[Q&A] Sincere Engineer Talks Fest, Music Videos, and N64 Games

By: Natu Tweh

Deanna Belos, the voice and face of Sincere Engineer took some time to talk about her music as an outlet and the experiences that fuel it. Last Fest I failed to see her perform, and I have been beating myself up because of that for this whole year. Sincere Engineer is a wild force, with a sound that’s sure to keep attracting fans. Her voice is raw with emotion and certainty, dragging listeners along for the bestride ever. Whether performing solo or with her band, Belos’ sound is infectious and fierce. Make sure to listen to Sincere Engineer’s Rhombithian and catch her and the full band at Fest!


Where did you get the title Rhombithian for your recent album? I don’t know if you’ve ever played the game Elite Beat Agents for the Nintendo DS, but the fictional alien race that stops all music and dancing in that game are called Rhombulans and I keep thinking that’s where the title came from!

Ooh. Haha! That’s interesting. I’ll have to look that up! Rhombithian is just a weird word I made up- to describe myself and how I never really leave a four-cornered shape on a map of Illinois. Like, I’m always in “the rhombus.” One time I was on the phone with a friend and I drunkenly proclaimed that I was “the Rhombithian.” I didn’t love it, but since I made it up, nothing would come up when you searched for it on Google. So, I stuck with it and now that the record is out, I’m assuming only stuff about SE comes up.

There is a lot of anger, pessimism, sadness, anxiety and more throughout the songs on the album. Is music your outlet for all these emotions?
Yeah, I’d say so. Music is my outlet for those feelings, plus boredom. Whenever I have nothing to do, I’m usually playing guitar or working on words.
Has music and punk rock in general helped you battle them?
Yes, absolutely. Music is good for helping you forget about your troubles. And when you find stuff that’s relatable it helps you not feel so alone.

What was the moment or the show that got you into the punk scene, and what keeps you “punking” on?
New Found Glory was my first favorite sort of “punk” band. I saw them play with Green Day in like, maybe 2005? I’m showing my age haha! I found Alkaline Trio and then The Lawrence Arms shortly after, and that’s where I’m at now. I enjoy going to shows, meeting people and stuff. Music is fun…and I never grew out of it. I think that’s what keeps me “punking” on. It’s not just a phase!!

In your song “Overbite” you mention distractions and not wanting to go to dental school. Can you talk a bit more about that time?
Sure. I actually did want to go to dental school, for most of my life. I went to college thinking that was my plan for when I finished, and I worked in dental offices to get my resume lookin’ really good. But I didn’t get in. My grades weren’t the best. One of the “distractions” I’m referring to is that I played a lot of guitar when I was supposed to be studying.

 

How fun was it to film the music video for “Corn Dog Sonnet No.7”?
Haha! Honestly, not that fun! I did it all in one weekend. I was running around like crazy- one minute of writing it out and filming it and then the next minute wiping all the mustard off. I had a gross and smelly yellow-stained towel by the end of it. Someone on the internet somewhere asked how many bottles I used- the answer is 2.

In that video, you pick up a Nintendo 64 controller. What’s your favorite N64 game?
Paperboy! But honorable mentions are Banjo Kazooie and Star Fox and Diddy Kong Racing.

What has been the funniest moment with the band?
My band mates are super funny and we all get along really well. It’s hard to pick a funniest moment, because most of them are situational and I can’t think of one off the top of my head. The dudes think it’s super funny to call me Deanna Devito. *rolls eyes*

You played your first Fest last October! What was that experience like?
It was so much fun! I’d never even been to Fest before, so it was a lot to take in. People seemed to like my set. I met a lot of really nice people!

What did you learn and what do you regret not doing?
I didn’t go to the party that was outside my hotel room til 5AM on the Saturday. I’m such a baby, I needed to sleep! But I regret it! This year I’m gonna try to hang and not be a grandma haha. I also regret not getting one of those pineapple drinks.

What are you looking forward to the most about this next Fest?
I’m looking forward to playing with my band! I played acoustic last year. While that’s fun, playing with the full band is ten times more fun. And there’s way less pressure on me, because they’re way better at their instruments than I am. I can mess up and it’s usually not too noticeable.

Finally, are you working on any new music? If so, what can we expect, and is there anything specific you’re looking to focus on?
Yes! Music gets written when I have free time, but I’m constantly writing lyrics or jotting ideas down wherever I am. So, I am working on new stuff, to answer your question. But there’s no specific focus or anything at the moment.

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