Reigndear showcases sibling musical magic
By Derek Kensinger
Translated by Sho Huang
Brothers make good music. It is that simple. As history shows, male siblings can make exceptionally listenable songs. Back in the day, we had The Everly Brothers, The Righteous Brothers and The Isley Brothers and, more recently, the Followill brothers of Kings of Leon have flexed their vocal abilities at sold-out stadiums world-wide.
Following in this tradition, Taichung regular Reigndear is comprised of South African brothers Kent Dylan and Wesley Jay, who combine with Londoner multi-instrumentalist Johnny Atterbury to create a sound that, at its best, is on par with the lush, well-crafted introspection of American folk band Bon Iver.
As is often the case with strumming sibling duets, Reigndear's brothers started out in a musical family, their father being a guitar luthier. They met Atterbury in 1991 and jammed together throughout their adolescence, but didn't officially form Reigndear until 2007 which, as Kent Dylan mystically muses, "was when everything started to become what it is now". On that new year's eve, the name Reigndear was chosen; having no relation to the animal, it combines "reign" and "dear" and means "go forth and do what needs to be done".
Following this mantra, the band has since performed at various Taichung venues including The Refuge, the closed but so-sorely-missed 89K, Frog, and Luvstock. Regarding their Taiwan musical experience, they love the fact that Taiwanese people are interested in what they're doing, but wish there was a bigger market for foreign bands, adding that more local encouragement to make and listen to music was needed.
One of the few, still-pulsing Taichung musical havens that Reigndear really enjoys performing at is The Refuge (see p.22 Nightlife listings). Refuge owner "Boston" Paul in turn praises Reigndear's music as "gripping, melodic and thought provoking". The band's unique sound, while difficult to pigeon-hole, is mostly influenced by alternative rock acts Nirvana, Violent Femmes, Pearl Jam, and PJ Harvey, while their writing and harmonizing are mostly derived from iconic singer-songwriters like Bob Dylan and The Beatles.
Reigndear is currently in a studio recording phase until December, when they plan to release new material while making the rounds on the Taiwan music circuit as part of their "Death, Birth and Life" tour. In the meantime, you can access new and old tracks at reigndear.com.