• Welcome to my website!

    About me

    My name is Stefan Schmidt, I'm a singer, composer, guitar player, vocal arranger and producer from Germany. If you found this website I guess you know my Metal a Cappella band VAN CANTO or any other band or project I was involved in. On this website you'll find a list of the projects I worked on, which might be the best way to get to know me and my work.

    Thanks for being here!

  • Projects

    Over the years there have been some cool bands and projects I had the chance to participate in. I'm really curious what comes next!

    2019: Boyazont - Roots and Wings

    A Hard Rock side project, with me composing, producing, playing guitar, bass, keyboards, and singing
    Roots and Wings on soundcloud

    2019: Orden Ogan - Final Days (release 2020)

    For my long-time mates from Orden Ogan, I had the pleasure to be part of the choir chrew, together with Hacky Hackmann, Andy B. Franck and Mo. The album will be released in 2020.

    2018: Van Canto - Trust in Rust

    The 7th Van Canto album, again Top 50 in Germany and followed by a Tour over 7 countries.

    2018: Heavatar - The Annihilation

    The 2nd album of my classic inspired metal band. Released worldwide with stunning reviews.

    2017: Lux - Krieger des Lichts

    The score to this German theater movie was written by my Van Canto bandmate Bastian Emig. I added some guitar and vocal recordings. The movie also features an orchestrated version of Van Canto's Take to the Sky

    2016: Van Canto - Feuerstimmen

    The german audiobook with the complete novel text, read by Ferenc Husta. We recorded 18 german Van Canto ballads for this one and added some sountrack choir recordings.

    2015: Van Canto - Vocal Metal Musical - Voices of Fire

    I produced this cross media project, consisting of an album (feat. the Metro Voices Choir from London and John Rhys Davies as spoken words artist), an audiobook, a novel and lots of graphic material. The album made it to the top 25 chart in Europe again and was followed by the most succesful Van Canto European Tour until that point in time.

    2015: Phantasma - The deviant hearts

    For this Serenity-/Delain-Sideproject I recorded Sly's voices for two songs.

    2014: Van Canto - Dawn of the Brave

    I produced the fifth Van Canto album and recorded all voices. Drums were recorded by Charlie Bauerfeind, Mix was done by Ronald Prent. It was released in February 2014, entered the european charts (Germany #18) and was followed by a sucessful world tour.

    2014: Sinbreed - Shadows

    For this German powermetal band, featuring Marcus and Fred from Blind Guardian, I recorded Backing Vocals for the track 'Broken Wings'. The album was released in March 2014.

    2013: In Legend - Stones at Goliath

    I engineered parts of the second In Legend album and I also sang and co-produced some backing vocals.

    2013: Arven - Black is the Colour

    Once again I produced the backing vocals for an arven album. I also did a guest lead vocals on one song. The album entered the german album charts on #65
    Arven's website

    2013: Shadow Icon

    I arranged and performed backing vocals for the 2nd release of this great band from slovenia. It will be released later in 2013.

    2013: Dark Sarah

    I wrote a song for the project of Heidi Parviainen (ex- Amberian Dawn). It will feature a duet of Heidi and Van Canto's Inga.

    2012: Van Canto - Peer Returns

    Our transmedia project with motifs from the famous Peer Gynt story and -suite.
    Check out peer-returns.com for more details.

    2012: Paralyst

    This is the side project of Van Canto's Ike, german rock, quite progressive but very heavy. Check out paralyst.de

    2012: Heavatar - All my Kingdoms

    Power metal, with classical inspiration performed by Sebastian Scharf, Jörg Michael (Ex-Stratovarius), David Vogt and me. I produced, recorded and mixed the album and wrote all the songs. (www.heavatar.net).

    2012: Grave Digger - Clash of the gods

    I did background vocals for this one, together with my Van Canto bandmate Ross Thompson and Hacky Hackmann. In my opinion the best sounding Grave Digger recording so far.

    2011: Van Canto - Break the Silence

    The fourth studio release of my band. Drums were recorded by Charlie Bauerfeind. I wrote half of the songs, recorded the vocals of all bandmembers (including myself) and did the mix in my studio. I also recorded Marcus Siepen (Blind Guardian) playing acoustic guitar for the song "Spelled in waters". We entered German charts on #23 with that one and did our first European headliner tour afterwards, so it was the most successful Van Canto album so far.

