August 24, 2021 Interview – Chantal Kreviazuk & Raine Maida Talk Music and Life
It is said that time brings wisdom, and with wisdom we earn a deeper understanding of one another. Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida have been together for 20-plus years and are still going strong. Individually accomplished artists, Kreviazuk as a singer-songwriter who has released a list of highly-charted albums, and Maida as the powerhouse vocalist of Alternative Rock heroes Our Lady Peace, now they unite in a different way for their project Moon Vs Sun.
Born from the ambition to create something unique as a collective musical unit, Moon Vs Sun gifted audiences their album I’m Going To Break Your Heart, along with the documentary film of the same name, on April 23, 2021. Individually compelling, the music demonstrates the special bond between the two songwriters, while the film inspires you to seek a deeper connection with the one you love. A once in a lifetime opportunity that changed their perspective, Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida recently took the time to talk about the story behind Moon Vs Sun, the experience of being filmed, the importance of communication, future plans for music, and more.
Cryptic Rock – Both of you have been involved in entertainment and music individually for quite a long time, and you’ve both had success in your own right. Before we go any further, tell us how would you describe your careers in music, individually?
Chantal Kreviazuk – I got to sort of keep my soul, is how I would describe mine; I didn’t have to go so far away from my purpose. I think it actually really allowed for me to be able to slip into this project with my husband really easily. I can’t think of anyone offhand right now, but you can imagine other couples in entertainment, if they’ve been very opposite, it’s hard to imagine them coming together. But I think for myself, anyway, I’ve stayed pretty true to my authentic self and I think that has been a real gift. I don’t have a reason that that happened, just that’s what I was compelled to do and be. I’m really grateful for that in my artistic career.
Raine Maida – My career has been like being in a maze. It’s been trying to find a way…
Chantal Kreviazuk – Out. (Laughs)
Raine Maida – …out, but the slow journey through a maze. I think with a lot of artists, especially when I’m talking about my band, it’s so easy where you make a record, you have success, and you kind of rinse and repeat – or you try to. We’ve never done that. With that, it’s always been like trying to take a left turn. I think at the end of the day, it’s all led up to this. Which is really interesting, because when we make music together, it’s like the light just goes on and I feel like I’ve made my way out of that maze; because it’s one hundred percent authentic, inspiring and it is one hundred percent…
Chantal Kreviazuk – Meaningful.
Raine Maida – No, not meaningful.
Chantal Kreviazuk – It’s not meaningful? (Both laugh)
Raine Maida – There’s more. It just has that element of purity and art. When I think about that maze, it’s because it takes awhile to get out of there. It takes having success, having records of songs that don’t do well, different management, labels, all those different things. And with all that wisdom you end up in this place where I’m out of the maze, and music with Chantal and Moon Vs Sun is made for the purity of the art. It’s so enlightening to get into that space.
Cryptic Rock – It’s interesting to see what has led both of you to this point where you have this project together. What has inspired you to do this project at this time?
Chantal Kreviazuk – Because Raine and I had been on this sort of parallel track as separate artists, there have been opportunities where people have asked us to play something together over the years. Usually what we end up doing with that is we hop on stage, and Raine plays the guitar while I’m doing one of my songs.
Raine Maida – We did a lot of charitable events; we just do things.
Chantal Kreviazuk – And then we would say, “Gosh, could you imagine if we had a song of our own together that wasn’t us covering a song? Actually, a song of ours.” At some point we decided we wanted to be a project, we wanted to be a band together. We were really into Sage Francis. Raine had introduced Sage Francis to me and there was this song called Sun Vs Moon. Raine said, “What do you think of us being called Moon Vs Sun? I said it was beautiful.
From that there was this one evening that we wrote a song, very quickly and it was so much fun – it was called “I Love It When You Make Me Beg.” In that moment we decided if that was the first thing we did, this was really going to be child’s play. Then every single time we would try to focus on Moon Vs Sun, it was hard because we had small children, had our separate careers, and we were tired. So we just decided that if we film it, if we isolate, we’ll be accountable, the project will get done, and goddammit it did! (Laughs)
Raine Maida – But that was the only way. I don’t think it would have happened five years ago or 10 years ago. I think we had to accrue this baggage and partnership, as parents, as artists.
Chantal Kreviazuk – As failures. (Laughs)
Raine Maida – Yeah. And then you finally see, you know what, I think we can finally do this and do this successfully rather than maybe make it be the end of us. Which probably could have happened earlier.
