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Biggest Belgian recording studio is DAFT proposal

Manager of La Chapelle and GAM facilities has ambitious plans for next year

Work has begun on what will be “Belgium’s biggest recording facility” when it opens in a year’s time.

Stijn Verdonckt, who took on the management of the La Chapelle and GAM studios in 2008, has started the construction of a completely new facility in Geromont, near Malmedy in the east of the country.

Backed by a regional investment fund, a bank and a private investor, Verdonckt is looking at an ambitious project: the recording complex, currently named ‘DAFT’, will have a huge (185sqm and 9m high) main recording ‘wood’ room and two smaller live studios. The site also offers room and lodging for 32 musicians, offices, and an in-house mastering studio. The investment is rated at some €2.5million. (An artist’s impression is shown here.)

Until 1 December 2015, the expiry date of his current rental contract, Verdonckt will continue his recording assignments at La Chapelle and GAM.

A new company headed by Pierre Piront, original owner/founder of the GAM and La Chapelle studios, takes on the management of four strands at the Waimes site: La Chapelle and GAM Studios, the Media TV Studio (MTVS) and a property business. “MTVS and GAM take over all activities at La Chapelle,” confirms Piront. “The GAM studio is managed by my son Simon Piront, an SAE engineering graduate.”

As to the future plans for La Chapelle, Piront explains that the company will invest in a mobile TV studio and that he’s in negotation with several partners on the future development of the studios.

Pierre Piront founded the GAM recording studio in Waimes in 1979. After buying the Brussels Katy studio, he relocated it to Waimes and launched La Chapelle in 1995. Both GAM and La Chapelle became part of the Media Waimes Centre. Stijn Verdonckt hired both studios from 2008.

La Chapelle’s exceptional acoustics attracted recording artists from both Belgium and abroad. The facility’s TV production studios became the home for both public and commercial TV stations.

Both Piront and Verdonckt underline that the change of management at La Chapelle was effected ‘in the best conditions’, leaving both partners the best opportunities for the future.

Verdonckt plans to issue a monthly blog on the building of DAFT. In addition, he is setting up a 16-track analogue recording studio and a vinyl cutting machine in a vintage trailer. “The idea is that, after we have left La Chapelle, we pay a visit to the bands that have worked in the studio. Each month, we will record a single directly on vinyl – promoting the new DAFT studio,” he says.