We had the good fortune of connecting with Stefan Haerle and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stefan, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Pursuing an artistic career allows me to simultaneously fulfill my love of playing and creating music along with serving others and helping them realize their creative vision. Particularly within the realm of production and mixing, I am able to help people take their music to places they might not have seen themselves. Seeing the joy this brings the artist and watching them freak out when you finally get the track sounding how they want is one of the greatest feelings. It has also allowed me to meet people from all over the world and will likely afford me more traveling opportunities over the years (along with live performances if more tours open soon). Recently, I also started teaching private lessons on sax, bass, guitar, production, mixing, and mastering which provides a similar feeling when you can help someone reach a new level in music or achieve their personal goals.
Pursuing the arts helps me discover new parts of myself and challenges me to achieve things I did not think were possible. For example, my new single “Too Much” (out now on all platforms!) is the first record I have sung on, written, played all instruments, mixed, and mastered, which is something I never imagined I could accomplish. I believe that people can achieve almost anything they set their minds to as long as they have strong self-belief, persistence, and self-discipline.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a music producer, mixing/mastering engineer, and multi-instrumentalist based in NYC. Recently, I graduated from Manhattan School of Music, where I studied jazz saxophone with Donny McCaslin, Dayna Stephens, along with learning production and mixing from Erin Tonkon (David Bowie, Foo Fighters, etc). Although I currently involve myself primarily with r&b, alternative, hip hop, and gospel music, I think this experience allows me to access more sonic possibilities, since I’m able to play different instruments quite well. From a production standpoint, the music I’m working on lately combines elements of industrial (distortions, synths, and guitars), classical (string quartets), jazz (saxophone layers), hip hop (drum samples and various 808’s/synth basses), gospel (5 string electric bass lines), and alternative r&b (vocal mix/vocal layers), amongst other musical styles. I try to take my favorite elements from various styles and implement them in my own way along with exploring sounds on different instruments. Lately, I’ve experimented much more with sound design, taking simple sounds and layering effects until something new emerges.
I think my versatility and ability to play instruments in different styles at a high level has brought me to where I am today professionally, along with help from incredible producers and artists who took the time to give me advice. One of the primary lessons I have learned recently is to be more patient, focus on what I can control instead of worrying about external factors, and trust my own instincts. I tend to second guess myself quite frequently, but the more art I create the more clear my vision has become and the more clearly I can identify what result I desire.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Washington Square Park is a must! I attended NYU freshman year, so the village holds tons of great memories. No matter how strange you think you are, someone in that park will certainly out-weird you! There is a great sense of community and artistry. Sometimes you may find a dubstep trio with a tuba player which seems to be a once in a lifetime experience. As soon as music venues reopen we would have to visit Rockwood Music Hall, one of my favorite NYC venues! I have played there many times over my years in the city, and some of the most fun nights of my life took place there. There are tons of incredible up and coming artists and occasionally a bigger artist will make an appearance as well (Bootsy Collins performed before covid but I arrived too late/was not able to attend unfortunately). 55 Bar also has some incredible more experimental music. The bass is usually loud enough to cause an earthquake, which is a huge plus in my opinion!
The High Line is another beautiful spot in NYC (park on an old rail line). I love grabbing a nearby drink and visiting here with friends if we’re in the mood to relax and enjoy some stellar views.
Truthfully, I rarely eat out these days so I can save money, but one of my go-to’s in Harlem is Chinelos! The food is super affordable and their burritos slap every time without fail.
If the weather is lovely, sitting out on the lawn in Central Park in another beautiful way to spend an afternoon. I also love visiting MoMA (my favorite museum in the city!) and need to visit more often.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I accredit most of my success to my mom, dad, brother, and sister. Often times, they believe in me more than I believe in myself and encourage me to delve deeper into my passions. Having their support over the years is an incredible blessing, and I hope to somehow return the favor eventually. Also, I’ve forced them to listen to countless recordings and mixes (I can be quite relentless when asking for feedback) and they have given me lots of invaluable advice to make my tracks sound better. My brother, Evan, has listened to more of my recordings and song ideas than possibly anyone else on earth, but he always gives great input so he’s generally the first person I send recordings.
Steph Turci, Isaac Bullman