Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk (Moon Vs. Sun) The Exclaim! Questionnaire

Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk (Moon Vs. Sun) The Exclaim! Questionnaire
You might not know Moon vs. Sun, but you definitely know the people behind it. Since finding initial fame in the '90s, Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk have proven themselves both prolific and enduring, whether with their own creative projects or writing for artists like Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson and Jay Rock. Despite many behind-the-scenes collaborations over their two-decade-long marriage, the couple have never had a project that cast them in an equal spotlight. That appeared to be changing after penning "I Love It When You Make Me Beg" together — both felt they had the beginnings of something much bigger. "But five years later," says Maida, "we had nothing."
In a bid to break the creative stasis, they isolated themselves on the French archipelago of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, off the coast of Newfoundland. "That was the only way we were able to make it." Along for the ride were a film crew who not only documented the writing sessions, but also the couples therapy they underwent to help repair some of the cracks in their marriage. The resulting album and film, both titled I'm Going to Break Your Heart, chronicles their personal and professional struggles. "This is the holistic process — it's how we are as partners, as married people, parents and artists as well," says Maida. "You couldn't edit out the relationship stuff because that's what leads to the songs."
What are you up to?
Kreviazuk: Well, one of our kids is quote-unquote "sick" so we're working on that and we're getting ready for our album to drop. It's an exciting time.
What are your current fixations?
Maida: I'm fond of this artist Adam Caldwell. He just started posting works of art that are a quarter done, half-done… we have a bunch of his paintings. It's fascinating seeing the process. It's something close to our film, seeing the process, figuring things out.
Why do you live where you do?
Maida: The weather, man. [They live in California.]
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art:
Maida: Buffalo '66, the Vincent Gallo film.
Kreviazuk: That's like what happened this year, on the way to the Super Bowl — I literally cried for the poor… I couldn't handle it. The guy missed a kick, they were supposed to win and I was like, "Oh, Buffalo '66 all over again."
But this also ties in with fixation as well as mind-blowing works of art, I have been totally obsessed with Won't You Be My Neighbor?, the Mr. Rogers story. I also love the Whitney Houston documentary so much as well. Some amazing stories being told these days.
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Kreviazuk: I recently did an event for War Child — it was our second inaugural gala and Mustafa Ahmed, the amazing Mustafa the Poet, joined us. He and I had a tiny bit of rehearsal time and came up with this amazing collaboration together. I felt like it was… not that I could die after that, but that everything came together with such a wonderful meaningful purpose and that the manifestation was so beautiful.
Maida: I had to do an interview last week on Woodstock, someone's putting together a retrospective. And to have to relive it and go through it, like how crazy that festival was, Woodstock '99 — incredible music, but like incredibly short-sighted. They were charging people for water, the fact that it was on a big concrete slab in 100 degree heat, and then the fires. It was pretty wild. I'd sort of forgotten about it.
Did you play the day that Limp Bizkit played?
Maida: [Our Lady Peace] played on Sunday afternoon and left before all that stuff happened. We got there Saturday at like five o'clock and Rage [Against the Machine] played that night. You could see how there was something building that night. The next day it was Willie Nelson and us and everyone was pretty chill in the afternoon. After we left it got crazy.
What have been your career highs and lows?
Kreviazuk: I loved doing that performance with Kendrick Lamar for a song we wrote together on Saturday Night Live. Lows, I just recently had a terrible show. There's such a disparity between those high and those low moments. What you hopefully have at the end of all that is a life worth living outside of all that, that makes all that stuff be, not fleeting, but not everything, so you can move on.
What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
Kreviazuk: That was what just happened to me in Toronto! That was my worst gig of my life. This cranky old man was just mad. He did not like my selections. He was literally talking to me, telling me how much he hated my performance right there in front of me. It was uncanny. I'm not sure exactly what he was saying, but he was literally shaking his head, like "No, this is really bad."
What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself?
Kreviazuk: Well I love and hate that I'm a storyteller, because it means that I can tell a great story, but I also talk too much.
Maida: [laughs] I like that. That was very honest.
Kreviazuk: I'll tell you another trait I love about myself: I can remove my ego and actually say what's wrong.
What's your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Kreviazuk: Where we live we can have, on Sundays, no cars go by for a while. It's my favourite thing I think.
Maida: Me sitting in the gym watching our boys play basketball.
Kreviazuk: Oh babe, you're showing me up. That's a better answer!
What advice should you have taken, but did not?
