Chapter two starts near the end of high school and continues through the first decade of the new millennium. My world consisted of long hair, neon, and pop punk. Indie labels like Drive Thru were responsible for the soundtrack to my late teenage years, and the dreams of producing a Drive Thru Records band or signing bands to my own label kept me up at night. (Little did I know at that time that both of those dreams would one day come true!) Graduating high school early, selling off the DJ business I had started, and receiving a scholarship to (then subsequently dropping out of) Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management allowed me the opportunity to pursue my passion for recording music. I bought a house and set up my first small studio, where I spent the next several years making really loud punk rock records. Along the way, I was developing my craft and my sound, learning from as many different producers and engineers as possible. Looking back, I probably made a lot of really bad records, but I pushed myself with every project, working to develop my ear and create new sounds and a style unique to me.
During this time, I started an indie record label to produce + release records for bands I believed in. I also recognized the value of merchandise as a tool for artists, for additional revenue as well as building their brand, so I started a small screen-printing company to make t-shirts for my artists to sell at shows and online. I had no clue what I was doing (and still don't), but I did my best to figure it out along the way. I worked really hard on a lot of music that the world will never hear; on bands I thought had a shot but never made it; on projects that were on the verge of greatness but never quite had their time. I spent countless hours on projects invested in but fell apart; deals that went sour; friends and money lost in a gamble against the music industry. But as frustrating as it all was (and continues to be!), I learned so much along the way and continued to develop a foundation for things to come. Even if I had the chance, I wouldn't change my path, and I'd never trade those years at my first studio in Monroe, Washington for anything.