Reality shows and social media over the last 20 years have obviously altered the landscape of pop culture and entertainment. Those two mediums have also had an enormous effect on the musical evolution of drummer Keith Reber. Back in 2004, he had his first taste of fame as a bassist in the metal band A Dozen Furies. The five-piece won the MTV reality show contest Battle For Ozzfest.
Subsequently, Sharon Osbourne became their manager. They were signed to Divine Records, released two albums and toured non-stop for three years. Now Reber has transitioned into a solo career as a drummer, performing live DJ mash-ups and creating remixes he records and posts on his YouTube page. He's parlayed his YouTube status into several gigs at venues throughout Dallas, and a sponsorship deal with Yums Clothing.
I recently made the trek out to Lucas, Texas, to get a glimpse of Reber's music-making process at his home studio. Housed in an enormous garage, his studio setup is minimal and only includes the essentials: drum set, mixing board, laptop and video camera. While setting up his equipment, Reber spoke of how he goes about choosing material to cover.
First, he sends out a mass text message to friends asking for suggestions. While waiting on responses, he searches various sites to see what songs are generating the most buzz, filters the info and gets to work. I witnessed Reber experiment with songs from all genres, including "Feel So Close" by Calvin Harris, "We Are Young" by Fun featuring Janelle Monae, and "Original" by Mystikal. One thing to be noted is his work ethic: Most of his studio sessions last eight to nine hours, to ensure he's producing something both he and his fans will appreciate.
Speaking of fans, Reber is 100% in tune with their likes and dislikes. Aside from tracking which of his videos receive the most hits, he utilizes a program that displays a chart showing which videos people watch all the way through and at what point during a particular video viewers tune out. He also enlightened me on tips and tricks he's learned to maximize YouTube visibility through the titles of his post. It's a pretty intricate process, which he has down to a science.
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Inspired by the success of Blink 182's Travis Barker, Reber is confident he's found his niche and has his eyes set on touring nationally. Be on the look out for upcoming collaborations with Dallas DJs Fishr Pryce and D-Roz.