Mol is a small community in the Antwerp region of Belgium with close to 35,400 inhabitants. The streets are straight and lined with trees, the houses meticulously built. Lakes and forests are close by. There are two kinds of people who regularly visit Mol. For one, there are the Belgian families who go there for summer vacation. The other group are musicians, some of the world's most famous. Mary J. Blige has been there, as has Lauryn Hill. Rammstein too, plus the star tenor José Carreras and Herbert Grönemeyer. But they don't come for the nature – they come to record their albums. They come for Galaxy Studios.
If you're looking for sound experience and audio excellence, you'll find it at Galaxy Studios. It is the birthplace of Auro 3D, the technology that revolutionized the music business. The studios grew into a conglomerate long ago. Today, the only ones with a clear view of the business' structure are its founders, Wilfried and Guy van Baelen. The company premises are like a small village, with buildings, green spaces, private hotels, restaurants and cafés. But the road to success was a long one.
Wilfried van Baelen was 15 years old when he played his first gigs on his electric Hammond organ. He was a tinkerer, an inventor, maybe even a nerd. But what fulfilled him back then even more than his concerts were the hours spent in the studio. There weren't many, but they left an impression. Three years later, Wilfried built his own music studio in his parents’ yard with the help of his brother and father. The first instrument to be plugged into the new digs was the WERSI Galaxis organ, self-constructed by his younger brother Guy. That's how the studio got its name. Wilfried produced a number of albums, dividing his time between London and home. On the side, he finished his studies at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels. Things were going well, but one idea kept itching at him. The little studio at his parents' house wasn't enough for Wilfried van Baelen. He wanted more. He wanted to create a space where music could be at home. Van Baelen wanted a quantum leap, a revolution. He wanted the ultimate sound experience.
By 1992, it was time for his dreams and reality to become one. In Mol, he began to work on a studio complex that was bigger than anything of its kind. The recording area would set a new world record for sound isolation. And then the stars started coming. Talking to Wilfried van Baelen about all this – the beginnings, the success, the situation today – requires patience. The father of success is a busy man. Then, suddenly, he calls from China.