Rotating back to the real-world after an extensive two-year run on the road completing Stone Sour's 'Hydrograd' cycle, Josh Rand resumed his routine of immersing himself in his craft, songwriting with clear intent—breaking new ground and exploring new sounds. Out of that journey comes The L.I.F.E. Project, an impressive and powerful debut EP from Rand's band of the same name. Guitar Interactive Magazine exclusively speaks with Josh Rand about the project's new musical direction, his love of Ibanez guitars, the future of Stone Sour and much more.
Over the last two years, a series of events would prompt Josh Rand to make some significant professional decisions. His bandmate and frontman Corey Taylor confirmed that he would be pursuing a solo effort, effectively putting Stone Sour on an indefinite hiatus. While navigating the uncertainty of how the band would be moving forward, Rand, along with the rest of the world, would then experience an altered reality that no one could have anticipated—as life ultimately came to an abrupt halt in the wake of a global pandemic.
Faced with the pause of his primary outlet combined with the new reality of life during an era of socially-distanced interaction, Rand's respite remained: his music. Already some six months into a healthy writing regimen, Rand established a working rhythm that, come hell or high-water, was certain to proceed.
The pivot would find Rand continuing to push his creative pace as a songwriter while devising a brand new outlet that would feature his stylistic signature throughout. Accustomed to working with the kind of vocalist that is equally commanding and versatile, Rand knew he wanted to maintain a standard of a dynamic lead, while bringing something new to the space of hard rock and metal.
As chance would have it, just a few degrees of separation stood between Rand and Paralandra frontwoman Casandra Carson. Carson's beau, Jaron Gulino, performs alongside longtime Roadrunner Records A&R veteran Dave Rath - a longtime associate of Stone Sour. After a brief connection at a pre-Covid gig, Carson's talent was on Rath's radar. Aware that Rand was in the thick of songwriting with a strong female lead in mind, Rath managed to connect the dots and bring the musicians together to explore the potential.
With Rand situated in Des Monies, IA and Carson located in Springfield, MO., the Mid-West connection paved the way for creative connection that resonated instantly and was further cemented as the right decision when Rand finally heard Carson sing.
Equipped with the kind of vocal warmth and range that sets her apart from other vocalists in the space of aggressive rock, Rand began to see the full potential of his project coming to fruition and the kind of raw talent that would be voicing it. The mesh of Rand's dynamic instrumentation in tandem with Carson's powerful vocal prowess presented a unique amalgam - one that would allow the songwriter the ability to compose without limitation.
The resulting introduction of Rand's L.I.F.E. Project is a five-track EP that offers a complete presentation of the songwriter asserting his stride after more than two decades steeped in his craft. Building off of the sonic stamp he established during his six-album, twenty-year tenure with Stone Sour, Rand's current iteration holds true to his track record, without relying on it, all while penning a new chapter in his artistic anthology.
Written, arranged, recorded, and produced entirely by Rand, The L.I.F.E. Project presents an important milestone in an already decorated career - one that establishes his own identity complete from concept to execution.
Stylistically, L.I.F.E. is a fluid combination of classic metal sensibility and Rand's penchant for pushing the boundaries of contemporary heavy. From the ethereal, cinematic soundscape of the piano-latent ballad in 'Worthwhile" to the sonic sledgehammer "A World On Fire," the broad spectrum would be especially impressive as a collaborative effort, only L.I.F.E. remains entirely Rand.
Strengthened by the versatile, vocal soar of Carson, songs like "The Nothingness," "Purgatory," and "Ignite" flex an articulate side of aggression that resonates as soul-bearing in a cathartic ebb and flow that is as genuine as it is diverse. The auspicious introduction establishes a framework of a true powerhouse in the making, despite the fact that the project remains a work in progress yet to achieve its full potential.
The L.I.F.E. Project is out now on all formats worldwide.
The L.I.F.E. Project — The L.I.F.E. Project Tracklist:
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