Cryptic Rock – That is interesting. You mention you had that one song, and now you have a whole bunch of songs together. It is really quite good. You also have this documentary film. What was it like writing and recording this music together?
Raine Maida – It’s a culmination of all that work. I actually am a big Malcolm Gladwell fan: I don’t know if I believe in ten thousand hours exactly, but there’s something in that. It was the freedom that we’ve been doing – let’s just feel the song – and that’s how we made the record. It takes work, it takes time to get there, especially the way modern music is made. It’s very old school, but it’s very pure that way.
Cryptic Rock – It works well. Now you have the film and it pretty much documents making music and your travels. What was that like? You really let people into your personal lives. Did it feel intrusive at all? How did it make you feel?
Raine Maida – I really wanted to document it because I knew it was going to be a special kind of journey and you only get to do it once. I got to make a record with my wife. We have three boys and they’re going to get to see it and probably learn a lot from. I was really excited to just document it.
Chantal Kreviazuk – I’m really excited about something called editing. (Laughs)
Raine Maida – I don’t really think we knew what it was going to be, but it’s not a typical doc or reality show where people follow us around for a year. It was, literally, we were on that island for a few weeks. We didn’t record every minute. We just said, “We’re going to work now, we’ll turn the cameras on.” It wasn’t intrusive at all and I think part of that was friends that were doing it with us; it was two cameras, it wasn’t this big thing. It would be interesting to understand what people think when they see a film like this. It was so indie and small.
Chantal Kreviazuk – It was informal.
Cryptic Rock – It felt very personal, you got to really look into your lives and the creative process as a unit. You two have been together now as a couple for many years…
Chantal Kreviazuk – Actually 25 years together now. Nineteen years married at the time we made this.
Cryptic Rock – Wow. So you have experienced a lot together and you have grown together. Do you feel like making this film made you stronger? It seems like there was pushing and pulling a lot of the time in the film with the creative process. Do you feel like this made you stronger as a unit? More open to one another and made you know each other better?
Chantal Kreviazuk – Yes, and I actually think it would be great for every couple to be taped. Just the same way a coach makes the team watch back the tape of the game or practice… you can’t really argue with tape. It’s “this is what happened, and this is how it makes me feel, let’s not do that again,” or “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that that’s what I do. Okay, you’re right. I don’t need to do that anymore.” You can actually grow from that a lot. I think we did that, and I think it has actually proved to potentially be one of the most therapeutic things we’ve done as a couple.
Raine Maida – Yeah, it was pretty valuable.
Cryptic Rock – It is very personal. Watching it, it will inspire you to want to open up to your partner a little more; it sparks something inside you to want to connect with them even more.
Chantal Kreviazuk – Oh my gosh, that’s really meaningful to us.
Raine Maida – We definitely didn’t have any intentions other than documenting this journey, but when we hear things like that it’s really satisfying because I think that’s what we learned, as well. It’s really just about getting closer to each other and communication skills. It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent, a partner or artists together, you need that. You just want that shit to be easy, and it’s not because we’re all different people. But, once you kind of crack that code, you’re just a happier person. Well, I’m not really… kidding. (Laughs)
Chantal Kreviazuk – We didn’t want to preach or teach anything. What we did want to do, as storytellers, we wanted to honestly share. It’s “this is what is happening now, from here to here.” But, of course, it’s edited, but that’s the footage that exists; that’s what happened and because it’s real life…
Raine Maida – There was nothing dramatic. People get freaked out, saying why are you guys showing this?
Chantal Kreviazuk – People said, yeah, you should divorce him (Laughing)
Raine Maida – But nothing happened: no one threw a chair, no one had an affair, or drugged out in the bathroom. It’s tame stuff, to be honest.
Chantal Kreviazuk – (Laughs) Yeah, no one even got hammered. No one ran through the snow naked, no one humiliated anyone else. But people got an insight into their own isolation, their own loneliness in their marriage, their own struggles within the concept of coupling. Which, without saying it, we’re holding it up there for people to say, “What is this? Why? What are you doing?” All sorts of different questions come out from different people and solutions.
Some people saw amazing solutions in the “Do You Know How Much I Love You” acronym that Raine painted. Raine and I have had that in our lives since we go engaged. Just randomly, that’s been a tool we’ve had. Now people are leaving each other those notes and it’s helping their marriage. It was just us telling our story. Raine and I are progressive and we’re really open people. I think maybe that’s the biggest lesson that we can take away: don’t be scared, be open to the possibility that you don’t fucking know everything, and you might need a little help. (Laughs)
Raine Maida – Yeah, really, but it’s all through the music. What we do as a couple is collaborate and that’s what we do as artists, as well. And that’s the trick, it’s figuring out how to collaborate well.
