Rein is a great spokesperson for a generation that is about letting new voices be heard. With self-esteem to inspire and energy to emulate, she has opened the public’s eyes to music that was previously seen as alternative and extreme, not unlike the journey from the cultural underground to the mainstream that Dr Martens footwear has made
It felt like she came out of nowhere. When Rein emerged with a merciless electronic sound that made all other dance music pale in comparison, she was instantly embraced by alt-synth devotees as well as mainstream-music fans. She made it clear that she deserved the attention, hooking everyone through an attitude that is impossible to ignore. Her music is unapologetic, straightforward and loud in a simple and natural way, not at all forced. She has managed to transform a style previously considered extreme and alternative into something that everyone can see quality in. For lack of a better description, one could say Rein has brought an esoteric genre to the masses without removing its essence. Unsurprisingly, she has no lack of self-esteem. “There isn’t really anyone who does what I do today,” she says. “For a long time, I have felt like someone like me is needed and I can’t understand why no one has done it sooner.”
Earlier this year, she performed during a Forumist party at the Dr. Martens store in Södermalm, Stockholm, a recurring event that’s held in a setting where the guests can listen to good music and look at shoes at the same time. For Rein, the evening was a first- time experience – playing in a store like that is something she has never done before. She is a good match with the iconic brand that is inextricably connected to music history, and she describes why perfectly: “I have loved Dr. Martens shoes ever since I was a teenager. It has been a shoe for alternative people, but today many others also walk around in them. That’s fun!”
It’s not only some kinds of music that have shifted from being well-kept secrets among a selected few to gaining the attention of a wider audience. Almost all fashion statements are founded in the cultural underground and later accepted and loved by a demography that has no idea about their origin. Dr. Martens boots were once known mostly as the footwear of choice for the peaceful, music-loving, equality-aspiring original British skinheads. In today’s world, you can see the boots on the feet of people who have never heard a song by The Specials in their lives. Progress in music and fashion happens simultaneously, with one world influencing the other, and it is the natural growth of any expression. The mainstream can’t exist without the underground and the underground wouldn’t seek new kicks if it weren’t for the mainstream and its systematic borrowing of everything that is cool.
“It is always interesting to amplify your approach by producing music that chimes with what you are wearing,” says Rein about using fashion as an advantage in a music career. Her time in the public eye doesn’t go back very far, even though she the world of music is not new to her.
“I’ve been making music by myself since I was 13 years old, mostly because I wanted to wait until I was mature enough. I’ve always had a clear idea of what my sound should be like, before Rein,” she says. “It’s not that common to hear women making hard electronic music, with the expression and the message that I want to put out. I’ve always gotten a kick from hard, monotonous bass lines. I bring something entirely unique, I am in a class of my own – not only in Sweden but in the rest of the world. I am a club act with my live drummer. We keep the audience going with our raw and aggressive energy.”
It is possible that Rein gathered the emotions necessary while making music on her own, just to unleash them when the time was right. And she has arrived at exactly the right time, when the world needs her as much as she needs the world. Her image was ready for us to see and we accepted it without hesitation.
Rein shares her thoughts on where the world of music is heading: “I think the contemporary political time will come with a clearer message and musical shallowness will decrease. All revolutionary times have brought with them great art. Being committed is a pillar of art.”
Words by Filip Lindström
Photography by Ivan Rudolfovich Nunez
Styling by Alice Lönnblad
Special thanks to Dr Martens
1460 George & The Dragon, 1460 Mono Black Smooth and 1461 Bandana Bentley II Heart by Dr Martens.
Dr Martens Store, Katarina Bangatan 15, Stockholm