Planned Dilemma is a Hamilton, Ontario-based, female-fronted alternative rock/grunge quartet that wouldn’t sound out of place opening for someone like Alice in Chains or Skunk Anansie. Need proof of this claim? Well, good thing we’re debuting the band’s brand new music video for the single “Alien Eyes,” a song that has a similarly slow, dirty vibe of the just-mentioned crews. The “Alien Eyes” video follows the very recent release of the “Hollow” video; head below to check that one out as well.
Consisting of four musicians—vocalist Amina Axi, guitarist Josh Agnoletto, drummer Rob Siroe, and bassist Dan Scime—Planned Dilemma is gearing up to release their Alienize EP in September and “Alien Eyes” is its lead single. “Alien Eyes” was recorded at the band’s jam space, and mixed/mastered by Nick DiSalvia, and predominately written by bassist Dan Scime, then arranged/hashed out in a brief jam. After performing the song for the first time in February at the Canadian Wacken Metal Battle in Hamilton, it has become a staple of the foursome’s live set, appearing at every one of their shows since, sometimes as the closer.
Check out Planned Dilemma’s music on Bandcamp and, to get a better idea of what makes these musicians tick, and how this song came about, here’s a little Q&A with members Amina and Josh.
Have a listen to the two-track on the group’s “Hollow” single:
The song is called “Alien Eyes;” help us understand its lyrical content and “meaning.”
Amina: “Alien Eyes is about loneliness - a difficult emotion to cope with. It usually brings on shame and anxiety - all unpleasant, painful feelings. And so, we look for an escape - usually in the comfort of other people. We can find solace in strangers, particularly, because they don’t know about the ‘skeletons in our closet’. Still, even with them, we feel alone (not to mention a spurring fear of rejection). So, Alien Eyes is about learning to find comfort in your own company before you can truly enjoy that of others.”
Similarly, in September you're set to release the “Alienize” EP. What is the album's overall theme (if there is one) and how does it tie into the song?
Amina: “Alienize (not to be mistaken with ‘Alienate’) means “To render (something) alien.” This is something, I feel, humans tend to do to themselves. We convince ourselves we are ‘different’ - sometimes too different. And then we feel alone. So, Alienize is about finding those moments when you feel insufferably different and alone, and releasing them in emotional fervor.”
The song's video is fun and low-key. How did it all come together? (Where, when, how was it shot, and by whom? You know... give us the details.)
Josh: “We didn’t really have a set-in-stone idea for the contents of the video...we would sit around and try to whisk up ideas scene by scene, but maybe got sidetracked? Overwhelmed? Bored? I don’t know...regardless we just went out and decided to click record; whatever happened, happened...I suppose. We drove to various locations, took 2-3 shots of the band at each location, and scurried off. I think Rob joked that the video emulates a feeling of us “trying to make a video”...almost like a behind the scenes roll, but the video scenes themselves are behind the scenes, so to speak. The videographers were our good friends Phil and Afnan.”
Check out the nifty cover artwork for the “Alien Eyes” single:
The song is very stoner rock; especially the riffs. How did the some song about and how does the band feel about the tune overall?
Josh: “The song arose in a gust of wind after Dan (bassist) brought what was pretty much the total guitar-related song structure to a jam. We finished it that jam, and would then play it first at the Wacken Metal Battles in Hamilton, only then to pretty much throw it into every set from then on out. It’s a slower song, we have a slew of slower songs, however this song just gets replayed like a broken eight-track. We have never really discussed or mentioned anything about the song amongst ourselves, I suppose that it’s just one of those songs that just “stuck” with us; that we just kind of de-facto added to the repertoire without much hesitation. We don’t even know what the genre of the song is really, stoner rock inspired definitely...but is it alternative metal? Grunge? We don’t really know...we end it with a breakdown though.”
The band has said to have found inspiration from local acts such as Jailbirds and Cakeface. Can you elaborate on why these groups impacted Planned Dilemma; plus your local scene in general.
Josh: “Considering we are playing with a whole array of local acts, we find ourselves in the “hodge-podge” of it all...we bounce and reflect ideas off of bands that we have seen constantly. Sometimes one of us will fiddle about with a riff at a jam, and get met with reactions like “sounds like a Jailbirds riff” or “sounds like a No Orphans drum groove” or whichever local act we are fond of. I think a substantial chunk of Hamilton’s local emergent artists over the years have honed this common strand of just punchy, crunchy, “you get what you take” rock music...bands like The Dirty Nil and Rarity...and whether directly or indirectly because of that, we fall into a similar bin.”
Need more music? Check this one out; we wouldn’t want to leave you feeling “Hollow:”
What is Planned Dilemma's mission statement? I.e. what makes the band tick and what drives you as musicians?
Josh: “We don’t have a “mission statement” per-se...not anything that we give credence to or abide by like a scroll of morals. I guess, as cheesy as it sounds, music itself kind of keeps our noses at bay. Us four are great friends, we laugh and cry, and we constantly have ideas, musically or anything else, shooting around; life in motion. I suppose the spontaneity of the whole process itself loops us into something frenetic, something that blinds us, but we go along for the ride like a bunch of idiots. Oh, hamburgers maybe too.”