It takes skill and an experienced ear to bring all the sonic elements together into a cohesive recording. Audio technician Christian St. Germain brought Femoir to another level.
When and why did you first get involved with music?
I did not grow up in a very musical family, so it is hard to pinpoint where the love of music originates from. I do remember, though, when I realized the power it has and when I really got hooked. Back in the mid 70s I used to get to school by bus and of course, back then, the older and cooler kids got to sit at the back of the bus. One day, I boarded the bus with my ping-pong paddle on which I had drawn the logo of the band Yes. The moment the cool kids from the back of the bus noticed I immediately became cool as well and was allowed to hang out with them! In my teenage brain music now equalled being accepted and part of the gang! I then heavily got into listening, discovering, talking about and sharing all the music I could get my hands on. I was also always drawn to the technical side of things. So being an audio technician made a lot of sense to me and that career happened quite naturally.
What are the challenges of the vocation?
The main challenges of this vocation are, of course, the financial instability and the unpredictability of the workload (or lack of it). On the other hand, those challenges can also become the rewards. You never know when a really well-paid gig might come up or when a not-so-busy period turns into an amazing time touring the world…anything can happen! Or nothing! But life has a way to even everything out and, looking back, it all turned out quite well for me.
What have been some career highlights?
If I was to pick one career highlight, I would have to choose a period of time. I was extremely lucky to experience what I think were the last “unreal” years of the music industry before the internet made the selling of a physical support for music obsolete. At the time, I was the full time, “everything audio” guy for French artist Lara Fabian. She had just signed a huge record deal with Sony New York to do an English album and we got to travel and produce it in all the great American studios (Hit Factory in NYC, Larrabee in LA, the Record Plant in LA, Capitol Studios in LA, etc) with top producers (Walter Afanasieff, Pat Leonard, Glen Ballard, etc) the most amazing engineers (Mike Shipley, Mick Guzauski, Ross Hogarth, John Kurlander, etc) and amazing top musicians (Steve Lukather, Mickey Curry, Vinnie Colaiuta, Bruce Gaitsh, etc.). Once the album was released, we got to promote it doing live performances on US television, including The tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good morning America, and The View. Those were my “I can’t believe I got to experience this” years!
How was your experience with the Femoir project?
As a professional audio technician, the “gigs” I enjoy the most are the musical ones. So, when the Femoir project came my way, I was thrilled. I knew from the beginning that this project would be one of high standards. Great songs, great musicians, and a world class singer…what more could I ask for?
What stood out to you?
What stood out with this project – besides the quality of the song writing (which is the most important element) – was the sense of cohesiveness and purpose behind this collection of songs. The whole process was well thought out and it leaves the listener feeling that he or she is being taken on a musical journey with meaning. We now live in a fast-paced world and today’s popular music reflects that as well. But, thankfully, not everything has to be that way. Femoir is proof that the “concept” album – listened to and enjoyed as a whole – is a worthwhile and inspiring experience for both creators and consumers alike. I know Femoir will find its way through the sea of noise…because anything made with love and passion can only be met by love and passion.