Hard rock band Paralandra discuss touring with Yngwie Malmsteen, performing hard rock with a positive message, their new EP, and what’s next for the band
By Emily May
Missouri rock band Paralandra have been steadily growing their fan base and creating a buzz within the industry since starting out in 2013, with a sound that has been compared to Foo Fighters, Halestorm, Evanescence and Alter Bridge. Consisting of father and daughter Casandra Carson (guitar/vocals) and Paul Carson (guitar), as well as Nick Gray (drums) and Sawyer Rikard (bass), the band was founded with the purpose of being a sincere and unique musical expression of themselves, regardless of style or genre. With a live show that is 100% live, they have been attracting and wowing audiences over the years with a polished, energetic and raw live performance that their audience will never forget. The band has performed at a variety of festivals over the years, such as Rocklahoma, Rockfest, Dirtfest, Launch and NAMM, as well as performing tours as both an opening act and as the headliner. The band has enjoyed a steady rise in popularity, having opened for bands/artists such as Hinder, Scott Weiland, Alice In Chains, Disturbed and Soundgarden. They have performed at showcases including producer David Ivory’s (Halestorm/The Roots) showcase at the Millennial Music Conference in 2015, SXSW 2016 & 2017 and Launch Music Conference 2017. They have been nominated “Best Original Band” by the readers of 417 Magazine, “Best Musical Performance” on the late night talk show The Mystery Hour and “Year’s Best Performance” by Ozarks LIVE! on KOZL, a CBS television network. In 2016 the band recruited bassist Sawyer Rikard, who replaced original bassist Josh Pool, and the band released their debut EP “All Fall Down”, which hit #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. Paralandra signed with Legend Recordings in May of 2018 and soon after released their sophomore EP “Ascension”, which contains their hit singles “Killer Queen” and “Back To Life”. Having recently wrapped up their tour with Swedish guitar legend Yngwie Malmsteen, the band plans to head to Nashville to record and plan another tour. You can follow Paralandra and stay up-to-date with all upcoming music and tour dates, as well as stream and purchase their music, via the following links. Check out their recent videos for “Killer Queen” and “Back To Life” below.
iTunes/Apple Music– https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/paralandra/919860908
You’ve had a pretty organic journey as a band so far, performing at local Springfield venues, out of state shows and showcases and more recently SXSW. What can you tell me about your journey as a band so far up to this point? Are there any specific goals you are hoping to achieve as a band going forward?
When I think about our journey, all I can think about is how hard we’ve worked each step of the way. Nothing has been handed to us, so we’ve had to bust our tails to make our dreams become a reality. Currently, our goals are to record a full length album within the next year, and continue to tour full time.
You are currently touring with Yngwie Malmsteen. As a long time fan of his, what has it been like getting to watch him perform every night?
It’s been really cool!! Hearing the songs I grew up with every night is pretty mind blowing.
You formed the band with your father in 2013 as a way to perform the songs you’d begun writing together. What led you to start writing songs together? Do you have similar styles of writing?
I think it all started from me writing by myself, then showing him what I had written, and he would give me input. This started when I was probably 13? The more I would write and ask him for help, and the more we would just jam together, it ended up becoming a very organic and normal part of our lives. We definitely have always had similar interests in music and writing, so that probably made things a lot easier! Haha.
You have said that you started writing songs seriously in the 8th grade. How do you feel that you have progressed as a songwriter over the years? What drew you to begin songwriting?
I think that, just like anything else that involves practicing, the more I write the better the material gets. I’ve had more life experiences to draw inspiration from, my lyrical vocabulary is more developed, I have a better understanding of music theory and what keys and melodies work well for my voice, etc. I don’t know that anything really drew me into songwriting, however. I’ve written little songs and ditties my entire life, and eventually that turned into actual songwriting after I got my first guitar.
Your goal when forming the band was to make heavy modern rock with an intentionally positive message. Do you think a positive message is something that is lacking in the hard rock genre? How have your fans responded to the band’s message?
I do think positivity can be more on the lacking side when it comes to heavier music. Rock and metal are often associated with “angry” emotions, but that’s not what I want to spread. I find that the majority of our fans catch on to this almost immediately just based on our attitudes and lyrical content, and are actually more drawn to us because of it.
Your live show is described as being an intentional and orchestrated show for all viewers to enjoy. What goes into preparing for your live shows and creating the experience you want for your live audience? I read that your Alive Tour was your first professional tour run as a band. What do you feel you learned from that tour?
We’re all performers, meaning we all love to put on a show and entertain. So when we’re writing a song or building a set list, choreography is just as important to us as playing the music well (which is SUPER important because we don’t use tracks). In the end, we want the audience to enjoy an experience that you can’t get just from listening to the CD.
You released your most recent EP Ascension last year, your follow up to 2016’s All Fall Down. I read that the band felt like it had found its hard rock identity with All Fall Down. In what way(s) did that EP help you find your identity as a band? What was your process like for making the new EP and do you feel you grew as a band during the process of making it?
I don’t really like the phrase “found our identity” when referring to a recording because we’ve always known who we are, what our sound is, and what our goals are. If anything, I think our producer, Nick Sampson, really understood what we were going for with Ascension, so that EP embodies who we are more than All Fall Down. The process of recording Ascension was really natural and fun! We brought about 12 songs to the studio knowing we would only record 5, so we were very prepared and were able to knock out some bangers in only a couple weeks. We definitely grew during this time, though. We had to rewrite a couple choruses on the spot, and I actually ended up writing Killer Queen in the studio off the fly, so we were still challenged to create and roll with the punches.
What can you tell me about the process of making your recent music videos for “Back To Life” and “Killer Queen”? How did you meet and come to work with Adrienne Beacco on the videos? Did you know how you wanted the video to look going into filming or did you collaborate as a band with Beacco?
Our former drummer, Nick, got us in touch with Adrienne just to do a photo shoot a couple years ago. After working together, we fell in love with her and have been using her for videos ever since! As for the videos, we had general ideas already in place when we approached her for the projects, and she did a great job of collaborating and bringing our visions to life.
I saw where the band will have some blogs coming out soon. What prompted the idea idea to write blogs and what can you tell me about them?
We have some tour vlogs coming out currently. Adrienne did these, as well. We have her on the road with us doing merch and media! We just thought it would be fun to put together a behind the scenes look at what life on the road is like (for our band anyway).
The band had the opportunity to go to the NAMM Convention this year! What were some highlights?
We got to meet so many cool people and try so many awesome products. I loved hanging out in the Friedman booth, personally. Could’ve spent the whole day in there! Of course, actually playing at NAMM was a huge highlight, as well.
The band will be headed into the studio again after tour to work on new music. What can people expect from the new songs? Do you have a lot of songs already written?
We have quite the catalog of unrecorded material, so we’re very excited to get something new out there! People can expect to hear something heavy, energetic, and melodic.
What’s next for the band?
Right now, we’re just taking one thing at a time. First, we’re finishing our tour with Yngwie, then we’re heading to Nashville to record, and then we’re looking at some more touring.