Stephan Kraemer


Stacks Image 27
I was born in Brussels-Belgium in 1962. After school I moved briefly to Germany already starting a small 4-track studio in 1980. After finishing sound-engineer school in 1986 and having released a couple of records already by that time, i worked for the prestigious german microphone-manufacturer Neumann for a year before making music-production my main job from 1987 to this day. In 1986 i also got to work as an assistant at the Synsound studio owned by belgian synth-guru Dan Lacksman. I met quite a few well-known people there like Alain Chamfort, The Sparks or Dani Klein. We also had 2 Fairlights and a Synclavier to work with, so it never really got boring there.

I started playing guitar from the tender age of 10 and moved on to electric guitar at 12. By the age of 15 i got my first drumkit and played with various friends from school. Whenever there was some kind of concert at school i would also invariably end up behind the (mostly rudimentary) mixing-board. I guess my future career was already laid out clearly... I was also in various bands with varying success from the age of 19 onwards.

The first real studio-job was at the - now defunct - Brussels Square Studios where i worked until 1991. Being main house engineer i got to record and sometimes produce an interesting blend of bands and artists from all over the world. Those were the beginning days of MIDI and we still recorded onto tape (anyone remember ??). Lots of improvising and coming up with solutions for the limits of the gear were the motto in those days. It taught me - besides from simply learning my trade - to make decisions on the spot and not postpone them 'til the mix as is so often the case now. It is something i still adhere to today...
Stacks Image 15
In 1991 i began working at the Herent-based Impuls studios whose owners were building a second studio and consequently needed more engineers. We were 6 engineers there and worked almost around the clock. It got a bit factory-like so when the opportunity arose to buy the premises in 1992 I borrowed some cash and took over the place in view of running it my way. Unfortunately for me this coincided with the big revolution in the recording business of the 'home studio with ProTools'. The days of the conventional studio were counted and while we still had enough jobs, it was getting harder every day. I had to do more and more artistic production to increase the income.

This was of course what I always wanted to do and i got quite successful at this, contributing largely to the emergence of the french metal-scene and to the carreer of many other french artists. Take a look at the list of bands i worked with to give you an idea. I have also established a few longtime relationships with artists producing many albums together, some are still lasting today. In 2005 I decided to call it quits as a studio-manager and sold the studio.
Stacks Image 18
I worked there for another year before deciding to look for greener pastures. Quite a few studios in Belgium and France have since welcomed me to their premises and all kinds of loose associations are in the pipeline for the future...
Regarding my work-philosophy I cannot say much about myself - it is probably best to read some of the interviews of artists I have collaborated with. I can only say that every new band that comes in is considered a new challenge and an enrichment of my craft. I tend to respect every artists specificity and not to impose my style - even when it is exactly that the bands sometimes want: a trademark type of sound. My main goal is to respect an artists vision, help them accomplish it and make the journey a pleasant one. I firmly believe in the fact that a listener can hear between the notes how a record was made - even if he can't describe it with words. There is more to it than just the notes.