Fort Lauderdale, Florida plays home for one of the more intriguing metal factions you’re likely to come across. Queen Dementia, formed in 2009, is a trio that manages to couple modern metal elements, ala Tool, with gothic influences in the Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation mold. While the group’s inspirations can be found layered throughout the Queen Dementia sound, they definitively have their own sonic signature.
The fact that they can bring such a wall of sound to life as a three-piece is impressive enough, but the lyrical content and depth shines equally bright. Frontwoman and bassist Alanna Vilane (Queen Lana) has a background in psychology and rather than take the typical lyrical track, she digs deeper into topics which range from delving into the inner turmoil of the psyche, to issues of politics, religion, and the human condition.
Vocally she draws on influences as varied as PJ Harvey and Maynard Keenan to create her own unique and emotive vocal delivery: A voice which can be at once poignant, feral, and haunting. The triumvirate of her talents can be found in the rhythmic soulfulness of her groove and rumble bass performances, and the ethereal and ambient nuances of her keys. Leah S. Pritchett of Outloud Magazine hailed her as, “One of the finest front women I have ever heard.”
Married in metal and love, husband Joseph Vilane adds the band’s dynamic guitar attack. He manages to combine thick memorable riffs, with soaring solos and uncanny, even diabolical chord progressions.
Balancing it all out and cementing the foundation for Queen Dementia is the band’s newest member, drummer Jav. Behind the kit, Jav takes no prisoners. His stick and skin work combine driving rhythmic precision with triturating beats.
In 2012, Queen Dementia released their official, debut music video “Condemned”. Offered Alanna:
“Condemned is an introspective look into the psychology of blame, the importance of self-responsibility and a statement about the fact that our seemingly trivial thoughts or actions affect the world around us. It is an abstract representation that conveys a message, yet leaves much to the imagination.”
This week we caught up with the Queen to get a little more insight.
How did you get drawn down the path to music and how did you choose bass as your implement of destruction?
“I started singing when I was 6, so I have always been drawn to music. I actually picked up the guitar as a kid but didn’t stick with it and much later on, I picked up bass. What I love about bass is that throbbing bottom end that makes everything in a room vibrate and as a listener at a live show, makes one’s insides shake. I love that! I liken it to the human heartbeat. Additionally, I find so much pleasure in creating harmonies with the guitar melody. As a vocalist, melodies and harmonies come easy to me. That’s how my mind works. This makes writing bass lines very enjoyable and playing a creative experience.”
“Some of my faves are Justin Chancellor (Tool), Jeff Walker (Carcass) and Robert Trujillo (Suicidal Tendencies and now Metallica).”
Any other female bassists that impress you?
“I always thought that Sean Yseult, White Zombie’s bassist was bad-ass. I like her style and she has attitude.”
What equipment, set up do you use?
“I have several basses and often enjoy utilizing different basses for different songs since they all have a unique sound of their own. My main electric basses are a 4 string ESP F-414 FM, 5 string Schechter Diamond Series Damien-5, and for 6 string, I use an Ibanez SR706 with Bartolini pickups. For amplification, I use a SVT-7 Pro Ampeg head accompanied by an Ampeg Classic cab. I love Ampeg’s sound and quality. For wireless transmission, I use a Line 6 G30 relay system.”
“Yes, I do have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. I feel that my interest in the human mind and the human condition has largely shaped the person I am today, which consequently often translates into my music and lyrics. Lyrically, although fairly abstract, the themes are usually statements; dark but with a positive twist or ending to the story. I explore subjects such as the human condition, loss, politics, religion, and emotions. I am grateful for my education and for the experiences I have had, for I believe that listeners can relate to what I am expressing which is what music is all about. If I can make that human connection, I have done my job well.”
QD released its second EP last summer, what’s on tap next for the band?
“Currently, Queen Dementia is planning for a full-length album to be recorded this summer, looking for gigs outside of South Florida and seeking management/label support. We want to be everywhere from branding to touring. We are looking for the key players who will be instrumental in getting us to the next level. In the immediate future, you can expect a full length album that will top our last EP.”