SINE was founded by drummer and vocalist Rona Rougeheart. On January 11th 2019 SINE will release their debut album INSOMNIÆ. The album was recorded in Austin, TX with Charles Godfrey of Scary American Studio. Godfrey, in his two decade plus audio career, has been engineer/producer on over 75 recordings, including the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ It’s Blitz! and Mosquito, as well as The Black Angels’ Indigo Meadow. The album also has a guest vocal appearance by Curse Mackey (Pigface, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, and Evil Mothers) on the dance single, Drugs. Rona Rougeheart explains the inspiration behind the album and more…
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born and where are you now?
I was born in New York and reside in Austin, TX.
How would you describe your sound?
I would first and foremost describe our sound as electronic and beat driven. We’re heavily influenced by bands like Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Curve, Deftones and so much more. Our music and lyrics are dark and laced with booming bass, taboo, sexuality, low dragging synths, truth, filthiness and all of the emotional mazes we navigate.
Tell us about how you got your start in music:
Two words… Depeche Mode! I never thought about being a musician until I saw them live. I went to their show with my two older sisters (who were told by my parents to take me with them to their dismay). It was summer in Texas… super hot and sweaty. We arrived at the outdoor amphitheater, everyone in sight wearing black, but me. I was wearing pink shorts and a matching pink tank top. I obviously looked very misplaced or lost. The crowd was huge and we were standing near the front of the general admission area like sardines. People were pushing and getting restless, we swayed back and forth like an angry ocean. I endured being squashed until I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It was pretty crazy – someone then, threw a bottle and it hit this girl in the head right by me, leaving her with an egg shaped bump! It was total insanity! Everyone calmed down the moment Depeche Mode hit the stage. The curtain dropped – the music and production were so awesome, I thought to myself “I want to do that!”. It was exciting and intriguing. I loved it! I started learning how to play the keyboards, guitar and a little bass. My father was a musician so he taught me a lot. When he saw that I really took interest in the keys, he bought me my first portable keyboard, a Yamaha PSR-27. It was pretty nice, not too bad for a kid. I started playing around with recording myself and actually made little primitive demos using this huge boom box that had two cassette decks. I used one to record, then playback and record in the second deck to make my tracks. Of course, the quality got worse and worse, but it was an idea.
What is your instrument of choice?
After learning how to play the keyboards, guitar and bass, I eventually tried playing the drums. I ended up really liking it and sticking with it. As my music career began, I played drums for a few different bands. In 2012, I got my first endorsements with Gretsch drums and Gibraltar Hardware. I’m so thankful for that. I love playing the drums because it’s like dancing. It’s a big reason why SINE’s music is very beat driven. When I write a song, I really want it to groove and hit hard with the drums and percussion.
It’s very different from being behind the drum kit to fronting the stage. How was this move for you?
I will say that there is something really great about being behind a drum kit. I really love the instrument and it’s so fun to play. It’s kind of a weird security blanket. I love being on stage and performing, but sometimes it’s nice to have a kit in front of you and to be in the back of the stage where you can’t always see the crowd. I never intended to be a lead singer of any band. This all happened because I had ideas and songs that I had written that I wanted to do something with, so I made my own band. Being on stage as a lead singer is definitely different for me. I’ve been in theater so I’m not terrified of being on stage but it’s a little strange when you’re up there with nothing but your microphone. There definitely are times where I feel awkward or don’t quite know what to do with myself or my arms. There are times where I hope that I don’t look like a hunchback bird losing it’s balance all night long. But overall, I really like being on stage and performing SINE tunes. I figure every day I do it, is a day I get better.
What direction were you going for on the new album?
I wanted our debut album to be dark, sexy and stylish, with sophisticated, edgy lyrical content. The music is driven by electronics and beats. It’s natural for me, being a drummer and a fan of electronic music. Lyrically, the songs are about the dark corners of life and situations we encounter. It’s about love, sex, betrayal, temptation, degradation, lust, fiendish desire, destruction, drugs – real life. The songs are from a strong, unwavering stance, exposing the emotional mazes we navigate.
How did you organize the creative team behind your music video ‘Feed The Vultures’?
When I went to make the video for Feed The Vultures, I really wanted a beautiful, stylish video. The first person I thought of was my friend, Teresa Jolie. She’s an amazing director! I love her body of work. She’s great with mixing dark styles, sexuality and high fashion. The concept behind the video was meant to introduce SINE and myself. The video features various shots of myself in stylized outfits, colored scenes and vignettes of me drumming. We filmed the video at St. Elmo Soundstage in Austin, Texas. It was shot with a Red Epic Dragon camera. It’s a really beautifully done video. I am very happy with it.
What is your stage setup for your live performance?
SINE is a 2 piece band that consists of myself on lead vocals, keys and drums and Sonny Sanchez on drums and electronics. So essentially, it’s two drummers, both with additional electronics.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is… all black everything! I love high fashion mixed with elements of lingerie and fetish wear. I like unique clothing, lingerie and shoe designs that are sleek and sexy with class, but still have edge.
Our debut album, entitled INSOMNIÆ, is going to be released on January 11, 2019. We’ve got a ton of things working for 2019, including a TV appearance on Up Late Austin on January 14, 2019 (which will be streamed online and live on Austin television). We’ve also just been confirmed to open for My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and Curse Mackey on some of their Texas dates in May and June 2019! We’re SUPER excited about that! I played drums in a band a few years ago and we opened for TKK, so it will be awesome to play with them again.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
I’m the kind of person who believes that you should always be you, no matter what! Wear what makes you feel good and confident about yourself. Dark Beauty to me, is everything we are as humans – real emotions, darkness, sexuality and diversity. I think everyone is dark and beautiful in their own way. When I came up with the concept for the video for our song “Love High” (directed by Jeremy Ward), I wanted to feature portraits of people of all shapes, sizes and ages in a noir, sexy way. We’re all beautiful, the darkness is there to tell a story… and we have a lot to tell.
Photo Credit: Alicia Armijo and Rouge Hearts