Siegfried Meier was born in Oberviechtach, Bavaria, Germany, and moved to Canada as a small child. He developed an early interest in music and audio recording, recollecting that "I've probably been into music since I was 2 years old... I had tape recorders, and I'd record music off the radio and record my own silly songs... It was just part of me." In fourth grade he began learning his first instrument, organ, and afterwards began learning guitar. As a high school student he played in several original bands as a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, with the bands recording tracks in small local studios. After being disheartened by a lack of engagement from studio professionals, Meier began collecting his own recording equipment so his bands could record at home.
After cutting several records for his bands, Meier soon began recording local bands as well, stating that "every single penny that came in, it went right back into gear and supplies for the studio." Gear he collected was simple and he'd record in "whatever space we could access," including living rooms, basements, and bedrooms.
Among other groups he is a long-term member of Curtis, which he co-founded in 1994 as a melodic rock and punk band. Meier plays guitar and piano, Lennie Haggerty is on drums, Mike Chhangur is on bass, and all members contribute vocals and songwriting. Their first album, Curtis, was released in May 1997, while their next album, Thanks Stu, came out in January 1998.
After deciding to pursue audio production and engineering as a profession, he began attending Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology (OIART) in 1998 in London, Ontario, studying music recording, music theory, and how to handle both digital and analog recording gear. He was soon selected as an audio intern at OIART, teaching labs in the evenings. He worked with the school for several years before OIART hired him as their full-time Pro Tools and Audio Production Instructor, with Meier writing the school's AVID Pro Tools course "from scratch."
After his one-year internship, he moved to Los Angeles to work at "a few upscale recording studios," before returning to work at EMAC Recording Studios in London, Ontario. One of his first projects was working as second engineer on the 2001 album Oracle by Kittie. He also mixed, engineered, and mastered the 2002 album Sectorseven by Canadian rock band Sectorseven, and also in 2002 engineered, mixed, and digitally edited Healthy Manipulation by Los Angeles group Clockwise. Projects in 2003 included editing, engineering, and mixing Fold A to B by Canadian punk rock band The Salads. In 2004 he was an engineer and mixer on the Eurotrip Soundtrack, as well as second engineer and editor for Generation Genocide by Ontario ska punk band Jersey. In December 2004 he released the album Live in the Studio 2004 with Curtis, which was the band's first album in six years. After three-and-a-half years at EMAC, in 2004 he returned to London, Ontario to teach at OIART, and in 2006 began building his own studio in the nearby city of Goderich. Around this time he continued to produce from his home studio "Studio 209," including the Baptized In Blood EP by Ontario-based heavy metal band Baptized in Blood. He also produced a number of notable albums at Studio 209 throughout 2006, and he produced, engineered, mixed, and mastered the acoustic album Folkyo by Dayna Manning. He then produced the album AO by Ontario-based rock group Article One, also contributing guitar and percussion.
In 2006 Meier moved to Goderich, Ontario to build his own recording studio, a process which took into fall of that year. The facilities were built with artist residences overlooking Lake Huron, to allow bands to say for several weeks at a time.
Over the next several years he worked on diverse recording projects, serving as producer for many. In late 2006 he produced and engineered Goodbye Broadway, Hello Hollywood by Canadian rock group Riverside, and in 2008 he also produced Newspeak by the same band and mixed Hours and Hours: A Tribute to Seaweed. He was the producer for the 2008 album Thine Eyes Bleed by Ontario death metal group Thine Eyes Bleed. The album received 3.5/5 stars from MetalSucks.net. In 2008 Meier worked on the album The Sun Is Up and So Am I, contributing guitar and background vocals as well as producing, recording, and mixing.
He again worked with Canadian heavy metal group Kittie in 2009, producing their album In the Black at Beach Road Studios. Released September 15, 2009 on E1 Music, Allmusic gave it a score of 3.5/5. The album led to a three-album deal with E1 in the United States, peaked at No. 18 on the Hard Rock Albums chart put out by Billboard, and reached No. 133 no the Top 200 Billboard chart. Meier worked on other projects in 2009 as well. He produced, engineered, and mixed the soundtrack album for Saw VI, also mixing, mastering, or engineering albums by Bulgarian jazz group Kaffe and by Canadian metal groups such as Baptized in Blood and Farewell to Freeway. In November 2009, the Canadian punk band Sector Seven recorded a full-length album at Beach Road. Meier produced, engineered, mixed, and also provided backing vocals in some places, and it was released in April 2010 on Bright Side Records as The Hunt Club.
In 2011 he was the sole producer, engineer, and mixer for I've Failed You, the sixth studio album by Kittie. Meier had prepped Beach Road Studio for the recording process. Drums for the album's track "I've Failed You" were recorded to 2" analog tape by Mercedes Lander, with Meier stating "I had actually purchased a Studer A827 for that record, had it shipped to Beach Road Studios from L.A. and spent several weeks wiring it into the control room." For the lines by bassist Ivy Vujic, who had scheduling conflicts, Meier drove seven hours to create a makeshift studio in her "upstairs hallway." He also used different techniques than for Kittie's previous album In the Black. About vocals by Morgan Lander and Mercedes Lander, Meier stated that he and the band at times recorded doubled lead vocals in choruses, "a typical classic trick that I'm not always a fan of but that worked incredibly well for the sound of I've Failed You." A number of new guitar effects by Morgan Lander and Tara McLeod were layered into songs as well.
