Jordan Reinecke, otherwise known as REIN, was supposed to meet me at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens on a beautiful late Spring Day. Earlier in the week, however, smoke came down from Canada. It was an onslaught of wildfire fumes. Due to both of us having asthma, we wound up sheltering inside Harrison Street Cafe at a small two-person table on the top floor; I had my iced latte, and Jordan with nothing save for his thermos of tea that he had brought from home to combat the poor air quality outside.
I have known Reinecke for a few years now and found out during this process that I actually wound up attending his first show as a solo artist at the beginning of 2022. He recently released a single called “Evermore” with an accompanying video directed by Tyler Scheerschmidt coming out in just a few days on August 4th. Reinecke is an artist to watch, so I figured I’d sit down with him and hear his story.
Born in Richmond, Virginia, and raised in Chesterfield, Virginia, Reinecke is actually one of a pair as he has a twin brother, Parker Reinecke, who can often be seen backing him up on drums. Reinecke described himself as a “creative child who was always making stuff,” often making paper mache sharks in kindergarten – a childhood obsession of which he would make indexes of what sharks lived in what environments.
Reinecke’s formal introduction to music began when he was given a guitar for Christmas in 7th grade, “that I did not ask for,” he said. The guitar itself was oddly branded Jagermeister, as Reinecke’s grandfather was a liquor broker, so he was often handed strange promo material. Other guitars of this sort in his collection include a Fireball guitar and an Evan Williams guitar. “I immediately started learning songs by myself,” said Reinecke. Quickly taking up private lessons as well, the bug was in him, but what really kickstarted his passion came from a friend who just so happened to be the nephew of Eddie Van Halen. After attending a concert and watching the renowned guitarist sound check, he became absolutely enthralled by the musician’s talent. The next phase of his development was simply learning Eddie Van Halen’s licks and trying to replicate his style.
It wasn’t long after this that Reinecke started building his own guitars. “It drove me down a deep rabbit hole of building my own guitars and the kind of custom shop garage culture that is hacking them up, experimenting with different woods, and soldering your own guitar in order to get closer to that sound in your head,” said Reinecke. This ultimately culminated in the creation of Reinecke’s iconic Partscaster, which he can be seen playing almost every single time he takes the stage.
Reinecke joined his first band called Yesterday and Tomorrow when he was 16. A self-described “nonprofit band,” the group would perform at nonprofit events around Richmond. They were having a lot of fun, but a smaller group of musicians in the band wanted to break off on their own and started putting together a set. The group of friends performed their first show at a battle of the bands at James River High School and won. This was the birth of the band Five Second Rule, which eventually led into the group playing for four years with multiple different singers, touring around, and playing covers in four-hour sets up and down the East Coast. Later this collection of friends created a group called Hollywood Cemetery, which was intended to be a vehicle for their original music. Unfortunately, after a few years but a number of very good singles, this group came to an end.
Reinecke decided to go to college right at home in Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University and saw a vibrant creative community there. After an unhappy and unsuccessful semester in the business program, Reinecke switched to interdisciplinary studies and took every class he could that was creative and interesting. It was around this time that Reinecke started producing, writing, and playing guitar at Defiant Studios in Richmond. “I’d be Defiant with my guitar in between classes. I’d be there whenever I could… so I started playing on people’s stuff there, I started to meet more people, and just get more credibility as… I don’t need this band, I don’t need anybody to be validated as a creative,” said Reinecke.
Right after Hollywood Cemetery ended was when he met Steven Shires, a fellow Richmond artist. The duo started making music together, and eventually worked their way up to creating a whole album, but only actually released one song from it. The track found some decent success with a few offers coming in from labels and record companies, but it was too much to handle for the young artists, and it all fell through.
Around this time Reinecke made another connection by meeting Pete Rango. Rango has made a career in artist development and helped Reinecke transition from being a repeat band member to a solo artist known as REIN. “I started realizing how good I was at making pop music, and I think that’s because of playing top 40s for so long and just absorbing what makes a popular song… Through all of this, I still wasn’t calling myself an artist. I was calling myself a creative,” said Reinecke.
Reinecke has also become a believer in “The Artist’s Way“ by Julia Cameron, and the pillars of it helped him begin journaling and taking himself on artist dates to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens – the original proposed venue for our meeting. He broke into his own by creating the track “Hey” with Rango producing. This came out second in his catalog however as REIN was hired to write a song for a horror movie soundtrack that never got released. This is where “Evil 2 U,” REIN’s first single, came from, and thus REIN was born.
During his college years, Reinecke became interested in Web3 and the “decentralized creative economy,” which led him to LA for the first time. He got involved with The Heart Project, a community-run creative studio with tokens on the Ethereum blockchain serving as membership passes. REIN became one of the first projects funded after he pitched a music video. Reinecke’s granted heart had a magnet and a boxing glove, so in response he created an emotionally unavailable character and wrote the track “Heartbeater.”
“I was California dreaming hard,” said Reinecke, and it looked like his dreams were coming true as he was missing a week of college classes to fly out to Los Angeles to shoot a music video. However, Reinecke was somewhat humbled by the experience, saying, “I came back, got to release that, and saw the juxtaposition of having that Summer and then bam, I’m back in school, back to exams… I was like, ‘how could this be?’ Because the song was so profound, and all it took to cure that was one morning of writing in those notes, and I still trust that I’m where I need to be. I’m grateful for that opportunity… There wasn’t anyone in a tuxedo there waiting going, ‘REIN’s the new hot thing!’” Later Reinecke did get to go back to Hollywood to play at the Whiskey A Go Go with a number of musicians like Rikki Rocket from Poison, and Richard Fortus from Guns & Roses.
But Reinecke isn’t just a musician – remember, he used to just call himself a creative. He has been involved in a number of projects including his creative improvisation, he has found work as an actor, and through a series of unfortunate events found himself hired by Watching Grass Grow TV to build the world’s fastest flying lawnmower – a task he succeeded in doing only for all of the footage of it to be lost. His entrepreneurial spirit soldiers on though, as he has been a part of a team with Rango developing 8Bus.
8Bus is a mobile creative space that aims to “use technology to challenge forms of media, but to do it in a way that isn’t limited to online,” said Reincke. It’s a traveling multimedia studio where artists can enlist the help of the team behind it, and their space, to do anything. “I want to… help the next actualization of someone’s, or a group of people’s, calling. Help someone who’s idea is crazier to be able to go and do that.” The pair demoed their ideas at VCU Davinci Center, and have found some funders with hopes that it will take off in the near future “I built it for me really, but then I realized everyone else wants to do this. It’s an exciting vehicle to disrupt media.”
Keep an eye on Jordan Reinecke, because who knows what sweet guitar track he’ll drop next, or what strange and interesting new technology he’ll be on the cutting edge of. In two days you can go watch REIN’s new music for his track “Evermore,” but if you can’t wait until then, give it a listen wherever you get your music.
Photos by Tyler Scheerschmidt
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