What do Avril Lavigne, Babymetal and Paramore have in common?
For starters, all those acts play some rock music derivative: pop-punk/post-grunge, Kawaii metal/J-rock and alternative rock/emo, respectively. Secondly, women take centre stage in each one of them. And lastly, they’re all RinRin’s most important influences.
If you haven’t heard of RinRin yet, it’s high time you jumped on the bandwagon. And I did you a favour here by asking her a few questions about her creative journey in the heavy music scene.
If you’re a fan of alternative metal and modern rock combined, RinRin’s May 2023 tour announcement should be right up your alley. The 20-year-old singer-songwriter from Western Australia is a rising star in her respective music department. But it didn’t just happen overnight.
She started showing interest in music at a pretty early stage, with guitar as her instrument of choice since the beginning. And she didn’t have to wait long to put her self-taught technical abilities to practice.
Already at 13, RinRin joined her father’s cover band. Later, she became part of a Perth emo-rock group called Love Me Natalie.
Those first experiences helped develop the young musician’s stage presence and resulted in her desire to express herself individually. So she took to writing her own music and released the debut single, “The Game”, in July 2020. More songs followed in 2021 and 2022.
Having listened to heaps of rock and metal in her early years, RinRin managed to craft her unique style within those heavier genres. This unrelenting infusion of pop-punk, alternative, nu-metal and J-rock quickly gained attention online, garnering over 350,000+ Spotify streams to date.
She’s also been noticed by the local indie music scene. Her second single, “Seek The Truth”, was placed in the Top 10 on the Amrap Metro Charts and the triple j Unearthed Metal Chart. No wonder – RinRin’s infectious, raw melodies feature exhilarating fretwork, vibrant synths and a groove-oriented rhythm section bolstering her powerhouse vocals.
Having established herself as one of Perth’s finest alt-metal acts, RinRin has performed alongside Redhook and The Plot In You. As a live act, she’s backed by her Super “Kuya’s” [a Filipino expression meaning “brothers”]: KR Arguelles, James Judges and Lawrence Lozada. Together, they form an energetic team of talented musicians delivering stadium-ready pop-metal.
But it turns out that rocking out on stage hasn’t always been RinRin’s territory. So I quizzed her about it when she said “yes” to the interview.
Silly McWiggles (SM): Do you think of yourself more as a guitar player or vocalist?
RinRin (RR): Both. Although, being the lead vocalist was something I didn’t aspire to from the start due to my extreme shyness. That inner rage to sing started when I started writing my songs. I have no choice but to sing them now.
SM: Okay. But let’s talk about playing the guitar first. Do you have a favourite technique or style?
RR: I love how J-Rock music is so technical with the riffs, and I thought I would love to have that in my songs.
My first-ever guitar teacher was really into punk and rock songs as well. So I guess it built the foundation of my existing style. I like to play filthy riffs and cool solos.
SM: Right. So which guitar brand would you like to collaborate with on your signature model one day?
RR: Although I’m not really a gear gizmo, I feel I would love to collaborate with Ibanez. I’ve had a PRS Orianthi signature guitar since I was 10. And I’ve always dreamed of having a RinRin signature guitar one day. I would just die of happiness.
SM: So how do you approach writing songs? Since your music is very guitar-driven, do you start with a riff or melody first? And when do lyrics and vocals come in?
RR: Music writing, for me, is centred on what ideas come to mind. It can be an idea of what I see, hear, feel… Then, something will just pop into my brain. My cellphone is handy in that regard. I will type words and poetry, record hums of melody, and then rush to my laptop and start to program the drums in Logic Pro.
There’s no structure really to start with. It can be an intro, part of a chorus, or a verse… Then I will build everything around where I started: synths, drums, bass, guitar, and vocals.
SM: You mentioned in one of the interviews that you bring nearly finished songs to the studio. How big is your backlog then? Are there many songs waiting to be released?
RR: I have around 20-ish demos consisting of roughs, music, and crappy vocals almost complete and ready. Then, I have three songs ready for single releases for this year .
I actually have a limited edition vinyl-only song collection “Anthology 1 (2020-2023)”. It contains all my already released music plus four unreleased tracks. (By the. way, kudos to Stiffcut Records from Brisbane for having put it together.)
SM: You’re also into online gaming, right? What game do you reckon your music would be a good soundtrack to?
RR: I feel games such as Valorant or similar will fit with my “happy” metal songs. I actually wrote something that is specifically made as a soundtrack for a gun finisher for this game. If I were to write a song for their upcoming Champions skins, it would be that.
I also started getting into this game called Hellsinger. It’s a first-person shooting rhythm game. And I thought it would be cool if I could play to my music on it. They do a lot of heavy music on it, so I thought it’d be perfect.
SM: And on that note, all the musicians in your family happen to be men. And you’re also one of the few female artists in your chosen genre. Do you find it difficult or tricky to be a woman in the heavy music department?
RR: As a female in a male-dominated genre (I mean metal), it is challenging. Tradition will always expect vocal belting, screams, and bleghs (lol)… Like, you know, metal is metal kind of thinking.
I also worried that people wouldn’t take me seriously. I really admire the women who trod the path for the likes of me.
I love this thing, and it’s what gave me something to start with. I can see now that someone out there loves what I’m doing, so I will keep on doing it. Hopefully, the little ripples can create something as we go.
SM: Speaking of being a trailblazer, you were one of the featured artists who performed at BIGSOUND 2022, the biggest Australian showcase event. It is quite an achievement. What was that experience like?
RR: WOW! As in – it is life-changing. Being new to the business and starting as if you had nobody around you, being there was like being myself around my community. I never felt appreciated in my life by the people who matter in the business before.
But then, when the dust settles, you are confronted by the reality that there is still much work to be done.
SM: Okay, so since you’ve been recording and performing as a solo act for nearly three years now, what’s been the biggest lesson learned so far?
RR: A few things.
Like, work harder and never stop trying… If it doesn’t feel right, let it go… Appreciate the people who genuinely support you… Family comes first… Always stay true to yourself and never stop reinventing a better version of yourself… Success is never a walk in the park… Focus on the clear path and not on the obstacles… Got his from my dad haha.
SM: And finally, you’re going on tour soon. What’s the best part of playing live? Do you enjoy it more than recording songs in the studio?
RR: Touring, for me, is the icing on the cake. I love travelling with my band and doing shows. I definitely enjoy performing live more than recording. Seeing people enjoy my music makes me really happy.
And I think it helps with my confidence the more I do it. Because these days, my natural shyness on stage “grew up” into FEAR. I kind of I hope I die in the looming minutes of my show, and everything will just black out. It will take me a second to switch into someone else once I’m in front of the audience. Then everything just happens, just like that… no transition or overcoming it.
So after BIGSOUND, I’m really keen to do my first-ever tour back in the East. I can’t thank the team at Qona Creative enough for offering us this opportunity. We actually did the band coaching program of Steven Cannatelli last February in Perth, and we are excited to hit the road with guns blazing, hopefully, haha.
And what’s even more exciting is that we get to share the stage with Inferiority Complex and Live Like Animals, and the rest of the amazing supporting local bands. It’s gonna be wild!
RinRin is set to perform in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in May 2023. The ‘Protagonist Tour’ is presented by Qona Creative. You can get tickets here.
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