There’s something captivating about anyone who can pull off that vaudeville look. It alludes to the era in America when Freak Shows were deemed the norm and they were the rock stars of the world – a time where sepia wasn’t just a filter on Instagram. Oh those were the days, and thanks to artists like Christopher Reyne, those times thrive in modern times. His style could be likened to the 1920’s but with a twist as his music resonates heavily with fans of Ben Gibbard.
So you take a master of many instruments and place him in Portland, Oregon and you get Christopher Reyne. He’s not only well-dressed, but an overall interesting dude to chat up. From his insight to social media, to Disney princesses to The Beatles – it seems no rock was left unturned so keep on reading on to get to know more about Chris.
Kendra: Can you remember the exact moment you decided to start teaching yourself the guitar?
Christopher Reyne: I was ten, and my pops had just recently purchased a Samick stratocaster/amp starter pack for himself. He took about three months worth of lessons to no avail, and one night he came straight home from a lesson, put the guitar down and announced he was giving up his dreams of being a rock guitarist. I immediately snatched it up, took it down into the basement and taught myself how to play Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water,” the easiest song I could possibly think of. I came back upstairs to show him my accomplishment and he told me the guitar was mine.
Kendra: Many usually get asked about their musical influences, but I want to know if you had any vocal heroes out there you admire?
Christopher: Many of my vocal heroes are also my musical influences, as to me vocals play such an integral part of the music as a whole much of the time. From my earlier years, I was very heavily inspired by Lennon and McCartney, noting that they would change up their singing style depending on what was most suitable for the song. I thought that was fantastic, and would often try and emulate all of their different timbres to discover what I was capable of. I actually attribute my vocal style to many years of trying to sing like some of my heroes, which I feel truly helped me to find my own voice. Freddie Mercury and Thom Yorke are also two others I admire an awful lot, both greatly contributing to my love for falsetto and a more expressive delivery.
Kendra: What made you pick up and head to Portland?
Christopher: I’d swung through a few times on tour and really fell in love with everything about it. With all the artistic vibes the city exudes, the chilled-out locals and the abundance of fantastic coffee, microbrews, distilleries and eateries; it seemed like the perfect place for me to call home. Many of my friends also insisted that it was where I needed to be as an indie artist, and I found that being here gave me a certain creative spark I hadn’t found in Boston, Orlando or anywhere else I’d previously lived. I’ll sadly be leaving at the end of November to pursue a life out on the road, but its impact on my life and music has been substantial.
Kendra: You have this very vintage vaudeville look – have you always had such a dapper style?
Christopher: Not always, but it’s been goin’ on a while. I traded the band-tee-and-jeans look for collared shirts and blazers in my junior year of high school, and began incorporating ties and vests my senior year. The bow ties and hats came more into the picture while I was living in Boston in ’09, and I blame Portland for the mustache.
Kendra: Being as active as social media as you are, do you have a favorite site as a fan as oppose to one as an artist? Like do you love Facebook as a regular guy, but Twitter as a musician?
Christopher: To be honest, I’m not much of a fan of most social media. Facebook is just all about money and ads, and if you’re an artist on it you basically have to pay for your status updates to even be seen let alone clicked. I’ve really been enjoying Instagram an awful lot lately as an artist, as well as a fan. However, I think there are many things pictures can say that 140 character tweets can’t. I also love to live vicariously through my world-traveling friends, and love that people can keep up with me on such an intimate level.
Kendra: Not so random, but what Disney princess would you try to woo with your music to be her “Prince Charming?”
Christopher: Snow White, without question. She is the fairest of them all.
Kendra: Are you one of those artists who can’t stand being home, like you always feel like you need to be out playing shows?
Christopher: As much as I do love performing and socializing, I prefer to just be home alone with some instruments and recording gear most of the time. There’s something so soothing and liberating about being able to freely create music without any restrictions or distractions. It’s a really nice escape from reality, something I wish more people could experience. Going back to the whole social media thing, I feel like people nowadays just get so incredibly caught up in keeping up with their friends’ and celebrity figures’ lives (and drama) on Facebook, Twitter etc. that they completely forget to live their own. My alone time spent writing and recording time is therapeutic, to say the least.
Kendra: What’s 2014 have in store for you?
Christopher: Hopefully more than I can even imagine, but as of now I plan to be on the road a good majority of it to really get myself out there to new audiences. I’m going to try and cover as much of the US as possible, taking breaks only to record new material. If all goes well, I’ll also have a full band to back me for some of the performances.
Kendra: If you had to make a mixtape with 5 songs that you’re thinking about covering what would be on there?