There is a certain segment of Rush fans who would like nothing more than for guitarist Alex Lifeson to continue in the same musical direction of the iconic Canadian band that he was a member of for nearly 50 years. But as one-fourth of the new project Envy of None, Lifeson has opted to shift gears stylistically.
As it turns out, it’s not a bad thing at all — especially when he has joined forces with an extremely talented supporting cast, including Coney Hatch bassist Andy Curran, programmer / mixer / multi-instrumentalist Alfio Annibalini, and singer Maiah Wynne.
Envy of None’s just-released self-titled debut covers a wide range of sonic ground (rock, psychedelia, electronic, acoustic, etc.), with all four members contributing in the songwriting department. Physical copies of the LP are available via the Envy of None merch store, where you can also pre-order a just-announced Ukraine-flag colored vinyl single containing the tracks “Enemy” and “You’ll Be Sorry,” with all proceeds benefitting the UN Refugee Agency for its Ukraine emergency response.
Shortly before the album’s release, both Lifeson and Wynne spoke with Heavy Consequence, and discussed how the project came together, their favorite tracks from the LP, future plans, and Lifeson’s love-hate relationship with golf. Read the interview and stream the full Envy of None album below.
How and when did Envy of None form?
Maiah Wynne: Alex and Andy had worked together prior to me joining. I think Andy had a few songs that he had asked Alex to add some guitars to on a more casual level. And then about five years ago, I got in contact with Andy through a song contest that I won – and I won a mentorship Zoom call with him. And in that Zoom call, we started talking about music and I offered to add some vocals to some music he had been working on. He took me up on the offer and we started working on some songs together. After we had finished a few, he sent them to Alex.
Alex Lifeson: I just thought that Maiah added something that was very unique and exciting about the whole project. It switched from a very casual thing to a much more serious thing from that point on. And then we all got involved in the songwriting and arrangements – and the project just kind of grew. Probably in the last year, we’ve spent the majority of our time working on the project – always sharing files, never in the room together recording.
We’re not really a band. The band didn’t “form.” We’re basically four songwriters who got together to work on this project. And we have – I think – all the attributes and unity of what a band is, but we’re not really a band. We’re all independent working on this together. But that started really in 2016 – when Andy initiated the whole thing by sharing some little seeds and bits and pieces of songs that he’d had sitting around for some time. And when he asked me just for a reference for guitar – just to put some stuff on – it was very casual. I would do something and spend an afternoon putting some guitar tracks on a particular song or piece of music he had. And then I wouldn’t hear from him for a couple of months … until the next little bit came along.