Chantal Kreviazuk – It is about how to harmonize.
Cryptic Rock – If people have not heard this album or seen this film yet, they need to; they are really going to enjoy and learn from it. Could we expect you two to hit the road in support of this music at some point?
Raine Maida – Yeah, this is great. The film’s awesome, the album’s awesome, but what happens live is a total extension of that. It’s kind of like these things on crack, because playing together is so inspiring and fun. There’s a lot of energy there, but then the way we are on stage together is like nothing I’ve ever done before.
Being in an Alt Rock band, I just tend to be more insular and more obtuse and it’s kind of just this machine. This is such a dynamic thing. There are shows we play, and sometimes we’ll talk for 20 minutes and people don’t throw things at us. They’re engaged and they dig it, and I love that aspect of it. As an artist, it’s how do we tear down this barrier with music, and it’s hard with just music. It’s usually when you stop and talk to an audience that you feel like those fences start to come down and you’re one. But, with us, it’s like it happens right away.
Chantal Kreviazuk – It’s instant.
Raine Maida – We’ll go on stage in a fight, and we’ll have to work it out before we start playing music.
Chantal Kreviazuk – I’ll stop Raine. “Do you know what he just said back there?” He said, “Is that what you’re wearing?” All the ladies will say, “Nooo, Raine, you don’t say that.” (Laughs)
Raine Maida – Yeah, we find the audience lets their guard down right away. Then, as musicians, the experience is so much more realistic.
Chantal Kreviazuk – You feel so supported.
Raine Maida – It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
Cryptic Rock – It will be exciting to see you do some touring and support of this. You mention how you are parents, plus you have your main projects – how do you manage it all? It’s so hard raising children alone, so how do you manage it all?
Chantal Kreviazuk – All I can say is thank god two of them have only two more years of high school. I do really feel that up until this point it’s been a struggle. Raine and I, we’re a well-oiled machine.
Raine Maida – But I don’t think we’d have it any other way. It’s a struggle but…
Chantal Kreviazuk – I’m not complaining about it, I’m saying that it is getting easier now.
Raine Maida – Now one of our kids is an artist and we fight to get in the studio. We fight to get in here and make music now because he wants to record.
Chantal Kreviazuk – Yeah, it’s a different time now. When it was super challenging, Raine would go away, and he would try to figure out the quickest route home so he could make it home to drive the kids to that thing so I could fly for my thing. It’s always really been this really crazy schedule. But, you know, we made it. We did it. I think we did the hardest part, and it is possible.
Cryptic Rock – That is a challenge for any working parent, of any kind.
Chantal Kreviazuk – That’s correct.
Cryptic Rock – Because you want to be there for your children, you want to be part of their lives and you want to make them feel like they are part of your life.
Chantal Kreviazuk – Yeah.
Raine Maida – Yeah, and it’s important to note that when we say it’s a struggle, it’s not a struggle like someone’s that’s working three jobs; those are the struggles. This is like a carnival.
Cryptic Rock – Understood. What else do you two have going on right now?
Chantal Kreviazuk – I actually put out two albums during the pandemic, how crazy is that? I put out a holiday album just as the pandemic was starting. Then I put out another solo album, Get To You, during the pandemic, which is different too. Normally I would have gone out on tour for that in some major markets, but it is what it is. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t change releasing music anytime because that’s what you do. You manifest as an artist and, for me, I wouldn’t be living. I’ve even had to figure out how to perform a bit during this pandemic. Online, a couple shows out there, I had to. The music will never stop.
Raine Maida – I think, as a creator, that’s what you do. Our Lady Peace has the follow up to Spiritual Machines (2000), so number two, Spiritual Machines 2, is coming later this fall. I think the good thing is they don’t compete. Moon Vs Sun is so different from what OLP does, so there’s no competition there. Again, as a creator, especially these days, these times, that’s what our mission is and we can do that.
We don’t get stuck in album cycles anymore. Obviously with COVID, where you put out a record and you go tour for 18 months, and you don’t put anything else out till you get back in…it’s not that anymore. We feel like writing something and putting it out. I think that even with Moon Vs Sun, once this record’s out, it’s like we planted our flag in the earth, we’re a thing, and now we can really go and do our thing. There’s no rules anymore, which is pretty liberating for a creator, I think.