Interview mit Josh Rand von The L.I.F.E. Project

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STONE SOUR are taking a break, the time for side projects has come. After Corey Taylor, Josh Rand is now also releasing solo material. Why he played all the instruments in THE L.I.F.E. PROJECT himself, who his guitar heroes are and why he prefers to design his own plectrum for every show, the guitarist reveals to us in this interview.

Hi Josh, thank you so much for taking time for this interview! How are you doing and how are things going with Corona where you live at the moment?
I’m doing well thanks for asking. Numbers are down to pretty much nothing here in Iowa now. Everything is opening backup, so things are slowing getting back to normal.

In the US bands start touring again – do you think the time is right referring the pandemic situation?
I can only speak for myself but THE  L.I.F.E. PROJECT will not tour until 2022.

By the way: Do artists in the USA get financial support from the state to compensate the losses of cancelled touring?  
I’ve not received any financial support for our government.

What do you miss most about being on tour – and what do you miss least?
It‘s really easy for me. I miss going to different places around the world and meet new people, hear their stories. I don’t miss the travel itself; I hate flying.

We’re talking because you started a new project recently: THE L.I.F.E. PROJECT. Is the „L.I.F.E.“ just a way of spelling it, or is it an abbreviation?
It’s an acronym for something but I’m not saying what it stands for yet.

When was the idea for the project born, when did you start writing music?
The beginning of 2020 once I got my home studio built and after Corey informed me that he was going to do a solo album in between Slipknot records this time around.

You run the project with Casandra Carson. Where do you know each other from – did you come together about the project when you were looking for a singer, or did you have the idea for the project together?
We were connected by a mutual friend march of 2020. I knew that I wanted the new band to be fronted by a female, and after hearing her on a couple of cover songs I knew she was the one.

How did the collaboration go – is it musically a solo album of you plus her singing, or did she also contribute to the songwriting?
Musically it’s all me, lyrically for the most part it‘s all Casandra. I think it’s important for the singer to write the lyrics. They are more connected to them that way and they have more connection when they are singing them.

Your first release will „only“ be an EP – why did you decide against writing a full album right away?
We have written 13 songs but these five I felt strong about and I just wanted to get some music out there sooner than later.

Will it stay with this EP or are you already working on further material for an album?
Yes, there will be another EP or full album released hopefully 1st quater of 2022.

In this age of streaming, is an EP a very outdated format or a very modern one?
I honestly don’t know. To me it really doesn’t matter if it’s an EP, a single or full album it’s about getting your music out there.

In the video for „The Nothingness“ you can also be seen on the drumkit; in fact, you recorded all the instruments yourself. Why was it important to you to record all the instruments yourself instead of working with musician friends?
It wasn’t really my idea to have it just be me but the pandemic kind of force me to do it this way for now. This will become a full band down the road once we are ready to tour.

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How long have you been playing drums – and why did you choose guitar as your „main instrument“ at a young age?
I bounced around drums, bass, and guitar before settling on guitar when I was a teenager. I picked guitar because to can write by myself a lot easier then drums and bass.

Your guitars suggest that you are a big fan of Steve Vai while your stage style is more reminiscent of Joe Satriani. Who is your „guitar hero“?
Those guys are awesome! I think James Hetfield, Dave Mustaine and Paul Gilbert are my biggest influences.

Is the music recorded at home or in a studio? And where do you see the advantages/disadvantages of each method?
We recorded almost everything at my house. I’m fortunate to have a lot of nice gear so it’s just like being in a studio. That this stage of my career I’m more then fine recording at my house from here on out.

As far as I know you also mixed the EP yourself. What I’ve heard so far sounds damn good! Was that more of an experiment, or have you already gained experience elsewhere?
I wrote, played, produced, and engineered the EP but Josh Wilbur mixed it, he crushed it! And Paul Logus took it to another level in mastering. I’m happy on how it turned out.

You even founded your own label – where are the advantages? Surely you would also have gotten a deal…
I shopped it around to a few labels be no one seemed that interested because of covid and not know what was going to happen next because of covid. So, I did not want to wait any longer for a deal, so I decided to do things myself. It has been a lot of work, but I don‘t have to answer to anyone and it‘s on me if the outcome is not what I want. That side of this has been liberating.

The new EP comes signed and with a guitar pick – in general you seem to have a faible for signature-picks… there were literally dozens of different types made for Stone Sour. What drives you to create new signature picks all the time?
I just wanted to do fun and unique things with my guitar picks. I love making a different guitar pick for each show, it makes it special for those that catch them at shows. I think it show how i appreciate being able to play for them when one side of the pick is their country, state or city and the band logo is on the other side.

Interestingly, the picks also have different shapes. Do you have a favorite type of pick for playing?
The Jumbo Jazz is my main pick, but I use I standard shape but thinner gauge for strumming.

You sometimes also sell them as complete collections on eBay. Isn’t buying signature picks on eBay kind of cheating?
Not if you want the full set, I had 188 different picks on the Hydrograd tour cycle from 2017-2018. And there is probably only 4 complete set in the world.

Last question: What about STONE SOUR – any news referring new material or how things are going here?
We are on break. We have not talked about doing anything new for now.

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?
Last album you listened to: 
Machine Head- Arrows In Words From The Sky.
Gojira: Gojira is awesome! I’m glad they are finally getting the recognition they deserve. Mario is just a beast on drums.
Black Metal: I don’t listen to very much black metal. I respect the musicianship but it’s just not really my thing.
A food that always makes you happy: Sushi and ramen
THE L.I.F.E. PROJECT in 10 years: I actually don’t know where will be out in 10 years. I would like to think that we are still doing it but I try to live in the present and not look too far in the future anymore.

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