Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida need no introduction to most Canadians. As individual singer/songwriters—and in Raine’s case his additional body of work with Our Lady Peace—they have earned nearly every accolade their country can bestow, including a joint appointment to the Order of Canada for their efforts benefitting humanitarian causes. But ask them what their greatest success has been and they’ll tell you it’s their 20-year marriage and three sons.
They will also tell you that, like almost everyone in a long-term relationship, maintaining that bond has been a struggle at times. Their advantage is the musical bond they also share, which from the beginning produced songs for their own projects, and hits for other artists such as Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that they decided to embark on an entirely new creative path that would see them fully collaborate for the first time. As they seamlessly blended their musical identities, the pair dubbed the project MOON VS SUN and slowly amassed a cache of songs that expressed their thoughts and feelings in a uniquely honest and intimate way.
Live shows followed, and by 2018 the time had finally come to gather everything together and put it all in perspective. The results are an 11-track album – I’m Going To Break Your Heart: Music From the Motion Picture – along with a documentary film and more, which presents Raine and Chantal as no one has ever seen or heard before. “This is such a personal project that we deliberately wanted to do as much of it ourselves and not have any outside forces influence it,” Raine says.
Chantal adds, “That’s basically why it took so long. We didn’t even tell a lot of our industry friends and associates about it until it was pretty much finished. That helped to keep the process feeling natural, which was really refreshing for both us, not having to talk about what we were doing with other people.”
However, she quickly notes with a laugh that they still had to talk to each other. After several years of recording under their own roof, the pressures and distractions brought on by that prompted the couple to temporarily get as far away from their normal lives as they could. Their destination was the French island of Saint Pierre et Miquelon off the south coast of Newfoundland where they completed the bulk of the album and film, and also ultimately reconnected under the extremely isolated conditions.
Raine and Chantal are obviously aware of the risks inherent to opening themselves up as much as they do on I’m Going To Break Your Heart: Music From the Motion Picture, but whatever tension existed is now confined to the songs on the album, such as “Who’s To Say,” “Under The Stars,” and “I Love It When You Make Me Beg,” the last actually being one of their first true collaborations, written long before the idea of MOON VS SUN crystallized.
“Our relationship dynamic is a part of the music, you can’t have one without the other,” Raine says. “I think we surprised ourselves when we wrote ‘I Love It When You Make Me Beg’ because it captured a part of that dynamic without us really trying. That might have put us off doing more for a while because we knew we’d have to keep writing at that level.”
With that thought in mind, the album’s nuances come into sharper focus, particularly on the celebratory first single “Lowlight.” Its opening line, “You said we’re too young for dying, but we’re not kids anymore,” can be interpreted almost as a mission statement—trying to figure out which direction to take next on life’s journey. However, both Raine and Chantal see the song as a bridge between the album’s darker aspects to the hope that arose out of surviving those periods.
Describing “Lowlight”’s conception, Chantal says, “I was half asleep on the sofa when I heard Raine working on this beautiful melody. It made me hop up and get to the piano, and start adding this chant that immediately popped into my head. As the song developed, it became, for me, a metaphor of our creative partnership. We like to bounce off each other’s light—which I suppose is the best way to describe the meaning behind MOON VS SUN.”
A key track for Raine is “I Can Change,” which he says is also the key to the film. “You can see that song being conceived, written and recorded all in a little hotel room on the screen. I still can’t believe that happened. It’s what every artist strives for, and that’s why we do this, to capture some kind of magic. And to have it all on film makes it even more incredible.”
The knowledge of that elusive magic being within their grasp at any given moment is really what is driving the couple right now, and they’re hoping to generate a lot more of it for audiences during their upcoming tour. Chantal understands how fortunate they are to have this additional dimension to their relationship, and both want to see how far they can go within it. “I think every couple has to have that special thing that connects them, which of course doesn’t have to be music,” she says. “If they don’t have it, then the pressures of daily life and kids makes things really hard. I hope that people might get inspired in that way by what we’re doing, because I think when Raine and I play music together, we’re at our best.”
This doesn’t mean that either of them will abandon their individual musical pursuits, but they do acknowledge that the experience of making I’m Going To Break Your Heart has brought about a fundamental change moving forward, one they are more than happy to embrace. “For five years, all of this was just a fantasy for us,” Raine says. “Now it’s tangible, and when we write songs together, we know there can be a purpose to it. And part of that is also having something for our kids that can give them a better understanding of who we are. That’s a good feeling.”
Chantal agrees, saying, “I do think that this has set us up for the rest of our lives, as people and musicians, and that’s the best part,” she says. “Whenever I might find myself on stage again without Raine, I know it’s going to feel weird.”