Who We Are

The Engineering (VBE) and it’s Entertainment Technology group is part of the company Venture Beyond Records (VBR), registered in Sonoma County CA, with business license in City of Santa Rosa, CA.

VBR operations include CD replication, manufacturing, barcodes, export and two subsidiary publishing companies Tralfamadore Music ASCAP and Interstitial Ltd BMI with 35 recording artists. After the first few tours we couldn’t overlook the bulging and found the need to “venture beyond” the record company and deliver the engineering and other fun groups.

It’s a small world.

Long ago Mark Smith was building glass display cases for music stores (as a way to get a discount on his gear). A salesman asked “so you design speakers too?” .The salesman put a team together and a company called RAM (Redwood Audio Manufacturers) was born. Mark was the technical guy, Dave Montijo built the stuff and did the installs for rock bands. The product was extreme heavy duty speaker boxes — Fiberglas over birch shells with Gauss components and hand-wound kilowatt crossovers.

The advertisement was a D7 Caterpiller tractor perched on top of 2 cabinets. The drop test was literally “push it off the roof of the shop”. Production started and caught the eye of the Pros, like Steve Winwood, Foreigner and Eddie Money.

After building a few hundred systems Dave left the production floor by the invitation of our artist clients to prove the quest “so you’re a sound man too?” On the tours he set up stages and ran the mixers. When the tours slowed up Kip Kent and Dave worked together building sets and props for film, TV and installs. Later Dave got some full time gigs at the big venues in San Francisco – even got on the sound crew for Metallica.

Dave’s brother-in-law Jim Kohler designed, set-up and ran the million dollar video systems at the big venues. Meanwhile Mark needed a bigger vehicle to travel the world so he co-founded the record company (VBR) with his new bass player Dianna Jacobsen (AKA Davis).

They got some licenses and took a couple semesters of Russian and German. VBR took them to eclectic worlds like tours via the Trans Siberian Express and huge castle festivals in Eastern Europe. Mark would record bands in between gigs, take the masters home to make the CDs, Dianna made the album covers, then bring the CDs on the next tour and pick up the sales from the last tour.

Concurrently, Dianna veered off and made her own company — printing, designing and www’ing - Jacobsen Design (she made this website too).

Everyone loves to veer, so Mark expanded VBR to capture his other engineering desires – entertainment technology and mechanical solutions. . .

The fun continues — Mark’s original bass player Larry Smith has a son who worked at Mesa Boogie who is best friends with sons of Michael Sawicky of Interactive Game Experience (IGX) who needed mechanical solutions and builds for his video gaming kiosk tours. Mark’s name came up as the expert. Presto! Mark brought in the ringers. Just think, we all used to play basketball together in Penngrove when we were kids, now, we’re still a team, still having fun, dreams come true.