    2011: Arven - Music of Light

    I co-arranged and recorded the background vocals for this 5/6-female-metal-act. I also did some arrangement coaching for some of the songs. The band was signed by Massacre Records afterwards.
    Arven's website

    2010: Grave Digger - The clans will rise again

    I sang (and spontaniusly co-arranged ;-)) background vocals for this one, together with my long time mate Bastian Emig and Hacky Hackmann. This was quite special because we recorded in the same studio (Principal studio) where we had our first Van Canto showcase 3 years before.

    2010: Blind Guardian - At the edge of time

    I was part of the background vocal choir for this one, which was a great honour and an unforgettable experience. I got to know Billy King, Hacky Hackmann and Olaf Senkbeil and I learned a lot during this 7-day-session.

    2010: Tarja Turunen - What lies beneath

    For "Anteroom of Death" I composed an a-capella-interlude, performed by Van Canto. I recorded the vocals in my studio and created stems for the final mix. The song was chosen as the album opener. The album was released worldwide with great success.

    2010: Van Canto - Tribe of Force

    The third studio release of my metal a cappella band. Drums were recorded by Charlie Bauerfeind, I wrote most of the songs, recorded the vocals of all bandmembers (including myself) and did the mix in my studio. We had our first chart entry (#83) with this record and played about 60 gigs and festivals afterwards in 6 different countries.

    2009: In Legend - Ballads'n'Bullets

    Though the far biggest part of the work for this record was done by Basti himself, I helped him out with some equipment, and some premixing. I also recorded Inga's guest vocals on the song 'Stardust'
    In Legend got quite far and are still growing, check out their website!

    2008: Van Canto - Hero

    The second album of Van Canto and the first time we had the chance to work with Charlie Bauerfeind. I composed all the 5 not covered songs for this record and did my vocal parts. The rest of the production was up to Charlie, who did a great job and somehow "defined" how Van Canto sounds since these days. I learned a lot during this recording and I am very grateful that Charlie gave me such a great insight. A special highlight for me was having Blind Guardian Singer Hansi Kürsch taking part in my composition "Take to the sky", which definitely was the most overwhelming moment in my carreer up to then.

    2006: Van Canto - A Storm to come

    I recorded the first Van Canto album completely by myself. Although nowadays I'd find many things concerning this production I would definitely do another way, I think the whole band can still be proud of the debut album. We created something new and our song "The Mission" is still part of every Van Canto show and became something like a band hymn.

    2001-2006: The Razorblades

    A 60's inspired surfband, founded by my brother Martin aka Rob Razorblade. A great chance for me to play in a band together with my brother (and guitar teacher!) and a great inspiration for Van Canto concerning the fact what is possible if you trust yourself and do the band's management on your own. A special experience was the release of the second album "Dark side of the beach", where I did the recording and mix and we recorded the whole album live (playing together in the studio). The band is still alive and touring worldwide, check it out!

    1996-2006: Jester's Funeral

    My first "real" band and a good place to learn how Metal and the music biz works. I am still proud of the songs we wrote and of the fact that we created a sound that would still fit as "modern", even though we started the band in 1996. After the split I founded Van Canto. You can check out the website for a complete history and a bandcamp link to all 4 records we recorded.

    1996: Feanor's light

    My first metal project. I recorded a demo tape on my 8-track-home-recorder and played all the instruments and did the drum programming. I wrote songs about the first book of "The lord of the rings". Though that project never became a real band, I was very proud of my first metal "album". The song "Frodo's Dream" made it on Van Canto's "Tribe of Force", 16 years after I wrote it :-)

    2000-2005: Demo studio

    I also recorded some demos for local bands, I guess most of them (Fading Starlight, Emorion, Solicitude, Loco Deaf Trip, Cp Rono) are not active anymore. Nevertheless I gained a lot of experience here and met great people, for example Inga (now Van Canto singer) and Sebastian (now Heavatar lead guitarist) from Fading Starlight.

  • Contact me

    stefan.schmidt (at) exajoule.de

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  • More about me

    I was born 1979 and started playing piano at the age of 6. Aged 13 I got E-guitar lessons from my brother Martin who already was a professional musician at that time. I started writing songs and founded my first band Gloom one year later. My first real band was Jester's Funeral (from 1996-2006), we played something between modern power metal and thrash metal. After the split of that band I founded Van Canto, and in 2012 Heavatar.

    Besides music I am interested in computer science, soccer, workout, cooking and music ;-) I am luckily married, I have one son and one daughter, who are by far the most successful productions I have been involved in.