Pictured above: Christopher Meraz-Mata, engineer at Studio Aix (center), Al Schmitt (right), and Steve Genewick (left), at Studios La Fabrique in 2018.
Born in New York in 1979, I was cradled in music from a young age: Beatles, Pink Floyd, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Burt Bacharach, and Average White Band were all among my first memories. Beyond the compositions, and for as long as I can remember I was fascinated by the sound created on each of these albums! How was it possible to craft these imaginary worlds of sound? And who could create such pure and powerful productions? Magicians, no doubt. Hence my dream - to one day play my part in the quest for music.
As an amateur guitarist, pianist and singer, I started making recordings in my bedroom as a teenager, with an old two-track reel-to-reel tape machine and a five-dollar microphone. From there I moved on to mixing live sound in a small concert hall on weekends at the age of 16 years. Eventually, I would convert my entire living room into a personal recording studio and start to learn Pro Tools.
On a quest for perfection, and famished for a deeper understanding of the recording process, I decided to study under Al Schmitt - a legendary recording engineer who has earned 23 Grammy Awards working with Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Paul McCartney, Melody Gardot, Diana Krall, and many other musical stars. This also brought me the opportunity to learn from Steve Genewick, Al's assistant for over two decades.
I can't neglect to mention my time spent at The Mastering Lab with Doug Sax (creator of the modern mastering studio), who mastered hit albums for the Doors, Pink Floyd, The Eagles, and George Benson. It was truly a treasure to see him working.
Bolstered by the knowledge picked up through these unique experiences, I decided to open a new studio; all that remained was to choose a location. Having nursed a long fascination for the European continent, I settled on the South of France, where the Rolling Stones recorded Exile on main St, and Pink Floyd did The Wall. No sooner had I set down my bags than I was convinced I had chosen the right place to pursue my passion. In the heart of the old town of Aix-en-Provence I found a large and comfortable space that I would turn into a studio, paying the utmost attention to all aspects of recording.