By: Jessica Nakamoto –
On their own, Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk are platinum-selling artists, multiple Juno Award winners, acclaimed songwriters, and appointed members of the Order of Canada, the nation’s second highest honor for merit. But together, they like to think of themselves as simply husband and wife.
Recently however, this power couple have been up to a little more than just their everyday roles as loving parents and world-class musicians.
Traveling over 3,000 miles from their Los Angeles home to the remote island of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Maida and Kreviazuk began a journey that put both their collaborative skills and relationship itself to the test. But the pair remained as strong as ever. And upon departure from the frozen French territory, the two emerged with not only the basis for their first album together as Moon vs Sun, but with a film packed full of the ups and downs of their collaborative process.
The name of both Maida and Kreviazuk’s debut record and film documentary, “I’m Going to Break Your Heart” tells a personal journey of growth that’s equally touching and surprisingly relatable. In other words, it’s a perfect watch or listen for fans and couples alike.
Yet, these recent endeavors seem to be just the beginning for this adventurous duo. With hints of continued Moon vs Sun projects as well as the upcoming release of their first podcast “The Together Space”, we were excited to speak with Raine and Chantal about their new music, film, marriage tips, and more!
To start things off, I heard Moon vs Sun just finished up a very successful Spring tour! What was it like to get back to Canada and play all these new songs live?
Raine Maida: It was amazing! We actually stripped it down, so it was just Chantal and I. I think it was a keynote of the project to start off like that. There was a certain intimacy about it. And given the fact that we grew up on stage, it wasn’t necessarily avoiding being hampered by a band,but having the ability to say all our dialogue and do our crazy shit on stage and not have people just kind of sitting around behind us, watching us, which sometimes is a little uncomfortable. So, it was very pure! (laughs)
For sure! I just got a chance to watch your documentary, and that kind of intimacy almost seems to match the original atmosphere. Especially the scene where you played “St. Josephine” to a small crowd. The audience really got into it!
Maida: Yeah, it was fun! On the island, there really weren’t a lot of people. We were there during the winter. But all of the local musicians kind of hung around. It was a great experience!
Jumping back to your recent tour, was there anything, maybe for you Chantal, that stood out about this run?
Chantal Kreviazuk: Yes! I’ve had myself alone on a stage for many years, so, it was really nice to have Raine with me. And not only to have the experiences on stage, but off stage with him. Some of the peripheral stuff throughout the day, like a partner to work out with, or have dinner with.
Maida: It’s funny. It was kind of like… (both simultaneously) a long date! (laughs) We literally rented a SUV and drove from show to show on our own. Even that was fun! We just plugged in our iPhones, made playlists, listened to music, and did these drives across the prairie. I loved it!
Do you ever get flashbacks when you’re performing on stage of the specific moments you had when creating all these pieces?
Kreviazuk:That’s a really interesting question! Actually, I don’t. Although the meaning of the words remains. It resonates.
Maida: For me, there’s a really great energy around the songs. Not specifically remembering moments, but just the way some of them were created. And, I think because we’ve watched the film, we’ve been applying a lot of our own process, seeing how we came up with these ideas. Because, you don’t really think about it when you’re writing songs or filming. But, to watch it back, after the fact, it helps imprint it on your mind in terms of thinking “ok, those were really great, creative moments”.
You almost relive them live, in a sense. Every time I play “I Can Change”, I can just feel that hotel room. I can get a sense of the way that song was written. That’s pretty special! Most of the other songs in my career, I kind of forget how they were done, but because it’s on film, we get to keep reliving it.
With the success of the film in capturing those special moments, would you ever venture out and do something similar for one of your solo projects? Or Raine, for Our Lady Peace?
Maida: Not like this. You know, I think the only reason this works for us is because we were in agreement that we were going to be honest about it. So, I think once you bring in other people…I mean, (jokes) I could do it with my solo thing, but I’d be fighting with myself in a room, not very exciting! (laughs) But with OLP, I don’t know if everyone would be comfortable showing that kind of stuff. And I don’t blame them. It’s different when you’re a married couple. We’re solid, and can be each other’s protector. So, there’s not as much risk.
I agree. One of the special things about the documentary is how personal it feels! Given the sense that the documentary is an open book of sorts, do you think that it brought you closer to your fans in addition to one another?
Kreviazuk: Certainly! The fan response, so far, is really rewarding and meaningful. There’s another level of connection there for people because I think they find themselves in the film. It’s relatable to them. So, there’s definitely a deeper connection that’s being made as a result of that. It’s just a really meaningful project that way.
Maida: Yeah, I think the fans get to see a side of us, that maybe, they’ve only seen a glimpse of before. It’s like an Instagram post where you get to know this person a little if it’s very candid. But this is on another level.
