Paralandra is a very powerful hard rock group from Springfield, Missouri, led by the highly talented, powerful and charismatic lead singer Casandra Carson. The four-piece got started back in 2013 with the goal of creating sincere, unique music unrestricted by style or genre. The band takes their music very seriously and ensure each song they write comes from the heart, loaded with deep personal meaning that’s resonating with audiences across the United States.
Their 2014 debut record immediately got them out touring with some significant bands and then, in 2016, the song “All Fall Down” hit #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart! We recently spoke with the kind and articulate Carson, mainly about her band’s Their latest record Ascension, their experiences touring with major label acts, and touring with none other than the great Swedish guitarist and songwriter Yngwie Malmsteen.
You’ll be going on tour with the highly talented Yngwie Malmsteen this spring and summer. How did this opportunity to tour with such a long time and highly respected musician like Malmsteen come about? Casandra Carson: It was totally random how this came up. Basically, we were talking to our contact at our record label and said we were itching to get on the road again and asked if there were any tours coming up we could jump on. He said not really, but there is this Yngwie dude? And we all freaked out! (laughs) We’re like, you mean “THE Yngwie Malmsteen?” Give us more details! Got the ball rolling, and a few weeks later we were signing the contract. Pretty quick and crazy process!
Would you say that you’re feeling added pressure to give your best effort at these shows with Malmsteen, or is every gig essentially the same at this point? Carson: A little bit of both. We give one hundred percent at every show no matter the venue or crowd, so I don’t think that will change. As a guitarist, however, it’s definitely a little nerve-racking!
Check out the highly creative, colourful music video for “Killer Queen,” the latest video to be released from Ascension.
You’ve had your fair share of touring success in the past, playing with bands such as Alice In Chains, the late great Scott Weiland, Disturbed and Hinder. What do you think is the primary reason why Paralandra has been able to play so many big shows with so many big acts? Carson: We’ve gotten to play with a lot of these artists by playing festivals like Rocklahoma, Rockfest, Dirtfest, etc... but others we get to play with by jumping on as openers for local shows. We have great relationships with the venues in our area, so when we’re not on the road and someone cool comes through town, a lot of the time we’re able to jump on the bill.
One of the many great aspects of Paralandra is that you’re fronted by yourself, a very talented lead vocalist and singer. With as many great frontwomen as there are, there are those who still are not partial to female-fronted rock groups. Would you say the connection with your audience is at all different with you leading the band each night? Carson: First off, thank you! I’ve never thought about myself being different than other bands just because I’m a female. In my eyes, I’m just another person that loves to perform, sing, and play guitar. I guess me being a female could potentially turn people on to or away from us, but I don’t feel like it’s a benefit or downfall.
You’ve obviously done a lot of touring in your over five-year existence now. What’s your best “brush with greatness” type of story with regards to shows you’ve played with other significant bands? Carson: Well, we got to hang out with Sebastian Bach while we were on tour last fall! It was an off day, and he was playing a show just a couple of hours away from where we were. I texted his wife, Suzanne (she was at one of our shows earlier that year and we became friends) and she hooked us up with tickets and then got to hang with him on his bus after the show. When I told him about meeting Suzanne at one of our shows, he was like “Ohh you guys are the father-daughter band, right? Para-something?” So that was pretty cool!
Paralandra’s latest album Ascension was released on June 1st, 2018, via Legend Recordings.
Your latest EP, Ascension, was released last year. Now that you’ve had some time to reflect on it, would you say that the record came out the way you wanted it to? Carson: Definitely! It’s so nice to say that! (laughs) I mean, an artist’s work is never really “done” but I’m still really happy with how it all turned out.
Ascension was released on Legend Recordings, which you signed a deal with also in 2018. What was the primary motivation behind signing with Legend? Carson: Signing with Legend was a no-brainer for us. Our previous manager owns the label, so we were able to sign on with mutually beneficial terms. We knew that we would be taken care of under him.
Your first album, Rise Up, was recorded and released in June 2014, quite quickly after just forming the band. How did you conjure up a full-length record in such a short period of time? Carson: Wow! Nobody asks about Rise Up (laughs)! A lot of the songs recorded were written before the band was actually formed, so there was quite a bit of material to work with right off the bat. After forming, we just kept writing and ended up choosing twelve of our favorites to record just so we had something to sell at our shows. It wasn’t professionally done, so we sold about 500 copies and started fresh with our second EP, All Fall Down, in 2016.
It looks like you have a lot of shows lined up for the spring and summer and, really, into the fall of 2019. How long can we expect to see you out promoting and playing shows behind Ascension? Carson: We will be continuing to promote and play shows supporting Ascension until we have new music to release. We’re going back into the studio this summer (after this tour), so that may actually be relatively soon!
“Back To Life” was the first music video to be released off Ascension. Check it out!