Kreviazuk: If I could give one piece of advice to young me, or anyone that is talented, you have to remember that when you achieve something, it's great, but you literally just have to keep going. There's no pause after that. In a perfect world, you should be able to just sit on that and be happy and sit in the bliss of that. But the real world doesn't have time for that. You have to keep on keepin' on.
Maida: For me, it's trust yourself and trust your instincts. The only regrets I have are when I didn't trust my own inner voice: artistically, creatively, business-wise. Those are the mistakes I still hold on to. There's only been a few things.
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
Kreviazuk: I've sadly had this experience in the recent past. I'm really loyal and love my people and giving people chances: they forgive me, I forgive them, all that good stuff. But when people start to put their own self first and they're not kind, I can't handle that. I don't like meanness. You could be crazy even. I'm good with that, but meanness, I'm not down with it. If I start to feel badly in my own safe space… in my house I feel I have permission to let Raine know, let the kids know, "This is my home, I need to feel safe and loved here." So bed, home, band, that'll get you in trouble. Mmm hmm.
What do you think of when you think of Canada?
Kreviazuk: Communicator, connector, kind, decent, dignity, hope.
Maida: Passion, all the good things.
Kreviazuk: Sensible
Maida: Buck-a-beer.
Kreviazuk: Well that's just Ontario, dear.
Do you still consider Canada home?
Kreviazuk: Oh, yeah. We have our home in Toronto. So we're there and here.
What was the first LP/cassette/CD/eight track you ever bought with your own money?
Maida: Back in Black. I had it on cassette.
Kreviazuk: Mine was Rumours, Fleetwood Mac and it was vinyl.
What was your most memorable day job?
Maida: I worked construction every summer. I don't know if it was memorable. Pretty brutal mornings and long days. The thing about it was that I got to write lyrics and write songs. It was labour, so you've got a lot of time in your own head.
Kreviazuk: I don't think I loved any of the jobs before I completely got into music professionally.
Maida: Red Lobster?
Kreviazuk: [Laughs] I was a server. Also, the Tom Tom Club in Winnipeg, I was a cocktail waitress and that was great tips. And the best gin and tonic at the end of the night.
How do you spoil yourself?
Kreviazuk: I go to yoga, that's how I spoil myself.
If I wasn't playing music I would be…
Kreviazuk: I think at this point in my life, I would probably be working at an NGO or maybe medicine. I love service, I love being with people for a purpose. I love hope in progress.
Maida: I like building things. So like an architect. There's something creative about it.
What do you fear most?
Kreviazuk: My fears are more about being a mom, like that my kids don't want me around my grandchildren or something. I'm also super frightened of apocalyptic, catastrophic…
Maida: The bees…
Kreviazuk: …the ground insects, like that article that came out in The Guardian last week absolutely had me shuddering, writing emails to David Suzuki in the night.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
Kreviazuk: Well intimacy, right? If I feel really noticed in the nuances by my partner, there's a connectivity to that. Maybe it's a female thing, but feeling noticed, appreciated, watched, witnessed. That's my turn on.
Maida: A couple glasses of wine [both laugh].
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
Kreviazuk: I have this weird thing with Lionel Richie. It is so bizarre. We were in Iraq with War Child making this documentary years ago and they just loved Lionel Richie there. It was during the time of sanctions, and so people didn't really go out that much per se, and weren't drinking alcoholic beverages very openly. So we would go places and there would be a piano and two people sitting in the room and they'd say, "Do you know any Lionel Richie?" and I'd say, "Hell yeah I know Lionel Richie." And I can play anything Lionel Richie, so I'd play "Hello" or whatever. It became this running joke that Lionel Richie was like a national hero in Iraq. Then we landed and I was back in Toronto and I was on The Mike Bullard Show the first night we landed and when you get to these panel-style shows, you find out who is on the show with you that night. I look up on the wall and it was Lionel Richie. So I tell him that and he thought it was hilarious and then I tell the story on the show. And then I'll just bump into him in L.A. "It's me, Chantal, the Iraq girl," and he remembers. He is also truly the most consummate professional and celebrity. He is so charismatic and kind to everyone he meets. He's really got the showman thing down.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
Kreviazuk: Oh no my parents are very happy with what I'm doing. They saw me that way since I was a little girl. They're all happy there.
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
Kreviazuk: Oh, I always talk about this. "Both Sides, Now" by Joni Mitchell. On repeat.
Maida: I would have "Last Goodbye" by Jeff Buckley.