Interview: Raine Maida

Not every musician gets the feeling they’re launching a new band after being a rock superstar for twenty years already. Perhaps best know as the vocalist and founding member of Our Lady Peace, Raine Maida is also an accomplished solo artist with six releases to his career. In 1999 he married the also famous Canadian pop star Chantel Kreviazuk after meeting at a Pearl Jam concert a few years earlier and though they’ve both continued to carve out separate careers, their mutual talents have found success in both life and business. In their personal life, both have been strong spokespersons for War Child, having traveled and filmed documentaries in Iraq, Darfur, and Ethiopia and Raine produced a War Child Canada benefit album entitled Help!: A Day in the Life. They’ lend their star power to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, The Hospital for Sick Children and were both awarded an Order of Canada in 2014 for their philanthropy. So with a lifetime of achievements, three kids at home, and a problem finding time alone, Raine and Chantel thought putting a new show together would be the next logically step in an already packed day.  I spoke with Raine and we talked about life…

Mb: Hey Raine. Thanks for calling.
Raine: My pleasure man.
Mb: You know, I was re-calling that we had you on the cover back in 1994 with Our Lady Peace.
Raine: For real?
Mb: You’d just released Naveed and Sony hooked us up.
Raine: Use that picture, please. (laughs)
Mb: Ya, I see you have kids. I know how that ages you. And you’ve been married for 18 years!
Raine: Ya, when you start adding up the… I guess they’re life goals, it’s pretty amazing. It’s quite a ride, and what’s really interesting is that, for whatever reason, it feels like this next chapter is just starting and I’m really excited! I feel like it’s an opportunity, like being 18 or 19 again in the garage and starting a band.
Mb: And the next chapter is, you and Chantel as a band.
Raine: Ya this whole Moon vs Sun…. it’s just a really interesting time. I think it’s the right time for what we’re doing. It’s obviously a music project, but the basis of it and the impetus for starting it came from making the film we did. It’s a documentary that we were encouraged to do for a couple of reasons. We have a little film company with a partner, a friend of ours in Los Angeles and she’d seen us play live at different charity events, or the things we’ve done together and she’s like…. sometimes we talk more than we play music, you know? And she said, “You have to record this. If you’re going to make an album you need to record it because the dynamic between you two, the honesty, the rawness and the way you love each other or argue against each other,” and we do both “…is really unique and it would be cool if people got a chance to see it.” But that wasn’t really what convinced me. What convinced me was… we kept putting off the record. You know what it is, when you have kids, and OLP and solo career and whatever else you’ve got going on, it was just really difficult. Our studio’s at home, it’s one side of our house and soon as we go, “Let’s go write something” we sit down and all of a sudden you hear a kid crying in the other room or they’re fighting (laughs)… I literally said “You know what? Book a crew, book cameras because we need to go somewhere and we need to put our money where our mouth is. These people are already getting paid and we need to be there and do this.” So we went to this little French island and I think because we had all this stuff booked and the responsibility was on us, we were like “You know what kids? We’re actually leaving. You guys will be fine for a few weeks, we’ve got to do this.” So it got done.
Mb: Because you made the commitment.
Raine: Ya. For me it was a money thing. I don’t want to be out 20 grand, cameras and crew and flights. So that was it for me and Chantel, that we actually got to go do it. She’s been excited to see this through as well.
Mb: When you say you’re in a unique position, I can’t help but wonder what it’s like to share the stage with your wife, co- write the songs. I’m sure there’s talk of heartbreak and bickering about the kids.
Raine: You know what man, that’s exactly it. We’ll get into a fight backstage about something, and it’s time to go on, and we just bring it on stage. We don’t play a note of music until we get through our shit in front of people. I think that’s why people are… I see the comments. We haven’t played many shows but it’s pretty amazing. There’s a breaking down of the walls and people are going “Wow they go through the same shit we do with our relationship and our kids.” We even show some of the therapy we do in this film and 5 years ago I might not have been willing to do that. It’s really about, if you want to be a great guitar player or singer you have to work at it. You want to be a great husband or a great father or a great partner, you’ve got to work at it. So we’ve dedicated ourselves to do the work on all the levels and it’s cool. I think trying to get the best possible human experience, that’s what we’re here to do.
Mb: And you have been working hard and it cumulates in the Order of Canada.
Raine: I think that was a mistake. (laughs) Even when I was there I was like, “Are you sure?” I’ve always said, for the work we do on a activist or social-conscious level, like War Child, they all share in that award. I’m like a Monday morning quarterback. I don’t get up everyday trying to save lives, but I do appreciate the fact that it’s about bringing awareness and trying to be global citizens. We try, when teaching our kids, talk is cheap so… we just do it.
Mb: I don’t think you got the Order just for that. You two have big portfolios of work as spokes-people, artists, business people. Outstanding citizens on a number of fronts.
Raine: Ya, I’m not going to argue, but I live a privileged life. I get up in the morning. I grab a guitar, after I take my kids to school… and then a coffee. I write a song, and if I do something for War Child that night, it’s great, because it’s pretty amazing what we’re able to do. So I take the Award with a grain of salt.
Mb: I read you started your adult life studying Criminology. What happens that you change paths to becoming a rockstar?
Raine: I’d been doing music since highschool and I felt like, if I’m going to get into that business, it’s full of criminals so… (laughs)
Mb: So no solo record since 2013. Any thoughts about another record?
Raine: I think my solo stuff has transitioned into this. I don’t think there’s time to do that as well. I’d be really surprised if there was. Moon vs Sun is turning into this thing where we’re releasing the album, we have a film coming out, we’ll do a big premier in few cities across Canada, probably New York and Los Angeles as well. OLP is different. If we want to release a song, you’re trying to get four guys together, and everyone to agree, and there’s a democracy there and so it takes a minute. Chantel and I… what is exciting is, now that this thing is real we can sit and write a song in an afternoon and record it and put it out that night if we like. I think in terms of being an artist, it’s one of the most liberating feelings. I don’t know if it’s rare for most artists, but for me I never saw this coming, in terms of having another crack at feeling like a new artist again.
Mb: You both have done really well when you’ve come through town in the past.
Raine: The last time with OLP we played some park in Peterborough
Mb: Musicfest…
Raine: It was amazing. I was one of the most inspiring shows we’ve had in Canada in a long time. I loved it because it was this little stage, not really a lot of lights, and you never know what’s going to happen… it was messed up trying to get in and out of there… and I remember we got on stage and it was like “Wow. This is going to be incredible” and it was. It was a memorable night. I’m definitely excited to come back.

Raine Maida and Chanel Kreviazuk appears with Moon vs Sun, Tuesday October 23, Showplace Theatre