The first time I came across Ryker Sear was online to watch their video ‘Forever Criminal’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tvR2N17uhE. My first impression besides liking the song with its energy and enthusiasm was their sense of fun. They looked, young, raw, impulsive and happy.

When I meet up with the Milton Keynes-based duo Regan Vincenza and James Torselli, nothing changes my mind about their positive persona.

I suggest they should run a competition for their fans to see if they can guess the origins of their bands name Ryker Sear. The chances are similar to those of the queen in the fairy tale of ‘Rumplestiltskin’.

So, let’s start with the name. I ask Regan the origins of Ryker Sear. “Well, it’s silly really. I was at home and ‘Star Trek’ was on TV. Captain Picard said, “Commander Riker to the bridge.” I thought that sounded quite cool. I put it together with “sear” and liked how they sounded. We’ve been Ryker Sear ever since”

This type of spontaneity doesn’t surprise me. On social media Regan is playful, funny, and informative, with opinions, strong opinions, on certain subjects. You can follow her updates and exploits on: twitter.com/rykersear, instagram.com/rykersear, and facebook.com/rykersear.

As Ryker Sear they started out as a foursome, deciding along the way that just the two of them was a better mix. They’ve been together as a duo since 2014.

Regan is from a music background, her father being proficient on guitar, sometimes dabbling on flute due to Jethro Tull being a major influence, on him not Regan, you understand.

At 18 she was studying music at the University of Central Lancashire. She tells me, “The course was more creative arts as opposed to the study of music.” After two years she quit the course and college. With parental advice still ringing in her ears to gain a degree, it was a career in music which beckoned. Regan says, “I managed to get studio time at Tin Pan Alley in London recording my own songs (no covers). Some of the engineers from the studio recruited a drummer and a couple of guitarists. I had them play on tracks and we put together a demo album. The album was online for a while, before I took it down.”

James is the more grounded of the duo. It’s not surprising given what he’s been through during his late teens/early twenties.

With a certain level of understatement he tells me that “he’s from a musical family.”
Born in Bedford, his grandmother was a church organist, teaching him his first piano keys aged three. He picked up violin when he was seven, and clarinet at ten. His mother plays piano and oboe, and his sister plays saxophone, piano and flute. Yep, I’d call that a musical family alright.

His older sister was, as he states, “better at most musical instruments than I was.” So come his thirteenth birthday he asked for a bass guitar and decided “to get better at something than my sister.” All good sibling rivalry, you understand.

He played in school orchestras and bass guitar for a swing/jazz band entertaining to the sounds of Sinatra, Herbie Hancock etc. All part of the musical education process.

With some gentle persuasion and support by his mother he applied to ACM Guildford to study bass guitar instead of his second option of History.

Life was as it should be for a 19 year old, until March 2007 when he collapsed during a lesson. “Initially medical staff thought it was a problem with my asthma,” he explains. Upon further investigation, two tumours were found, one in his neck, the other in his chest. He was diagnosed with lymphoma. Chemotherapy treatment started immediately.

Over the next seven months he was in and out hospital for a variety of treatments. He was eventually given an unconfirmed remission. Just before Christmas 2007 he found a new lump on the other side of his neck. “I was devastated,” James explains. Around the same time his sister’s boyfriend was also diagnosed with leukaemia.

James then underwent salvage therapy, which is given to a patient after an ailment doesn’t respond to standard treatment. The process didn’t work. His doctors decided a stem cell transplant was required. After many months of arduous treatment he was once again beginning to win back his health. It was during a routine check-up that his consultant had a shock recommendation for him.

“Because I was clear he suggested a “belt and braces” approach. This time a stem cell transplant, from my sister; she was a perfect match. I think the first thing I said was ‘You're Kidding?’” he recalls. This was no joke; James agreed to go ahead with the “belt and braces” approach in November 2008.

It wasn’t until February 2009 that he was well enough to get back into music. He answered an online advertisement from Regan, instead of going back to ACM Guildford. Although not well enough to perform live in front of an audience, he successfully auditioned for the position of bass guitarist. Soon after joining up with Regan, his sister’s husband, married for two weeks, died of leukaemia.

James pays tribute to his sister’s husband: “Steven was such a great friend, I think about him a lot. My sister had been so brave. I’ll always be so grateful to her for looking after him as well as being my donor.”

I pause, wondering if there's anything else. “What’s the situation now?” I tentatively ask. “Oh yes, all that’s behind me,” James says brushing off the question with a wave of his hand.

Indeed these two are looking towards the future. They’ve just closed off a UK tour supporting Bailey McConnell. “We were so excited,” says Regan with unrestrained glee. “I love his music; well, I love pop music in general”

I ask them about the tour.

“I was nervous,” says Regan but the reaction was great - from the first date of the tour in Belfast the audiences seemed really up for listening to new music. The response was generally very positive, and everyone seemed pumped up for the shows”

“We did a cover of ‘She Looks So Perfect’ by 5SOS (The Australian pop/rock band equivalent of One Direction), and everyone at the shows knew the song, so they would sing along with us. Even though that song isn't ours, it was still a great feeling to have the audience interact with you in that way.”

“We would come out after the show ended as the meet and greets were happening, and it was lovely to meet so many people who had come to the show and enjoyed our performance, and then asked for our autographs and loads of selfies, which was very cool. At one show, I signed some mobile cases and a backpack! There were actually a few people there who did know of us before the show - I recognised them from following us on Instagram.”

“It was great to meet so many people who are actually going out to listen live music” explains James. “Then you come across people like our taxi driver in Dublin. He explained which lyrics he would change in the songs from ‘Frozen’, then sung them to us. Great fun.”

“How would you describe your music in your early days?” I ask Regan.

“When we started it was light, easy pop music along the lines of Demi Lovato. That was when we played as a four piece. Our first gig was…?” They check with each other for the date. “…Fiddlers Elbow in London 2010, then venues such as The Shed in Leicester and Esquires in Bedford.”

“Your music as a four piece sounded and looked good. Why the split?” I question them both.

“We were going at different speeds. I wanted to write and get some songs together. The guys wanted to play gigs,” explains Regan. “We parted on good terms. There were no problems there.”

“As a duo has your musical style changed?”

“Yes, but it’s hard to explain,” says James. We are much more like Tonight Alive (edgy Australian punk five piece). If you like them you will like us. Maybe more mainstream, we are embracing more electronic sounds as well, a little bit like Room 94. We aren’t as ‘pop oriented’ as we were.” It provokes a laugh from them both.

Unless you’ve seen Ryker Sear live you currently can’t see or hear them as a twosome! They don’t have a video, a song online, hard copy or digital format.

“Any particular reason?” I wonder.

“We played our new single ‘Pimpin’ on the tour,” adds Regan. “I’d say we are a month or so away from a release date. Ideally we would want to get on another support tour.” “Anyone lined up?” I ask. “Not that we can discuss.” James says, becoming the business filter.

“Besides a tour, we intend to get some live gigs set up for the summer. But we must, we have to get ourselves the time and space to write new songs,” says singer-songwriter Regan.

During the next six months it will be interesting to see how these two develop. There is no doubt they have the belief, energy and desire to get new material out to an ever increasing fan base. More importantly they have the talent. I’m sure live gigs will be a formality once they release their next single.

It’s hard to define, but they have something different going on with their musical style.

Ryker Sear...watch this space.









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