• Name: Holger Stedem
  • Born in 1959
  • First live event: 29th of October, 1977
  • Occupation: Musicdesigner 
  • Intention: Musical sound-design by means of audio engineering

 Personal development and philosophy

Education and formation:

Electrical installer
Radio and television technician

Personal development:

My first contact with music and audio engineering was in 1976. In the middle of my education for electrical installer some friends who had just founded a rock-band thought I would be the man to take care of light, effects and the audio engineering of the band. Thus I became a member of the "LOST ANGELS". Beside the construction of a lighting system, dry ice fog devices and magnesium flashes I was responsible for the live-sound.
Pretty quickly I realized that sound was the medium that interested me most. Especially all the creative potential within handling sound and acoustics was something that fascinated me right from the start.
Back then I noticed very fast that my endeavor in gaining knowledge in that field stretched me to my limits.
At that time there was hardly any literature with live-sound as topic, not to mention books in German. The first book I ever found that addressed it was "PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR CONCERT SOUND" by Bob Heil and of course only available in English.
The consequence was I had to bring my very poor English to a level that allowed me to make use of such sources of information. In those days you couldn't even think of having something like an "official" education in something like live-audio-engineering. (from my point of view, up to now, there is no education, I known of, in this field, which would be worth the name).

Moreover, I realized that my knowledge in electronics and acoustics was not sufficient enough to build a foundation that enabled to self-teach.
As a result I decided in 1980 to start an education as radio and television technician to develop the necessary theoretical base.
Parallel to this education in 1981 I was ask to join "DOUBLE YOU", a semiprofessional Soul/Funk-Band, that had already had gigs outside of the region.
The company "STAMER", in Münchwies, who had started out as manufacturer for instrumental and reinforcement cabinets and systems, opened up the first professional PA-Rental-Company in our region. In the beginning of 1982 Lothar Stamer asked me to work for the company as a sound engineer.
After finishing my education as radio and television technician, in early 1983, I went on tour with "SIOUX" for 2 years. Touring with this band had two huge advantages for me. First, these guys played very often (more than 150 gigs per year) giving me the possibility to collect a lot of experience in most of the live clubs existing at that time in Germany. The band also had many border-crossing activities, and so I could extend my know-how with gigs in France, Austria and Switzerland. I did not only gain experience in the club scene, but also on festivals with up to 45,000 spectators.
The second big advantage of this cooperation was the fact that this band didn't play any commercial style music. It was not possible to pigeon-hole them. The repertoire led from Rock through Pop and Funk from Latin up to Classical music elements.
Working with this band gave me the opportunity to emerge from being somebody that only technically adjusted all the devices to becoming a creative musician using the instrument "Mixing-Board" that is not placed on stage but in between the audience.

As I finally decided to make a living with that job, I chose, as a logical consequence, "MUSICDESIGNER" as my job title.

My philosophy:

The term "MUSICDESIGNER" should express the idea how I wanted to do my work.
For me all the technical devices are the instruments I play on. Like any classical instrumentalist, I first had to learn how to play and control the technique of the instrument very well. After that, I was able to progress from just pure reproducing into creative shaping the music. First I have to be master of all the technical devices, I need in the process of designing sound, only then am I able to be an equal partner in the creative process of making music.
A designer in the graphical world is able to create with strokes and colors a 1-, 2-, or 3-dimensional picture. Likewise I create a multi-dimensional sound "picture" with the sounds the musicians on stage (in front of the microphones) and the inclusion of all the acoustical circumstances

Many fields of my activity arise from this basic understanding. e.g.

Main fields of work:

  • Live-Music-Events:
    Co-musician (instead of just technicaly handling engineer) at the mixing board in the center of the venue.
  • Sound-Installations:
    Concept, planning and realization of sound installations
  • Planning's for fix-installations and events
    "Bridge-builder" between technology and artistic needs
  • CD – mastering:
    Final "polish" of sound-recordings before the publication due to my longterm experience in the field of Sound-Design
  • Consultation:
    The huge knowledge base in the field of sound, regulations and sets of rules with regard to events and loacions for events, as well as my experiences in the area of sound-recordings, led to an extensive consultation activity
  • Education:
    Long-standing experience with Digital-Audio-Workstations are the basis for running regular workshops about DAW and Sound-Design