Canadian metal solo artist Billie Rogue aims to “break the norms of metal and look cute while doing it” with an intriguing, diverse sound that Billie describes as “anti-elitist, genre-fluid, BadBitch.”
The Toronto-based, Philippines-born singer, songwriter, musician and producer has honed a sound that embraces industrial, electronic rock, synth pop and metal elements. And she’s enjoying a growing reputation for her genre-fluidity, stage presence and androgynous vocals.
Billie tells us: “As far as I know, since I was 8, I knew I was going to be a rockstar. Billie Rogue is me at my most confident, flamboyant, eccentric self. She’s also a Bratz doll.”
The first step towards that was releasing debut single We Belong To The Skies in 2018, which was a melodic death track or, in Billie’s words: “It was a very melodic song; I was really just another metal act who was inspired by melodeath… I just didn’t have the band for it.”
That all changed the following summer by forming a hardcore / extreme metal band called Anakra, which went stagnant when the pandemic hit. Instead, Billie started focusing on a solo project, which was also having a bit of an identity crisis despite being in the early stages of writing an EP.
As Billie explains: “I wasn’t sure how to separate my solo music from Anakra: I didn’t want it to be the typical ‘soft sad-boi solo project,’ and at the same time, I didn’t want it to be the same music as my band because really: what is the point of that? One fateful day I was just listening to Head Like a Hole and it was a whole epiphany because I’ve always been fascinated by electronic music AND I have a deep-seeded nostalgia for the early 2000s (which explains my visual aesthetic).
And if you really want to try and explain the sound that’s been honed since, in Billie’s words: “What happens after industrial, metal and synth-pop have a threesome (and has a fetish for cyber Y2k style). Depeche Mode meets Nine Inch Nails meets Bjork meets Korn meets KMFDM–has a one-night stand with Ladytron who hooks up with Royksopp who marries Slipknot who’s having an affair with Rammstein. I don’t know how else to explain it. But moral of the story is: I like these bands a lot.”
Our latest taste of this is brand new single Lulladie, which was released today and is one of Billie’s heavier, more metal-leaning tracks. It opens up with chunky guitars and booming drums in a heavy intro. A darting little riff jumps in and supports Billie’s gruff screamed vocals over chunky industrial drums.
The sound of record scratching comes in and continues as we’re taken into a more melodic, engaging but still intense chorus. The pace drops after the chorus with drifting electronic noises, then a light guitar lick is replaced by a wall of huge guitars and drums under guttural vocals, which feed into another chorus. The intensity continues with driving drums and guitar chords take us to the end of the track. Check it out in the stream here:
That follows the intriguing previous single you let me go, which opens up with electronic drums and lighter, echoey vocals. A heavier guitar riff kicks in as the vocals intensify in a chorus “You let me go, You’re out of time, You let me go, You’re out of time, Move on, Stay still, And let your predators take you.”
It drops back into a more laid-back verse that explodes back into another engaging chorus, which drops into electronic noises. Light vocals and chunky instrumentals burst into huge repeats of “So I’m leaving it all to you” over more intense guitar chords to bring the track to a close. Give it a listen here:
Those two tracks follow a series of singles over the last three years and Billie’s debut EP Eclectric, which was released earlier this year. Eclectric marked somewhat of a departure from Billie’s “acoustic metal” sound by taking us to a more electronic industrial place fused with electro pop and metal, which gave birth to her “genre-fluid” sound.
The EP includes Pursuit of X, which personifies Billie’s shift to a more industrial sound. It opens up with deliciously heavy guitars and drums, which flow into an engaging verse and chorus. The industrial elements remain throughout as more electronic elements jump in. Give it a listen here:
And all of that follows on from debut single We Belong To The Skies, which features heavy guitars contrasted by Billie’s engaging vocals and a melodic, laid-back, dreamy chorus. Check it out here:
The Billie Rogue sound has been influenced by a wide range of bands and genres, including Depeche Mode – especially Songs of Faith and Devotion Era – Nine Inch Nails, some Puscifer, A Perfect Circle and Bjork (Post and Homogenic era). Honourable mentions also go to would be Korn and Jonathan Davis, Slipknot, Linkin Park, KMFDM, Gorillaz, Royksopp and nu metal generally, which Billie (like us) is loving the revival of.
And on what inspires her to write music, Billie tells us: “Usually, back then, it was emotions – but I’m so tired of that. Nowadays, I love to write about confrontation and try to aim for more mature, coming-of-age philosophies. For example, Pursuit of X was about pretentious, fake ambition you’d often see in social media, constantly losing your identity to that mud and then trying to find a true, more authentic purpose for yourself. Effigy was written about a fractured sense of self and how, on occasion, I can be an asshole.
“One of the next singles I’m working on is actually a gothic, vigilante horror story. So, I really try to make my topics diverse because I’m so sick of writing about angsty emotions and want to show a more interesting and mature side to the metal/rock n roll world. I’m already mentally ill. I don’t want to write about depressing, mentally ill things. Instead, I’m going to be that flamboyant beacon of hope for the fans and shit.”
There’s plenty more to come from Billie Rogue, starting with some music videos and visualisers then looking forward to live shows. As Billie tells us: “I’m still looking for the right director in my city to do so because if you look at my website or socials, my graphics have a very specific aesthetic and I haven’t found the right person to represent that yet. Other than that, I’m working with a DJ for my live gigs and will be releasing more singles throughout the year and next. I’m only getting started betchesz.”
And on what the future holds, Billie adds: “Just here to piss on the gatekeepers ’cause I’m breaking the norms of metal and look cute while doing it. In the future I wanna see moshpits and raves taking place at the exact same time because of my music. Welcome to the Rogue-a-Verse, you don’t need a visa.”
Image rights: Alice Hirsch