Our Lady Peace frontman delivers poetic solo album

September 3, 2008 6:37:08 PM PDT
Raine Maida is a poet at heart. Where that poetry fits into his music has finally come into focus. Maida, frontman of Canadian alt-rockers Our Lady Peace, has ventured out on an introspective solo disc, "The Hunter's Lullaby," engaging his love of progressive poetry.

"I would say it spawned from early on when I first thought about, not being a musician so much, as being an artist," Maida said during a recent interview with The Associated Press.

"I was very influenced by creative writing early on in grade school, then poetry in high school and even in college when I started to dig into the beat poets ... it really struck me."

Beginning in 1994, Our Lady Peace racked up a string of successful records in Canada - their most popular disc south of the border was 1997's "Clumsy" - but Maida found it difficult to put his poetry to OLP's music.

"Some of th- pieces I was writing in my journal got too compromised within a specific pop song format. The pieces of poetry I was writing ended up becoming shells of themselves. As a result I learned how to write song lyrics and put the poetry stuff on the back burner."

Inspired by the recent re-emergence of spoken-word performance - notably slam poetry contributors Saul Williams and Sage Francis - Maida began his writing process with his words, and a very subtle hip hop vibe helped give his verse a rhythm he's never tackled before.

"Over the last five years the spoken word movement has been much more relevant than music for me. It got me back to writing poetry again. It gave me a new approach to making music."

Working independently after years under a major label with OLP, Maida brought an organic, acoustic approach to his home studio and relished the chance to strike out with words that would give him a feel for how each individual piece of music should help convey those ideas.

"The approach to art is usually the one factor that you either absorb and capitalize on or it gets the better of you," he said.

On "The Hunter's Lullaby," he touches on political, social and religious ideas more than he ever has with OLP. For example, "The Less I Know" reconciles adult beliefs with a strict religious upbringing, and "China Doll" is a metaphorical ballad to our fragile mother Earth.

"Just living through how I made 'The Hunters Lullaby' has become an extension of me. It's much more personal than any kind of OLP record. It's a better place for me to do it than to try and put such a personal stamp on an OLP record. There's definitely more immediacy to the music for me."

As far as fans who've come to know him through Our Lady Peace, Maida's not too worried.

"I think they've been great. I understand if musically it might go over some of their heads, because, honestly, with me it might border on pretentiousness a bit," he said. "But it's trying to be noble ... I hope that's what they connect with."


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