Caleb Southern, a producer and musician who famously worked with Ben Folds Five and Archers Of Loaf, has died. The news was confirmed by Georgia Tech, where Southern was a professor at the School Of Computing Instruction. He was 53.
Born in 1969 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Southern got his start playing in a band Calle the Ledbetters in the late ’80s. By the start of the next decade, Southern founded Kraptone Studios, where Archers and Ben Folds Five recorded. (Ben Folds has called Southern the “fourth member” of Ben Folds Five.) Southern produced Archers’ 1993 LP Icky Mettle, and Ben Folds Five’s 1995 self-titled, 1997’s Whatever And Ever Amen (which went gold in 1998), and 1999’s The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.
Southern also engineered for Superchunk (1995’s Incidental Music 1991-95) and Polvo (1996’s Polvo EP), among others.
In addition to his work in the local music scene, Southern was deeply embedded in academic circles; he completed his degree in mathematics and computer science with honors at the University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received the Brooks scholarship. In 2010, Southern started a PhD program at Georgia Tech focusing on human–computer interaction for mobile devices. He received a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship in 2012. Last year, he won the College of Computing Award For Outstanding Instructor.
Southern also worked on the Cycle Atlanta app and got involved with urban planning. In Durham, he solved a 35-year-old transportation issue by designing a route that preserved local wildlife and natural spaces, for which Independent Weekly Magazine honored him with the Citizen Award.