Our Lady Peace – Raine Maida talks “Future Rock” & Spiritual Machines 2

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Our Lady Peace 2022

Raine Maida isn’t one for nostalgia. Although 2022 sees the 25th anniversary of his band OUR LADY PEACE‘s classic album, Clumsy, he seems far more interested in the future right now, especially where technology is taking the human race.

This may have a lot to do with the fact that the multi-platinum alt-rock band is mere hours away from releasing the sequel to their critically acclaimed 2000’s album ‘Spiritual Machines,’ a record that has become a pillar of early 2000’s alt-rock and a prime example of the band’s creative brilliance. ‘Spiritual Machines II’ serves as the answer to the 2000 LP which was influenced by inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil’s book “The Age Of The Spiritual Machines” and marks an uplifting new chapter for OLP, carving out a new genre that is best described as future rock, with each song crafted to represent the new predictions for our future as a society. 

“I feel literally the best I’ve ever felt about an album coming out and reaction a part of it is because I’m like supremely confident in the work and the songs on this album,” Maida tells me. “A lot of it has to do with Dave Sitek, who produced the record. He did seven of the songs and a good friend of ours, Jason Lader, who lives here in LA did the other three and they both did an incredible, incredible job. So it’s one of those things where man, you know, I’ve always wanted to make a record like this, but just couldn’t find the means or the ability to do it. And it just took someone like Dave to really come in and just take the reins. When we first started working, he was like, this has to sound like future rock. And I was like, exactly, like we can’t rely on old tricks. It just seemed like rock music was getting so kind of cliche and boring really. So we just let Dave kind of do his thing and you know, he’s a great programmer. He understands rhythms so well, makes them simple, but interesting. He’s a major modular guy, so he’s just plugging and unplugging things and making these really interesting, you know, sound designs. And he just has an extensive, like crazy selection of vintage keyboards and stuff. So we just let him go, man. We gave him like the bare bones of songs and he just helped them live up to everything we kind of had in our head.”

The first ‘Spiritual Machines’ wasn’t a typical mainstream rock record, it had anthemic guitar hooks next to literal predictive modellings addressing a future dependent on AI and the legal rights of computers. Raine stated: “Twenty years later, ‘Spiritual Machines’ predictions have mostly come true, 86% to be exact. Now, new predictions must be made for the future — and with groundbreaking advances in technology, there’s reason to celebrate.”

Speaking about Ray Kurzweil, Maida says, “He’s a brilliant man, but part of it has to do with wanting to say, hey, this would be great to do again. I’d love to know what the history teacher predictions are for the next 20 years, especially knowing that we’re getting much closer to singularity, you know, where you can’t tell the difference between a human being and a machine. I think that’s obviously a very profound watershed moment for humanity that is literally coming up within the next decade. So then everything else you kind of talk about is really big concepts. You know, you talk about a UBI, like a global universal basic income. That’s really interesting what that does for poverty. The way technology can do much more than humans in terms of helping climate change. There are just some big concepts in there that are really cool.”

Our Lady Peace’s vision of the future is far from a dystopian viewpoint. The topics on Spiritual Machines 2 often focus on the way technology can improve the world we live in. Maida says that was something he felt the record definitely benefitted from.

“I think it was a combination of a bunch of factors. One, we were stuck in a lockdown, like it was dark enough doing that. We felt like the record needed to be a little bit brighter. I think working with Dave, the way he looks at rhythms. Everything’s a little bit more poppy and I don’t mean like pop music. I just mean it pops a bit. It makes you kind of tap your foot. It’s not a dance record by any means. There are no songs that are four-to-the-floor, but more dance like a Gang Of Four or Talking Heads vibe. You know, he comes at it from that angle which we all appreciate and love. So that was a lot of fun. Ray’s outlook on the world is far from that dystopian kind of scorched earth, you know, that we get fed by media and film and television, right. That’s what sells. I think we all get that. But the reality is he’s an internal optimist, and he sees technology as it has now. Whether I can, you know, if my neighbour has a baby that’s born, that’s deaf, she can get a cochlear implant in her ear. Again, that’s pretty amazing. And I can get food delivered in 20 minutes if I want with Uber Eats. So technology serves us all and I think he just has always seen it as a proponent of good. There’s always a downside to it as well, but you know, more or less, Ray’s really optimistic. So all those things coming together, I think made for probably one of the brighter OLP records we’ve ever made.”

Watch the full interview with Raine Maida below, where we also chat about 2022 touring plans, how they plan to bring a hologram on stage with them, and how he feels about Clumsy after a quarter of a century.

Spiritual Machines II” is released everywhere on Friday, January 28th

Interview – Steve Gerrard

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