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Raine Maida drops second solo album

Submitted by on March 25, 2013 – 8:14 pmNo Comment

After taking a brief break from solo recording to finish Our Lady Peace’s eighth studio album Curves, his newest full-length solo album We All Get Lighter is finally out. Unlike his spoken word first full-length The Hunter’s Lullaby, this record offers the listener a variety of melodic compositions and a wide range of singing styles from none other than Raine Maida, known primarily for his vast vocal frequencies. His wife, Chantal Kreviazuk is featured throughout the album filling piano tracks and back up vocals. The poetic lyrics deriving from Maida’s past experiences and the lively instrumentals make for an imagery filled auditory field trip into his psyche and personal world view. Martyr’s Devin Size chatted with Maida in Toronto about the upcoming release and what’s up next for the Canadian rock icon.

DS: The album was scheduled to be released in late 2011, and is being released now in March of 2013, what pushed the date back?

Raine: I think it was basically work with OLP. We had just put out our record called Curves, and it was just one of those ‘I got sidetracked’ things. My record was basically done, but we were really onto something with the last record, so I just took a break to work on that, now it was time to put the brakes on OLP so I could put out my own record. 

DS: You’ve worked with OLP, producing other bands, and solo work now since 2006, how do you like the dichotomy between solo work and group dynamics?

Raine: Well, I think with the solo work, it’s as free as you can be. You’re not really beholden to anyone else’s ideas, influences, or opinions. But sometimes, on the flip side, you dig that. As with OLP, sometimes I’ll have an idea, and someone will make it better. So I love both, and I’ve come to appreciate both sides. Steve’s (Mazur) guitar playing has been so insane lately, he’s bringing stuff to the table that I never would’ve thought of. They play off each other, and are different enough so that they don’t overlap.

DS: The first albums before this were spoken word, poetry to music, but this album offers a more melodic and musically inclined side, what made you steer creatively one way or the other?

Raine: I have so many songs, some musical and some of the spoken word vibe. And it comes to a point where too much is too much. Having a few poetic songs this album felt like enough, I didn’t want to feel like I was repeating myself. It comes very natural to me, but I didn’t want to overdo it. I look at my stuff as a body of work, not individual albums. That way when putting together a set list, it differs between genres.

DS: The album has an overarching theme of overcoming obstacles, clearing yourself of burdens in both life and interpersonal relationships. What does it represent to you?

Raine: It all started with this poet performing in Calgary, a guy named John Giorno. One of the last of his style, he was friends with William Borroughs, he’s probably 81 or 82 now. We hung out after the show, and to hear someone closer to the end, talk about life being so short, struck a chord. You can spend so much time searching for the meaning of life, that you miss living. The idea of just clearing yourself of all that negative baggage, with that idea juxtaposed with the fact that in life we all live and then leave this planet, the “lighter” metaphor was so profound that it really fueled the whole record.

DS: The first single off the album, ‘Montreal,’ uses a metaphor of “cold winds.” Is that representative of the good times and the bad, like a passing wind it comes and goes and the sun comes out again?

Raine: Yeah, for sure, I think that’s just life. The most beautiful things are sometime so hard to get. In Montreal, walking through the old parts, it’s just fucking stunningly beautiful. You can feel how rich the history and culture is there. But then at times it can get so cold you know? Being born and raised in Toronto, it gets cold like that in winter but not like those winds. So it’s about the hardships that you can face even in the middle of extreme beauty. I think about that in my own life. Like you said, it’s not always perfect, there’s good days and bad days. The wind comes and can take your breath away, but then the sun comes back out again.

DS: In “Rising Tide,” you provide a lot of vivid imagery, and it really connects you to the perspective of the character you’re trying to portray. What was the symbolic nature intended?

Raine: That song, actually came from reading to my three young boys, and they love Dr. Seuss. I find when I’m reading those stories to them, I escape into them as much as they do. I love the word play and the imagery. It’s based on a friend of mine, named Jared Paul from Rhode Island, another poet, and an anarchist who was arrested at the RMC (Royal Military College,) and spent a few days in jail, but eventually won this huge controversial case. He’s that guy. This really hardcore political and socially conscious guy. So in this song, I imagine him as Dr. Seuss. I haven’t told him this yet (laughs.) 

DS: Was the concept influenced also by your work with War Child Canada?

Raine: I think it reflects upon anyone who’s ever traveled and fought for something. And yeah when you look at the work that War Child does, seeing unspeakable sadness, especially involving children… You can’t help but feel like it’s not getting better, like a tide that just keeps rising. It’s an uphill battle, and although you claim these little victories, and at the end of the day, have we actually changed anything or evolved or gotten any further. When I went overseas I didn’t expect to see males between the ages of 12-18 fighting, but that turned out to be the proof of a real genocide going on. It just fucking blew my mind. Even the United Nations doesn’t view it as a genocide, yet it’s so blatant.

DS: Over the years you and Chantal have worked on many projects together, quite cohesively. Any chance of an actual full dual project together in the future?

Raine: We’ve definitely talked about it. I don’t know though. I really love how she’s featured in this new album. Although I could see that evolving even more, I don’t see us just siting down and doing a record ourselves, just the two of us. Not to say it’ll never happen, but I don’t think we’re there yet. I think the collaborations so far have been very organic. For us to force it together doesn’t seem natural. I never say never, but right now it’s not in the cards.

DS: With the new album release and OLP’s record done and out, what’s next for you? Any plans of an upcoming tour?

Raine: Well I just recorded a live video, also to be made into a live record, so we’re in the process of editing that. And we just finished and put out the actual music video for Montreal. As for touring, I think we’re aiming towards May. Hopefully we can get out on the road by then. I’m looking forward to it.Interview by Devin Size

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