Interview mit Casandra Carson von The L.I.F.E. Project

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Recently we had talked to Josh Rand (Stone Sour) about his new field of activity THE L.I.F.E. PROJECT. In this second interview, we talk to singer Casandra Carson about her contribution to THE L.I.F.E. PROJECT, but also about her actual band PARALANDRA.

In the US bands start touring again – do you think the time is right referring the pandemic situation? Are you planning any shows with PARALANDRA as well?
Yes, I think the time is definitely right. Most people are fully vaccinated now, and are clearly starving for live music. We’ve had a massive increase in attendance overall this year. PARALANDRA has continued to play shows at least every weekend, and we also have some touring around the US coming up at this end of July with Yngwie Malmsteen and Tantric later this year.

How are things going with that band in general? If I’m informed right, you have recorded an album recently? How was it going, especially in those times of the pandemic?
PARALANDRA is going great! Better than ever actually. Like most bands I would say, we used last year (2020) to write as much material as possible, and played anytime we had the chance, while following safety restrictions of course. And yes, we recorded a new album back in March with the legendary producer, Elvis Baskette! It was an incredible experience. We were pretty much locked down in the studio that entire month just because we had so much to do, so it honestly wasn’t too much different from the rest of the year.

What can we expect from this album, what will it sound like?
You can expect to get a full course meal of PARALANDRA! This album I would describe generally as melodic hard rock. There are tons of heavy riffs, sick guitar solos, and catchy hooks and melodies. I’m super excited for everyone to hear it.

But lets switch to an release that already came out now: The selftitled EP of your new project THE L.I.F.E. PROJECT. How do you feel about that, how does it feel to hold this release in your hands?
It feels amazing, like an incredible accomplishment, and also just surreal. It’s just crazy that Josh and I only met a little over a year ago, and fast forward a quick trip around the Sun later, and we’ve released an EP! I really put my heart and soul into this and gave it everything I had to make it great, so the feeling of holding it in my hands now could be described with one word, “Woah”.

There are many different versions, Vinyl, CD, tape, stream … which was do you prefer for listening music?
I hate even saying this, but obviously streaming is going to be the easiest way to listen to music, so that’s what I use the most often. But I really enjoy listening to music on vinyl! It always sounds more natural, like what the songs are supposed to sound like.

Josh told me that you were connected by a mutual friend march of 2020 – could you tell us your part of the story? How did TLP find together, and how did it feel to start a project with Josh Rand from Stone Sour?
Yes! I always like to give full credit to my boyfriend, Jaron Gulino, for opening the door to THE L.I.F.E. PROJECT for me. He plays bass for the bands Tantric and as of recently, Heaven’s Edge. Dave Rath, who also happens to work for Roadrunner Records, plays drums for Heaven’s Edge. So, Jaron being as supportive as he is, was showing all the guys my other band PARALANDRA. Dave knew that Josh was looking for a female rock vocalist, and paired us up via email almost immediately. One month later, we were writing songs together! My job was dropped then and it still is now.

As far as I know, Josh wrote the songs and you most of the lyrics. What inspired you here, what was your idea for this EP lyricwise?
Yes, I wrote all of the lyrics and vocal melodies. I didn’t have a set lyrical direction for the EP in it’s entirety. I was really just taking it song to song, and trying to come up with lyrics that matched the music well, and also meant something special to me that could also be relatable to the listener. I took a lot of inspiration from the world in its current state (2020), personal experiences, and family’s experiences.

I’m highly impressed by your voice on this record, it’s an amazingly powerfull female rock voice. It sounds also way more „rocky“ then on all PARALANDRA-songs I’ve heared so far. Did you just work on those songs with a different approach, or you evolve your voice in that direction and the next PARALANDRA songs will have the same style of vocals?
Thank you very much! In the past, I was definitely working on my vocal techniques and getting to where I am now as far as range, tone and “gravel” goes if you will, but I’ve also worked with a few producers that didn’t want me to sound like a rock vocalist, they wanted me to sound like Kelly Clarkson. So I do kinda wish I could re-record some of those songs in the voice I hear it being sung in. But of course, that’s how I always sing live, and they can’t take that away from me! In fact, when we sent Elvis all our song ideas for the PARALANDRA album, we sent him videos of us playing and singing the songs live. He was very supportive and encouraging of how I wanted to sing the songs, so you’ll definitely hear that “rock” voice in our next release.

When did you start singing, and what’s your advice for every young boy or girl that would like to become singer?
I’ve been singing my whole life and making up songs for as long as I can remember. If I could offer any advice to an aspiring singer, it would be to practice your craft every single day, and to treat your voice like the unique, priceless instrument it is.

In PARALANDRA you play guitar besides singing – why did Josh play all the guitars on the L.I.F.E. PROJECT?
Josh had already written all of the guitar tracks when he sent me the songs, so there really wasn’t much else I could add to it. I hope I get to contribute on guitar in the future though!

Will you play guitar when it comes to playing live with TLP – or are there already names for the lineup of the live-band?
As of now, we don’t have a full lineup, but we do plan on putting one together for our live performances. I think I’m going to start by just doing vocals, just to get comfortable with performing the songs since we’ve never really played or rehearsed together, but I do plan on playing guitar live as well eventually.

Josh told us, that new material is already in the making, and that an album is planned for early 2022 – are you already recording, or whats the status here?
Yes, we are currently writing for the next album, and we will probably begin recording sometime this fall!

Thank you very much for the interview. Let’s wrap it up with our traditional brainstorming – what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the following terms?
Your favorite female vocalist of all time:
Lady Gaga
The last album you listened to Plastic Hearts – Miley Cyrus
Gojira: Heard of them, but haven’t listened to their music yet
A food that always makes you happy: Anything chocolate!
Black Metal: Unicorns
THE L.I.F.E. PROJECT in 10 years
: Hopefully we’re still writing music and maybe even touring the world!

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