The album was released on August 30, 2011 and peaked on the Billboard Top 200 at 178. The album received mixed reviews with About.com and Exclaim! calling it one of Kittie's strongest albums, while Allmusic gave it a negative review. It was also named No. 3 in the Canadian metal magazine Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles list of the Top 10 Albums of 2011. After I've Failed You, he also produced, engineered, and mixed the 2011 compilation album Take It Or Leave It: A Tribute to the Queens of Noise - The Runaways.
Recorded in 2011 at Beach Road Studios by Meier, Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light is the fifth and final studio release by Canadian metal band Woods of Ypres. Meier had first been introduced to Woods of Ypres' frontman Dave Gold in 2011 by Kittie frontwoman Morgan Lander, who had recently recorded I've Failed You at Beach Road. Stated Lander, "Our experiences with Sig have been very positive... I think he’s a lot of fun, he’s very knowledgeable about what he does, and he’s laid back. David had told me stories about how, up until Woods 5… he just seemed less than pleased with [his studio] experiences, and sometimes with the way things had turned out sonically. It’s a positive environment working with Sig, so I’m glad they worked together.”
While Gold was writing the album's material, Meier communicated with him from April 2011 to August 2011 to prepare for the recording sessions. When the band recorded that August, unlike their previous albums they only had two instead of four members. Despite this change, band member Joel Violette stated in 2012 that "we had excellent chemistry with Sig, and David, Sig and I were all on fire. Sig really knows his stuff, and can make magic happen. ...we finished the bulk of [Woods 5] after 10-11 days, and the last few days were only spent touching things up." After recording, the tracks were then emailed to producer John Fryer to be mixed, known for working with artists such as Depeche Mode, NIN, White Zombie, and HIM. In comparison to past Woods of Ypres albums, Woods 5 has a stronger emphasis on clean vocals and gothic metal sounds, with little of the black metal sound that was present on previous releases.
Shortly after the album was recorded, lead singer Dave Gold was killed in a car accident, and the album was only released the following year through Earache Records. Originally slated for a January 30 release date, the final version came out in the UK on February 13 and in the US in April 2012. It met with a positive reception from critics. About.com gave it a rating of 4.5/5, calling it "as tragic a portrait of loneliness as metal has produced." About.com also credited Lander and Meier as influences on the final sound, stating the album "is a succinct study in what pre-production, inspiration and time-constraints can achieve." In February 2013 it was announced that Woods 5 had been nominated for the Juno Award for Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year, an award that it went on to win.
Both Meier and Beach Road Studios were featured in Canada’s Professional Sound Magazine in December 2012. He mastered the 2013 album New Machines of the Night by Gypsy Chief Goliath, which peaked at No. 20 on the CMJ Rock Chart. He also worked with pop singer Scotty James, whose release peaked at No. 23 on the Canadian AC Billboard chart. Among other projects he spent much of 2013 working on EPs by band such as Painted Faces, Slouch, Gag Order and The Wedding Party, also playing drums and bass on a Ryan Mills album Pile High.
Meier has continued to tour and record with Curtis into 2014, and the band released two EPs in the fall of 2013, titled Full Circle and Rarities, Randoms and Lost Souls. Meier has been a judge for the Juno Awards and is a periodic educator, at times lecturing for the The Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology.
Meier began planning his own recording studio in the mid 1990s, explaining that "my goal was to have a place in the country where bands could come and make a record without the annoyances of the big city." After Meier recorded an EP for the Ontario band Chasing Mercury in 2005, the lead singer offered framing work as payment for an upcoming album. Meier began construction on a studio, designing the facility himself and choosing a location in Goderich, Ontario. The building process began in the summer of 2006, and with family helping as well the new studio was constructed in a matter of months. The studio was named Beach Road Studios, a reference to the studio's view of Lake Huron's beaches. Beyond a mastering room, a control room, and a large tracking room, the studio also includes a separate band house next to the studio. Meier continues to hold periodic workshops at the studio.Influences
Meier has referenced diverse artists as influences on his recording and producing methods, stating in 2012 that "I love the stuff that The Carpenters used to do, the songs were beautifully crafted and the records were engineered better than I could ever describe. I love Bruce Springsteen’s stuff, I love 80’s metal schlock stuff, regardless of how much reverse reverb there was. I loved Nirvana’s Nevermind and In Utero, to Green Day’s Dookie and so much in between. Colbie Caillat’s records sound incredible, as does her voice and songs (no surprise, her dad was the engineer on Fleetwood Mac’s early stuff) and I love the new Lydia record."Beach Road Electronics
As an audio engineer Meier uses both analog and digital methods, and he officially endorses companies such as Peluso Microphone Lab, SJC Drums, Noble & Cooley Drums and Heil Microphones. Under the name Beach Road Electronics he also builds and hand wires his own "mic preamps, equalizers, compressors, mastering VU meter panels, guitar pedals, control room monitoring devices," etc., using both new and discontinued hardware. As of April 2014 he was using the Apollo plugins for mixing and mastering with his band Curtis, clarifying that for the band's recent recordings, "drums were tracked through the 610B mic preamp inputs with UA Neve 1073 EQ and a bit of LA3A on snare and Dbx160 on kick. I used the Softube Marshall with my Keeley modded TS-808 for my main guitar tracks, and the Engl E765 for all the chorus thickeners and extra parts. Bass was through the Softube SVT bass amp, and all my vocals were through an SM7B into the 610B preamp with a Pultec EQ, 1176 Rev A and LA2A silver compressors." Other companies he has endorsed as of 2014 include Radial Engineering Universal Audio, Presonus, and Plugin Alliance.