I once heard someone say, “If anyone I know is ever going to be famous it’s going to be Bryce.” Actually that someone was Diana Delgado, performing goddess of Tricklock Company. I certainly respect her opinion, but that’s quite a title to bestow on someone (especially given that she knows me).
This Bryce that she speaks of is Bryce Hample, a visual and sound artist who performs as Reighnbeau. The first time I saw Bryce perform, he was opening for someone I went to see at Sister. At that point, the only electronic performer I really enjoyed locally was The 1960 Sci-Fi Era, a.k.a. Scott Elkins. My frame of reference when it comes to electronica is somewhat limited, so when Scott told me “You’re going to want to check out this guy,” I took his word for it.
Check him out I did—and I was utterly thrown by who I saw on stage. He looked like a fucking space wizard with flailing red hair, casting spells in manmade fog, and cranking out some amazing original music.
I’ve come to respect Bryce not just as a musician, but as an artist in general. His visual art, music videos and performances that I’ve seen make me think that maybe Diana’s statement isn’t that far off.
In anticipation of a Reighnbeau video release event (details below), I asked Bryce to share with me, What’s Your Deal?
1. What’s your act?
My act is Reighnbeau. It is music that I make alone, and also with friends. Current live shows involve me on keys/electronics and vocals, and friends Hannah Daney on vocals and James Sturgis on drums. I like fog. Sometimes we wear purple velvet cloaks. The sound changes, reflecting the sounds that obsess me at that time. Currently this might reflect an obsession with organic sounds manipulated through electronic production, and R & B. We will be releasing a music video at The Guild next week, and have a new album coming soon.
2. Tell me about your background as an artist/performer.
I was born in the Los Angeles area but raised in Albuquerque. I took “boogie-woogie” piano lessons as a young kid, but gave them up due to a dislike for practicing. Years later, I came back to playing music and had to re-learn everything. I have studied music theory and audio engineering, but I’m mostly self-taught and prefer to play by ear.
My parents are both artists and encouraged my pursuit of music and visual art. About five years ago, I traveled to Benares, India to study sitar and Indian classical music. Reighnbeau started upon my return, first as a place for little songs that didn’t fit into my other projects; it has since remained my main outlet alongside my ambient project Hedia. I have released many albums and EPs with both projects.
I balance my musical explorations with my visual art, and show my work regularly. My work might be categorized as “painting” or “sculpture.” I have been in many bands over the years and a few years ago decided to shift my focus into learning more about recording and electronic production, which is reflected in my recent work.
3. What was the worst gig you ever played? Dish all the juicy bits.
On tour last summer I played a show at a gallery space in Oregon. Halfway into my set I set off my fog machine and immediately fire alarm sirens and strobes filled the building. The fire alarm system was actually tripped on the ENTIRE block of downtown retail and office spaces. I kept playing for a while as I assumed it would turn off (I had set a few smoke alarms off on the tour already). It didn’t turn off and soon put everyone in the space into a fire alarm frenzy (as it is designed to do). No one knew how to turn the alarm off, and everyone was freaking out at the prospect of the fire department coming. Lots of yelling.
Always remember that even though they look like jeans, jeggings are NOT jeans, they are mostly leggings.
It was pretty terrible. I was trying to stay out of the way, as that seemed like one way of helping, but that might have made it look like I didn’t care about what was happening. I got told off and cussed out a few times. The fire department came and turned it off, and said that someone had “pulled” the fire alarm, which was confusing, but didn’t absolve me of any guilt. The show was over, which meant half of the performers couldn’t play, they happened to all be on tour as well, as all of the locals had played first. Terrible.
4. Who are your favorite performers at the moment?
This is a tricky question, as most of the electronic musicians I have been into in the past year are not necessarily (good) performers in my mind. My favorite performance that comes to mind is Chelsea Wolfe and her band. I saw them twice in the past two years and both times they were amazing.
5. What is the most helpful tip you can share with aspiring performers?
Always remember that even though they look like jeans, jeggings are NOT jeans, they are mostly leggings. That said, it is guaranteed that wearing jeggings will always improve your performances. Secondly, always remember: fashion over function.
On Wednesday August 6 at The Guild in Albuquerque, Humbird and Colorway present the video release of Reighnbeau’s “Milk of Amnesia” with live visuals by Ethnograph. The event will be accompanied by a live performance from the band.
Photo by Eric J. Martinez.