“I felt really comfortable and at ease working at Backthird. I felt pushed to do things well and not settle, but in a totally friendly and supportive environment.”
—Eric Hoffman, Punch Fight
In 2003, Benjie quit his job as a newspaper writer to start a music company. Out of one dying industry and into another! It was April Fool's Day.
Benjie acts as CEO and marketing chief for twin babies Backthird Audio and Backthird Entertainment, and continues to seek ways to serve area musicians through the development of a Fox Valley music community. He is the pianist, guitarist and arranger for the popular Twin Strings ensembles and the producer of the award-winning Made in Aurora vinyl album series. He and his wife, Amy, live in downtown Aurora.
Backthird Audio is run by and for musicians - but somehow, Anna keeps us from collapsing into chaos. She thinks concrete is beautiful, she's learning Thai with her husband, Ben, and she doesn't play a single instrument - but she studied and taught dance for more than a decade.
One of Anna's earliest memories is of being a flower girl in a wedding, where she got to dance to really loud music until way past her bedtime. She still loves really loud music and still stays up way too late.
Travis spent almost a decade recording and touring with power pop trio Split Habit, playing the Warped Tour five times and licensing music for a lot of mainstream TV shows. Now he manages a small record label, Stayposi, in addition to recording and producing area musicians. “I wanted to help develop the next generation of artists,” he says. “So many people helped me out – it’s my turn to give back.”
Initially a pianist and cellist, Kyle joined post-Hardcore band This is Our Year on his third instrument – guitar – in 2010 and says he “hasn’t looked back since.” The band tours all over the Midwest and opened for the "Leave It To The Suits” tour in 2011, playing for more than 1,000 people at Mojoe's in Joliet.
Kyle caught the engineering bug in high school, dabbling with a lo-fi microphone and free audio software. He studied video production at the College of DuPage, before heading to Tribeca Flashpoint for an audio engineering degree.
Kyle also serves as Backthird Audio’s production manager, maintaining the studio and managing our list of projects and producers. You can read his full studio member profile on this page.
A lifelong freelance musician, Mark's typical week may include anything from playing keyboards in the pit for a stage production, to composing and arranging for a commercial client, to programming backing tracks and performing with his dance band, No Reservations. Mark's never experienced a "typical" day.
In his time at Backthird Audio, Kyle as worked as lead engineer and mixer for artists like Andrea Dawn, Punchfight and The Hyrax, as well as on the award-winning Made in Aurora vinyl LPs. Kyle studied at Columbia College in Chicago and at Belmont University in Nashville, interned at the House of Blues recording studio, then spent several years freelancing at places like the Sound Kitchen, Dark Horse and Quad Studios before he and his wife, Stacy, decided to transition back to Chicago to be closer to extended family.
Like all great engineers, Kyle loves cool microphones and very long recording sessions. If he's not in the control room, he's probably on his mountain bike.
A graduate of the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, Niki worked for 5 years as lead engineer at National Studios in Chicago before leaving to pursue a more diverse musical experience. Her resume includes projects for gothic metal band Something Beautiful, punk/alternative band Five Minus X, and “psycho surfbilly” act the Alder Kings, in addition to a variety of rap and spoken word. Niki plays bass in the super-serious punk act Skull Fogger.