Steven Rosen of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with STONE SOUR guitarist Josh Rand. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: "Audio Secrecy" is STONE SOUR's third album and it's truly reflected in the cohesion of the songs and the performances. The band was really on the same page for this one.
Josh Rand: Yeah, we're on our third record so obviously we're getting more and more comfortable with one another and what another brings to the band. We're just evolving as a band and people.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Part of that comfort factor was going for more of a live performance? You and Jim Root actually recorded the guitar parts at the same time? That's not an easy thing to do.
Josh Rand: Yeah, we actually tracked together for all the basic rhythm stuff which was really cool. It was something that Nick [Raskulinecz], the producer, always wanted to do but he felt it would take something special for two guys to be able to do it. And I think he thought me and Jim could do it so we thought it would be cool to try. It was more about capturing a vibe between the two of us and the drum take than us playing to a grid. That's what happens pretty much when you go in and record individually; then you have to match that person and then it becomes more of everything just being lined up to the Pro Tools grid. So it's a lot looser, the way that we recorded, and I think it makes it breathe a lot more. It's not pinpoint perfect; it just feels right instead of being completely dialed into being perfect on a grid.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Had you fine-tuned any of these songs live before recording them? Or did you learn your parts in pre-production and rehearsals?
Josh Rand: No, we never played any of 'em live; it was just pre-production and writing and rehearsals as you touched on there. We did a lot of it in pre-production though it lasted forever. The pre-production/writing process for this lasted forever; it was really long it seemed like. So we definitely were a fine-tuned machine when we actually did stuff in the studio.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: How do the guitar parts get worked out between you and Jim Root?
Josh Rand: I play more of pretty much the main guitar on everything and Jim plays the noodle guitar. When we recorded all the basic rhythms, we sat at the board with Nick facing each other and just went for it. So Jim plays more of the noodle guitar and I play the basic rhythm.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Does it get as specific as working out different voicings of a chord? You play something low on the neck and Jim will augment that with something higher up?
Josh Rand: Umm, we kinda just do what we do. He's gonna do all that ear candy stuff and it's really not, "What part are you gonna play?" We really don't do that; we kinda just know what our roles are and we just do it. I guess there's really no massive plan on any of the stuff where we need to know who is gonna do what. The only song that was like that was "Digital" and it was the guitar breakdown in the middle because it was like, "OK, what harmony are you gonna play? Which one do you wanna take: the low one or the high one?" We just had to discuss who was gonna play what.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Are you trying to push each other guitar-wise in a healthy way?
Josh Rand: Umm, I think it is from the aspect of trying to create the best song possible. Because even from a songwriting point of view, we write so different from one another. Actually, we all do that, so it's all different. And then, from a solo point of view, we play a lot different from one another. Both of us come from the school of shred and even though I can play a lot of that stuff, really, I'm a fan of making stuff sing. My top favorite solos of all time are really simple stuff like KISS "Detroit Rock City", MÖTLEY CRÜE "Home Sweet Home" and stuff that can be sung and stick with you and take you to a different place. Make a statement within the song and not necessarily just be shred for the sake of shredding. It seems to be like the popular thing these last couple years. There's very few guys that are up and coming that I think that can play from a technical standpoint and still be tasteful. Like right now everything's "My fingers can go that fast; check it out."
Ultimate-Guitar.com: "Hesitate" is one of the songs from the album that features acoustic guitars. Typically are the acoustic guitars being played by you?
Josh Rand: Well, actually on that song and several songs, Corey [Taylor, vocals] actually played guitar on and on that track that's one of the ones that he plays on; all three of us are playing guitar on that one. He played the basic, the main track on that song; I'm playing one distorted track and Jim is playing a distorted track. I'm playing 12-string electric on that track. There are so many guitars on that song [laughs], I'm trying to think. I mean, I did like three or four guitar takes on that song because there's a clean guitar; there's a 12-string electric; I did an acoustic and then the dirty guitar. Corey did clean guitar; dirty guitar. And Jim did … I don't know what Jim did [laughs.] There's a lot of guitars going on in that song.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: If you take this song as an example, are you and Jim out there doing basic guitar tracks live and then overdubbing the various instruments later?
Josh Rand: Well, we basically, when we were doing pre-production, we were recording, too, while we were doing that. So we would have those takes from what we were recording during the day and then Jim and myself would work on solos and the ear-candy or noodling guitars. We kinda had to write those over the course of the entire process from the beginning of January 'til when we were done in May. So it wasn't like all of a sudden, "OK, I've gotta put something there; what are we gonna put there?" Now, sometimes that happens moreso with Jim than myself 'cause I like to sit and write everything out. Whatever I've played on the record, I like to play live. Note for note, where he's more of an improv-type player.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: The "Audio Secrecy" record does have this darker sound to it and obviously a lot of these songs are very heavy. Do you think that your fans are looking for even heavier stuff because Corey and Jim do play in SLIPKNOT and maybe they're expecting that kind of material?
Josh Rand: They might expect it, but sorry to disappoint them, but we write for ourselves and we've always done that. We're a completely different band. What we're doing is what we want to do. If you want to listen to heavy stuff then listen to SLIPKNOT. You know what I'm saying? If it was exactly like SLIPKNOT then there would be no point in having STONE SOUR at all. It's two different things.
Read the entire interview from Ultimate-Guitar.com.