“It took us six other records to figure out how we truly wanted to make records.” That might sound strange coming from Raine Maida, the singer of Our Lady Peace, one of Canada’s most successful rock acts.
The band has made plenty of massively popular discs before, so why now does he feel like he’s finally figured things out?
“We did it on our own,” he says on the phone from Los Angeles. “It’s back to the way this band begun. It was just the four of us trusting our instincts.”
Maida’s referring to the fact that he and his cohorts — bassist Duncan Coutts, drummer Jeremy Taggart and guitarist Steve Mazur — are now an indie band, after departing Sony Music in the last couple years. They produced their new album, Burn Burn, on their own, mostly in Maida’s L.A. studio, and they’re self-releasing their disc. (Though major labels are distributing the album.)
Going the do-it-yourself route was a must for the band — if they didn’t break free from their label they would have likely broken up. “If we didn’t do something like this, after what happened on the last record, I don’t know if there would have been another record,” says Maida.
The Toronto-raised singer explains that the previous disc, Healthy in Paranoid Times, took three years to make after the label kept pushing the band to produce singles. The music industry was falling apart, so unlike previous records, where Maida says the band was pretty much free to do what they wanted, this time around Sony wanted to make sure they had a big hit on its hands.
“We’ve never gone into the studio trying to write a hit,” he says. “But all of the sudden it was like we need an actual hit.”
Getting back to basics really has helped the band. Maida sounds rejuvenated, and the record is definitely an improvement over Healthy in Paranoid Times. While the band is still churning out epic rock ’n’ roll, the record is looser, paired back and more relaxed. Armed with the new disc and newfound perspective on the music business, Maida sounds certain that Our Lady Peace’s brush with a breakup is in the past. Now he’s ready to hit the road.
“We feel it’s really time to get back to that real connection with fans where it’s very visceral,” he says. “We’re in amazing place right now. In fact, I can’t think of a better position to be in.”
• Our Lady Peace’s next local date is at Virgin Fest in Oro, Ont., on Aug. 30