When I was in the 4th grade I participated in one of those cheesy door-to-door fundraising campaigns for my elementary school. You know, the little kids that knock on your door with little catalogs comprised of assorted candies, cheeses, and random tins full of baked goods… Yep, that was me! Anyway, I was a pretty savvy salesman for only being in the 4th grade. I sold more than anyone in my entire school. However, my motivation had very little to do with raising funds for the school. You see, we were all bribed with the promise of rewards. The concept was simple being that we were children… The more items you sell, the more awesome your reward will be. At this point in time CD players were relatively new and the top prize was a compact stereo system that was CD equipped! I did the work and made it happen.
The first CD I ever purchased was Dookie by Green Day… The next was Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt. I remember spending hours upon hours in my bedroom listening to that CD player. This was the first time in my life that I began my intimate relationship with music in a voyeuristic sense. It wasn’t until the 6th grade that I actually started to experiment with making my own music. I had found a guitar stashed amongst a bunch of junk in the basement that I would eventually convert into a project recording studio. It was an old Guild hollow body w/ and extremely rare Guild Thunderbird Tube Combo. I used to sneak down to the basement and plug the guitar into an old fuzz pedal that I had found and just make a bunch of noises. I didn’t know how to the play the guitar in any proper sense but it didn’t matter to me. I just enjoyed making noises.
I never actually spent enough time to learn how to play the guitar past rudimentary power chords. The instrument was just too busy for me. So in the 8th grade I decided that I was going to play bass. I figured that since there were only 4 strings it would be easier. It turned out that I was wrong about the fewer strings being easier part but that didn’t stop me from falling in love with the instrument. I took a few lessons here and there but for the most part I consider myself to be self-taught. This same year I bought my first used effects pedal from a local music shop. It was a Boss Overdrive. I didn’t know much about it other than it was only $30 which was awesome for my next-to-nothing budget.
By the time I had gotten to high school I had started forming a few small bands that never played any shows (which basically means they weren’t bands at all). It was literally just a bunch of friends that met up on the weekends and played through ideas for whoever wanted to listen. I played with a number of different musicians throughout high school but it wasn’t until my Junior year that I met Josh and Bryan. Josh, Bryan, and I started a band called “Fight The Nucleus” and continued the weekend ritual of playing music and jamming out. Josh and I were pretty big on collecting and using effects pedals. The FTN crew played for nearly 4 years before switching our names to “Charlie Don’t Surf” in 2004. During these years of playing I also formed a good relationship with Josh’s older brother, Kevin, whom had amassed a ton of cool recording equipment. He had multiple 4-track cassette recorders and I thought they were the coolest thing on the planet. We would go out to his remote country house and record improvised jam sessions spanning multiple hours. Afterwards we would all sit down and listen to them. There was this sense of magic in being able to hear recordings of yourself. Being able to recall experiences through music is uncanny. Years of recording improv sessions led to a large archive of cassette tapes… Kevin had hundreds of tapes of sessions… We could go back and listen to what we were doing on Christmas of 2002 or Halloween of 2001 if we wanted. It was awesome. More often than not we would listen to the archives rather than put on records.
During those years I had started to pick up a basic understanding as to how a multitrack recorder worked and how to properly use one. Eventually Kevin upgraded to a digital recorder and ended up gifting Josh one of his older 4-tracks; a tascam 424mkII. It became the primary recording device for CDS. We began recording all of our practices and it really helped us to evolve our musical ideas.
We played our first show at Center Stage in Muncie, Indiana in the winter of 2004. We played shows for a year and a half before we were presented with the opportunity to work with aspiring recording engineer, Andrew Mallott, to record an album. In 2005 we recorded our first full length record titled “Kvalitetsstoey” at Ball State University. Despite the lack of vocals in our compositions the record ended up being a success. We were playing with a number of great bands and really making a name for ourselves. At the same time, I was acquiring a lot of equipment… Amps, PA, Mixers, Speakers, Pedals, Recorders, and etc… At some point I just looked at all of my stuff and thought that it would make sense to offer recording services to other bands. I mean, I already had all of the equipment for the most part. It’s also important to note that during this time I had also met the girl of my dreams. Her name is Lauren Bultman and she’s a photographer.
Charlie Don’t Surf’s last show was played at Luna in Indianapolis, IN in 2006. The entire performance was recorded by Musical Family Tree and can be found by searching through their archives. Once the band had dissolved I decided to go back to college and get a degree. I struggled on settling with a few majors before eventually sticking with Audio Production at Ball State University. I spent the next 2.5 years working in an office at a tool and die shop that has been in my family since 1942.
In 2009 I decided to open my basement recording studio in Muncie, Indiana to the public under the name “Reber Recording.” I took my time in designing this studio to ensure that I would be able to handle any audio application that would come my way. I primarily work with musicians and bands but I am also equipped to handle video projects, voice overs, and radio advertisements as well.