Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk Chronicle the Making of New Album and Documentary 'I'm Going to Break Your Heart'
Two decades later, the pair have each had considerable commercial success and are raising three sons together. Our Lady Peace’s nine studio albums have sold millions. Kreviazuk has six gold and platinum studio albums, as well as songwriting credits for Kendrick Lamar, Pitbull, Kelly Clarkson, Josh Groban, Drake and Shakira. Maida has co-written and produced other artists, including Avril Lavigne, with his wife.
Now they are taking 2019 to be together as MOON VS SUN, and touring and promoting a documentary, I’m Going To Break Your Heart, on the making of their first album together, which shares the same name. The first single/video is the buoyant, commitment-affirming exchange “Lowlight.”
The film -- which premiered in Toronto and screens in Los Angeles Saturday (Feb. 16) at TCL Chinese Theater and in Kreviazuk's hometown in Winnepeg March 13 -- captures the creative process while following the pair into therapy sessions with couples coach Dr. John Grey. Kreviazuk tells the doctor she feels taken for granted, while Maida claims he is doing his best.
On a trip to the isolated French island of Saint Pierre et Miquelon off the coast of Newfoundland in the bitter cold of winter, the writing sessions sometimes reveal a highly sensitive and tearful Kreviazuk and an annoyed and resigned Maida. While there are touching moments of Maida venturing out to get his wife breakfast or trying to be patient while she shops for clothes because her luggage is lost, there are fights when he calls her song idea “stupid” or she yells at him to stop jumping on a frozen lake.
In addition to their squabbles, the doc also covers the live recording of the album, out March 1, at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La Studios in Malibu. The sessions were so electric, Maida tells Billboard, “We all felt this celebration of triumph.”
In the interview with Billboard, the two come off like the long-married couple they are. They were mostly on the same page, but when they disagreed, it didn’t faze them. Turns out all is well in the Maida/Kreviazuk household -- the rough patch was a blip that yielded an honest snapshot of their lives and love.
How are you feeling about the release of such a personal documentary? People are going to be exposed to a part of your lives that you've kept to yourself.
Maida: Now that you say it like that, I’m scared.
Kreviazuk: I would call it peacefully petrified.
Maida: I justify it in the sense of to get to the music, you have to understand that part. Otherwise I don't think the music would have as much meaning. It's about collaboration. It’s about the struggle, the honesty of it. That's why the music means something. Otherwise it would just be a bunch of pop songs that no one gives a shit about. This has our lives in it.
You've worked together for 20 years, starting with co-writes on Chantal’s second album, Colour Moving and Still, in 1999. Raine, you’ve produced Chantal. You've written together for other artists. What made MOON VS SUN so different or so difficult?
Kreviazuk: After we had children, there was a lot of change. On a personal level, I know I've changed a lot. Once you have a family, it's just so flipping hard. As you see in the film, our coach says, “When was the last time you hung out?” A lot of the music we made together, if it was a solo album Raine was producing of mine, we had a deadline, we had a budget, we had responsibilities. There was real professionalism to it. But when it came to us making our thing together, that was more challenging because there were no parameters like that. And it was coming together in an equal way, compared to Raine’s producing my album [where] it's my song; he's helping me.
Raine, this has to be 50-50. Is that tough for you?
Maida: No. That was understood. The tough thing is it's a new project.
Kreviazuk [to Maida]: Are you saying “No” to what I said?
Maida: No, I’m saying that wasn’t a big deal, the 50-50 thing.
Kreviazuk: I’m saying more the dynamic of “it's us,” it’s a different thing.
Maida: I just think there's a lot of learning because we'd never written for ourselves. When you're writing for someone else, you’re not going to fight the same way for an idea that you're going to have to go sing. But Chantal and me, it was starting to become really easy to not finish it or not even start it. The movie got us going. By saying, “We're going to film this,” you hire people to bring their cameras and get on flights and fly to Saint Pierre. We can't make an excuse this time as we've done for seven years in a row because other people's livelihoods and energy and time are on the line.
Kreviazuk: Yeah, even though we weren’t doing well as a couple at that time, it didn't matter.
You could’ve done a documentary strictly about the writing and recording of MOON VS SUN and not had the relationship coach in it.
Maida: But you can’t.
Kreviazuk: No, no, no. We could have, but then you would’ve seen these people struggling.
Maida: Yeah, these songs would not mean half as much without the personal part of it and showing that. You really don't get to know much about our lives [in the film]. You just get to know that we’re real people that go through the same shit everyone else does and we’re trying to work it out.
Kreviazuk: We're trying to connect.
Maida: We’re trying to connect so that we can get to the music. If we were to edit all that stuff out, you would’ve had this documentary, but no context to the songs. It's like, “Why is he writing a song called 'I Can Change?'" Even when we were hinting at doing this together years ago, my whole thing was always, “We can't just write a record for the sake of putting out a record; we have to say something.” And the only thing that we can say is what we know as partners, as a couple.
Once the documentary is out, there will likely be unsolicited marriage advice from people.
Kreviazuk: Yup. [People] insert themselves, for sure. We did test screenings and it was phenomenal how people are so funny. They’re like, “They shouldn't be on an island where it's cold in the winter.” I’m like, “Thanks pal, yes.”
When you come back from Saint Pierre, you see your coach. Chantal says you both didn’t do the work, and, Raine, you say it didn’t go well. Was this regarding what you were able to create on that island, or did you just mean in terms of fixing the problems in your relationship?
Maida: Well, she says that she thinks I thought it went well.
Kreviazuk: Because the music was good.
Maida: And it's true. We knew, probably even in our subconscious, that going into that environment, it was going to be difficult. There were going to be those peaks and valleys. It wasn't just going to be smooth sailing. So that's why we saw Dr. John before we went, to try to get in that self-aware position. I would say if we didn’t do that, it would have gone a lot worse [laughs].
Kreviazuk: I don’t know how mindful we became because I did not do well being that far away from the kids.
Would you do this again for MOON VS SUN’s second album?
Kreviazuk: It’s different now. Raine and I, whatever that wave was, it was two years ago that we shot that.
Maida: I think you have to do something like that to start anything. If you're a start-up, you have to put in every ounce of yourself and your body and energy and passion and intellect and everything at the beginning. Once it starts going, you have a bit of that skill-set now and you can get to that place easier.
Kreviazuk: You have a springboard.
Maida: Now, we can probably start writing on our own; not on our own, but we don't have to go write it all, together, at once.
Kreviazuk: There could be more of an immediacy now to the process. Now that we've gotten underway, I think MOON VS SUN has found its voice.
Maida: The next phase of this project is starting off on a very high note.