Want nothing | Alex Lifeson finds his muse

Four years after the end of Rush and two years after the death of his drummer and friend Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson is back in the saddle. At 68, the Knight of the Order of Canada and member of the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame could have chosen to take it easy by playing golf – he loves it. But the music called him to order to bring him where he was not expected, in the daring wake traced by the young singer Maiah Wynne.

Posted at 9:00 a.m.

Pierre-Marc Durivage

Pierre-Marc Durivage
The Press

Before we begin, a warning is in order: Envy of None is not the reincarnation of Rush. “On the contrary, it’s really liberating as a project,” replies Alex Lifeson when asked if he had difficulty getting rid of the old reflexes acquired within the Canadian squad for 45 years.

“It belongs to the past, and I live in the present, it’s perfect like that. And I also think it allows me to be more of a songwriter than I used to be when I was mostly just hitting big chords – maybe it’s also because I’m less of a guitar player these days. ! “, maintains laughing Alex Lifeson, Zivojinovic of his real name.

Lifeson certainly has no less talent, but he now puts his instrument at the service of a resolutely modern rock, hovering, with assertive electro touches, to which is added a little post-prog edge to define the general atmosphere. .

Without too many expectations and from a distance

A pandemic project if ever there was one, Envy of None took shape entirely remotely, on foundations laid without too many expectations a few years earlier. “I met Andy Curran [bassiste et producteur] during a virtual tutoring session that I had won in a competition, explains Maiah Wynne. We talked about the music industry, I had tons of questions to ask. That’s when he showed me some songs he was working on, I offered to sing some lines, it was a very genuine collaboration from the start. »

In fact, the pieces Curran proposed had first been tinkered with guitarist and programmer Alfio Annibalini, with Alex Lifeson adding a few guitar lines here and there. “I did this with Andy just to give him some references,” Lifeson tells us. It was just a nudge given to a friend, there were no plans to make a record out of it. But when Maiah arrived, the project took a completely different turn, it really changed what we had started to create. Everything started then, we started to write in a serious way, everyone wanted to participate in the project. »

That’s how Alex Lifeson himself added a few songs he had in the bank – including western sunsetinstrumental folk ballad written in tribute to Neil Peart, who died in January 2020 of brain cancer. All these beautiful people worked on different parts of songs, sent virtually.

It was great to see the ideas fly like that in all directions, we could take turns building on the ideas of others.

Alex Lifeson

“We had the freedom to work individually from the ideas of another, but we also managed to feel what each had in mind, continues Alex Lifeson, so well that we could dance with the writing of the others, in managing to play with our differences. It allowed us to grow, it was really energizing. »

Far from being intimidated by musicians of such stature, Maiah Wynne on the contrary felt supported throughout the process, so much so that it is her warm voice that defines the essence of Envy of None. “Music has no age or parameters, no matter what our influences are,” says the 25-year-old American singer. We drew from euro pop to country, I had so much fun exploring different vocal universes, with all kinds of harmonies and textures, it’s like I was dancing with the guitars, c was truly inspiring. »

After almost 50 years of career, Alex Lifeson says he has found his muse.

Maiah’s voice is unique, her performance towers over the music. It doesn’t matter if it’s country or industrial rock, there’s always something going on when you hear his voice.

Alex Lifeson

The next natural step would be to see and hear Envy of None on stage – the musicians have never played together to this day. “You can’t plan too much,” says Alex Lifeson. If the record goes well, we will definitely think about doing shows. Otherwise, we will stay at home and we will make another album! »

“If you want shows, buy the record! “, recommends with a sneer Maiah Wynne.

Desire for nothing

Desire for nothing

Desire for nothing

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