It is very snapshot though. The film is just a couple weeks of our lives on this island. It’s not like you get to really know our kids, see our house in LA, or what we do day-to-day. It’s about music. You just get to see the personality of how we create and the process of us as a couple. And you can’t really take that out. It’s such an intrinsic part of the way we write music, how we go about it, where the music comes from, and that we did this together.
You mentioned that filmmaking is a different, more in-depth process than say posting a picture online. Did you have to adjust to having the cameras around all the time or was that an easy thing, being stage performers?
Kreviazuk: No! (laughs). The crew was small and super professional. They really knew what they were doing. It was more like flies on a wall, you know? It wasn’t an intrusion.
Maida: It wasn’t for a year like most reality shows or some documentaries. It was probably a total of two and a half weeks shooting. So, like Chantal said, not an intrusion at all. And, the main camera guy, Mike McLaughlin, who’s a friend of ours, has shot videos for me before. So, they weren’t strangers by any means. There was a lot of trust there.
To shoot the film itself, you travelled to Saint Pierre, a very chilly, but beautiful location. Even though you were far from family and especially your kids, do you think that this is something they’ll look back and reflect on when they’re older?
Maida: I think they’ll see that no matter what, it’s work, right? Our relationship and our communication as partners, that takes work. Then collaborating as artists, that takes a lot of work as well. You have to go in and have intentions that are going to get you what you want, but also know at some point, when you say the word collaboration, there’s going to be compromise.
And that’s kind of what life’s about. So, I think it’s a metaphor in itself. Even though we never say it, you see that lesson. It’s kind of in the film on a bunch of different levels. That’s what I hope they take away. Just getting that communication toolbox is pretty important in life.
Kreviazuk: Yes! Peaceful you know…not a dictatorship style. Non-violent communication is something we can all strive to for the betterment of society. Everyone’s mental health, whether it be at the workplace, home, or school. We can all use a brush-up on some techniques and take advice from the experts!
Maida: I think the mental health aspect is really big. Just knowing that we have three boys, there’s a component of them seeing Chantal being this really strong woman. And in our relationship, we’re trying to find that balance and equity.
It’s something that’s definitely metamorphosizing in this culture right now with all the movements going on. Being a male, you’re asking people to remove triggers from the past generations. Our kids, I guess they’re Gen Z, have an opportunity to kind of grow up without those same roles that you see in movies which are only ten years old. All those clichés. It’s like, “let’s get rid of that shit”. Hopefully they can grow up, like what Chantal said, in a much more peaceful, harmonious, and balanced world.
Kreviazuk: A thoughtful world.
Yes! It’s definitely an evolving environment. And I think films like yours are at the forefront of changing people’s minds.
Kreviazuk: And, changing people’s way of thinking!
Art is kind of that place isn’t it?
Maida: Art is a great place for it! You know, at the same time, we didn’t go into the film to do that. It’s just an honest part of our journey right now and what we’re striving for. What we’re trying to get better at. (jokes) I chose this instead of learning how to try to fix a car! (laughs) I’ve got to fix myself first!
(Laughs) Got it!
You had said your original intent wasn’t to prompt change, but to make music. This reminded me of the song you did together around five years ago. “I Love It When You Make Me Beg”, was in some regards, your first collaboration. How do you think this track differs from the rest of your album?
Maida: That song is still the barometer we always use for what the feel or color should be in terms of what Moon vs Sun ought to look like. You know, I look back on it and it’s like a mini miracle in terms of the way that was written, how fast we did it, and the fact that we were able to actually make a record! It took five years from the writing of that song to filming this documentary and making an album.
But that song is the theme, and it still feels very new today which is pretty special. There’s something timeless about it which I just love!
I see! What about you Chantal?
Kreviazuk: Well, for me, it’s still a toss-up! It is a really special song for sure, but I really like “I’m Going To Break Your Heart”!
Maida: Better than “I Love It”?!
Kreviazuk: I don’t know, it’s a toss-up! (laughs) Which hey, there’s nothing wrong with having two songs on an album that feel like a privilege to have in your repertoire! We go on stage and I’m just in heaven every time I get to play either of those songs. I’m in the nice, happiest, eureka moment possible.
So, it’s fantastic that “I Love It When You Make Me Beg” came and kind of mugged us the way it did. It gave us this amazing opportunity to move forward with a palate, if you will, as artists together. I think Raine coming from the background he does and me coming from my background, we really did need that first leap, to feel like we had a sound together. It’s really great that the song came into the world as it did!
With this springboard, along with the album you just put out together, are there any future plans for more collaborative works on the way?
Kreviazuk: It took a while, but now that we have Moon vs Sun as an entity, we can dip back in whenever we want to. We needed this first. It kind of reminds me of when you have a baby and then you get pregnant again. Everything comes back pretty easily, but that first pregnancy is pretty hard and laborious. So, yeah! I think it’s going to be something that is available to us now on a whole other level.
