Motivated by Music

Junior Chris Reyes uses music and clothing design to express himself

Emily Alexander, Online Editor

     It all started with a passion for music and a curiosity about what goes into the process of making music. Little did junior Chris Reyes know that many years later he’d be carefully crafting his own music.

     “I always knew that instruments were a thing, but it never occurred to me that someone had to sit down and physically make all of that themselves,” Reyes said.

     Reyes constantly wondered how the music he listened to was produced. His curiosity inspired him to begin teaching himself to craft music in middle school.

     Reyes finds musical inspiration in a beat or melody echoing in his head, or from a sound he hears in everyday life.

     “For the most part, I hear something out in the world and I go ‘Hey, that sounds kinda neat. Let me slap an 808 and some drums on it’,” Reyes said. “Other times, however, I’ll literally just think of a random melody and it’s just a matter of bringing it to life.”

     Using these tactics, Reyes is working to develop his own sound and style. Reyes strives to produce a dark and gritty sound similar to some underground artists in Florida.

     “If I had to describe it visually, it’d be a rainy alleyway with cracked walls,” Reyes said. “I want the sounds I make to give off that kind of vibe.”

     Reyes produces his music under the name Mersington. This is the name of the low-income street where he grew up in Northeast Kansas City, Mo.

     “There’s just a lot of memories on that street that have made me who I am today,” Reyes said. “The mannerisms in that environment have helped me when necessary and I don’t think I’d be able to handle my problems as well as I can now without it.”

     Reyes has always valued the importance of creativity and the idea of self-expression, so he decided to start a collective that would give him and his three closest friends, juniors Max Malik, Griffin Niemann and Joshua Amigo, the opportunity to do that and make a little bit of profit as well.

     A collective is a group of people who work together to achieve a common goal. Their collective is called 4ourfront (pronounced forefront). The group primarily focuses on designing graphics that can be printed on shirts, hoodies and other items.

     “I started so that everybody involved with it can have an artistic outlet and feel like they’re doing it with a purpose, rather than something they do in their free time,” Reyes said.

     When it comes to his business ventures, Reyes thinks strong trust is the key to success. He built a solid friendship with his three partners before asking them to start the collective.

     “I believe it’s more important to build a fun friendship with someone before you lay a trust level down,” Reyes said.  “I value the friendship I share with my guys in 4ourfront more than the income. I hope they do as well.”

     The other three agree with Reyes. They were a tight-knit group with strong bonds before they were business partners.

     “I’ve known since third grade and I’ve always felt like I could trust him with my life,” Malik said. “He’s been one of my closest friends for a long time and we sort of have that brotherly bond.”

     Reyes’ greatest obstacle was the process of getting started. He often pondered the idea of starting a collective but never took the first step. It wasn’t until he found himself hospitalized due to exhaustion from the stress of school and family life that he decided it was time to stop waiting and start doing.

     “I’d been putting it off for the longest time,” Reyes said. “I was basically just finding any reason not to, like ‘Oh, I gotta focus on school’ or ‘What if nobody wants to join me in this thing?’ Eventually, I got tired of not doing it.”

     Reyes describes the message 4ourfront wants to convey is to go out and do whatever motivates you.

     “If I had to encapsulate , it would be just to go out and do what you love,” Reyes said. “Don’t dwell on the negative things, but rather focus on the better and use that as motivation to keep striving for what makes you happy.”