If you happen not to be familiar with the metal sub-genre Deathcore, we won’t hold it against you. Doing pretty much exactly what it says on the tin (not literally, obviously), it mixes death metal and hardcore together for a pretty noisey, in-your-face vibe. Now that doesn’t exactly sound like the sort of genre whose members dream of pop stardom, does it? Still, that’s just where Alana, who previously played keyboard in Deathcore outfit Winds of Plague, is now setting her sights.
Over the course of the year, the Pittsburgh native has been making a big impact with her unique take on pop: imbuing addictive, chart-worthy foundations with the kind of dark, high-impact sound she obviously has a soft spot for. With her first releases “Bad” and “Dancing With The Devil” setting the shamelessly angsty and rebellious mood Alana is clearly going to be bringing to bear on her music, she had us pretty excited to see where things would be going next. Well, the wait is over, because we’re very pleased to be premiering Alana’s next hard-edged cut “Black Magic” (see what we mean about that metal thing?) right here on Wonderland.
A fierce little number about the woes of a destructive relationship, the song has been given the video treatment and we’re loving it. Riffing on the supernatural portent of its title, the “Black Magic” visuals are a little bit spooky and a whole lot weird. If, in your younger, less jaded years you happened to have a soft spot for Avril Lavigne, then this track is bound to bring a smile to your face: trust us, we mean that as a compliment. Keen to find out a little more about this paradoxical metal-head-cum-pop-star, we sat down to talk inspirations, future plans, and the meaning of success with Ms. Alana Potocnick.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a musician?
I have always had the dream of being a musician since I was like..6. I formed my own girl group with my cousins (loved the Spice Girls but who didnt) to idealizing an all girl punk rock group in my early teens with my sister and best friend. I started taking guitar, piano and voice lessons very early in my life thanks to my mom which lead me to where I am now. My entire upbringing was surrounded by music in a very non musical family. I was like the odd man out but I loved it!
In a past life you were in Winds of Plague – talk to us about that and why you decided to go solo?
Yes, I grew up with a vast collection of musical influences.. from Britney Spears to a black metal band called Cradle of Filth. I mean in high school I was the cheerleader in an all black torn up band t-shrit on top of my uniform on game days haha. I loved being able to have so many different musical styles in my life. I toured with my band, put out records and have met some amazing people but I truly wanted to create what I loved to do most and that is sing. My musical evolution has lead me to what I am doing today. I feel like this represents me completely because I can combine my dark melodies and love for pop music all in one place.
Your solo music is a far cry from deathcore metal isn’t it: where did you get your broad taste from?
Yes.. it is. haha. My broad taste is inexplicable really. I can go from listening to pop to metal to country to classical etc in one sitting. I just love all styles of music, if the song is good and can make me sing along and feel a real emotion, I really don’t care where it comes from.
Who are some of your all-time favourite artists? Hands down, Britney Spears. I love a majority of 90’s artists. Throwing it back even more- Billy Idol was a big influence on my musical ear growing up. Currently I admire Grimes and her ability to make something so raw, so marketable to the ears and eyes. I also love vulnerable artists, like Lana Del Rey.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I am working on putting together my EP, another music video and piecing together a live show 🙂
Tell us a little bit about “Bad” – were you expecting the attention it received and what’s the song all about?
Bad was the first song I wrote with my producer Khris Lorenz and songwriter Davey Oberlin. We just knew when we started it that this was something special. The outpouring support for the song and knowing everyone was getting it stuck in their heads couldn’t have made me more proud because I had no idea it would do so well!
I wrote the song in a careless/on the verge of toxicity state. I was seeing a guy at the time and he had stripped me from my morals and drove me literally..bat shit crazy but I loved having the fun with him so why not just let my guard down and let the crazy out together?
And you’re set to release “Black Magic”: what can we expect from that?
Black Magic is my baby. I worked with director Cindy Clark and Khris to really make this video come to life. We were hooked on the idea of incorporating The Craft but modernizing it with a quirky odd twist. I think that it honestly may be my best song (yet). I draw a lot of inspo from TATU and was on a huge TATU kick when I wrote this. I also was experiencing what it felt like to have someone just “ghost” from my life and consistently keep trying to pop back in when it was convenient for them. Its a frustrating feeling ya know? Right when you think you are over them, they come back with some voodoo ass spell trying to lure you back in just to disappoint you all over. haha. I was a sucker even if the whole situation just spelled out danger. Don’t worry, that won’t be happening..ever.. again!
The visual is very important to you: tell us about your creative process in terms of both music and videos.
I always automatically go to verbal and visual oddities when I think of concepts. I am a weird person with a weird history and a weird perspective on many things. I love the feeling of being fully drawn into something that has a bit of mystery and darkness. I try to never give anything away directly but let the viewer/listener come up with their own conclusions.
What’s the next step for you, an album?
Yes, be on the lookout for another music video and ep soon 🙂
What motivates you to make music: commercial success or something more personal?
Making music is the only way I know how to let out my happiness, sadness, anger, and frustration. I want to help others be able to feel like they can express their emotions through my art. Its really is all I know. I pushed and pushed to further myself in the music industry since I was a young teen. I auditioned for so many bands halfway across the country just to be told that 15 was too young. But here I am now and Im still just as determined 🙂
Lastly, dream collaborator?
I love the Weeknd. If you’re reading this, know that I’m ready to work, haha!