and diverse talent will doubtlessly continue to make her an attractive asset for any major act trying to woo over new fans, to the point where they may have to fight over her. Luckily, she has plenty of tuneful talent to go around, and the dulcet effects of her adept audio engineering can be expected to ring across the earth for years to come.

Portia is a journalist & poet from Los Angeles. You can find her work through №3 Magazine, ElephantJournal.com, Gypsyrich.com, Stillstoked.com and more.

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