I heard that in addition to the album and documentary, you have a podcast called “The Together Space” in the works. Where are you in the process with all those other elements?
Maida: Yeah! The podcast is actually the main factor with Moon vs Sun, just to keep everything simple. We’re going to launch it next week, which is pretty exciting!
The first season’s pretty much done, it’s eight episodes. We just talk to other couples that collaborate together. The first episode is with the co-creators of the Netflix hit show, Big Mouth. They’re a really talented couple in Los Angeles that have been writing for…
Kreviazuk:…for forever! (laughs)
Maida: Yeah, for tons of shows! They’ve written and directed films, but in a weird way, 25 years into their marriage and their career, they have this massive show on Netflix that is incredibly cool. Their story is amazing…we’re hardly in it. They just tell their story. It’s fascinating! Just a bunch of interesting couples like that. I’m pretty excited to get it out there and see what people think.
I’ve just gotten into listening to podcasts so, I’ll definitely check yours out once it drops!
Maida: Cool! Do you have a podcast?
Not personally, but our magazine has a couple going! I love listening to what other people have to say and their experiences in life, so I’m looking forward to yours!
It seems like speaking to other couples who’ve made a big impact together, must have been inspiring. Do you think this gave you any insight into your own relationship or did you learn anything about each other in the process?
Kreviazuk: Yes! It’s nice to hear how other couples see the world together. I loved listening to Mark Levine and Jennifer Flackett, the co-creators of Big Mouth, because they sort of touched on why it was important to them to work together from the beginning.
Their thing was sort of like, “hey, we really love being together. We’re married. We want to hang out. So, let’s work together!” I thought “wow, that’s really beautiful”. Just imagine how good they are at the art of compromise. It was really a privilege to listen to them and their love on display in our home studio. It was so inspiring.
That’s actually something that stood out to me about you both! You compromise and put the work into the relationship but you still have very touching moments.
How do you find and keep this kind of positive constructive momentum going, especially after coming back from talks with Dr. John or those special secluded moments seen in the film?
Kreviazuk: I think it’s like anything, right? The challenge is, to keep up the practice of collaboration, artfully, masterfully, taking the advice that we’re given. Keeping to the book a little bit. You’ll see in our film, there’s four or five really great nuggets, if you will, of advice or tools to add to the skillset of being a couple. A couple that collaborates or doesn’t.
Whether you’re making music together, working together, or not, you’re partners, taking on life together. You have children or whatever it is. There’s no denying there’s going to be a need to communicate and compromise, and do it well. So, in the film, there’s amazing learning opportunities. And Raine and I are just like everybody else! If we don’t follow the very advice that we’re displaying in the film, we’re going to be vulnerable and susceptible to these pitfalls as well. So, there’s a bunch of great tips in there.
Also, when we did the podcast, we interviewed Harville Hendrix and his wife, who are the writers and co-authors of the book, Getting the Love You Want. It’s one of the most successful marriage coaching books ever written. They’re the premiere gurus on the planet for marriage coaching and just from interviewing them, they added another wonderful tip. A layer to their program is to not be negative with your partner for 30 days. You don’t give suggestions or criticisms. Instead, you just, in your head, think “oh, that was that moment I would have done that”, and don’t do it!
There’s all sorts of scientific evidence that this changes brain pathology and creates safety. Not unlike the first two years of your life where you’re a completely trusting baby. There is really neat stuff that you can continue to learn about and grow by it. I’m curious, I love to learn. And I like to share with Raine. If he can stomach it and if I’m annoying, that’s ok! He’s had enough and onward we go.
At incremental rates where it’s comfortable for both people, you should find something. It could be as simple as a signal word. Remember to touch each other, remember to give an affirmation before bed or throughout the day. Set an alarm, bring a flower, bring a candy bar. Remind the person that you think they’re good and that they’re lovable, that you love them, and that you think they’re smart or funny. All this stuff that we forget. It’s good stuff!
Definitely! I was just reading about different love languages and things like that. It kind of falls into line with what you’re saying as well, so good advice all around!
Kreviazuk: Thank you!
To wrap up, would you both like to try a couple fill-in-the-blank questions?
My favorite vacation spot would be…
Kreviazuk: Yes, we love Italy.
One song on my summer playlist is…
Maida: “Tokyo Summer” by the Mounties.
If I wasn’t a musician, I’d probably be a…
Maida: I’d be a builder.
Besides my instruments, something that I always take on tour is…
Kreviazuk: I sometimes take my watercolor pack and paint!
Maida: Recently, I take a one wheel. It’s like an electric skateboard but it’s better. Actually, it’s like an electric snowboard for concrete!
Last one for you guys! One hobby you may not know that I enjoy is…
Kreviazuk: Gardening. I like to go out and plant stuff here and there. And pull the weeds!
I’m Going to Break Your Heart is now available to stream on Crave here.