Our Lady Peace
It took 1165 days to complete, but for Our Lady Peace bassist Duncan Coutts the wait was well worth it. After spending roughly 2,000 hours either discussing or playing music for the band's long awaited sixth studio album, Healthy in Paranoid Times is finally on store shelves. That itself is an accomplishment for the Canadian rock quartet.
"I think finally we have a record that is the closest we've come to getting what we have in our head on tape. All the other records, which I still love, I think there have always been a moment in listening back where I say, oh that could have been better or oh I wish that sounded different. This is the first time that time we feel we have made a complete record, even though we always tried to." said Coutts.
Our Lady Peace's recording process was vastly different this time around, which is why the band fell of rock's radar screen. Back with producer Bob Rock, the band (Coutts, lead singer Raine Maida, guitarist Steve Mazur, and drummer Jeremy Taggart) took three weeks to write together. They then traveled to Maui, Hawaii to record for a month in Rock's home studio. Touring commitments caused the band to take some time off and when they returned to the studio to listen what had been recorded, they felt three out of the twelve songs were good. With that, they went back in to re-record, before more tour commitments brought the process to a halt.
The band fell into a cycle of writing for a few weeks and then recording for a month before taking a break, which lasted anywhere from a month to almost four months. Coutts said, "What it did for us this time was it gave us the opportunity to have perspective on what we've recorded. In the past, whether it was ten to twelve weeks in the studio, you went in, put your head down and just got it done. Then you gave the record to the record label so that the promo stuff could start up. But this time around, we really got to have an objective opinion on what we recorded. That was the main difference with this album."
Many times during the extensive recording period, it didn't look the band was going to make it through it together. Coutts recalled, "The tough thing is, yea, we had some fights, the band essentially broke up without actually breaking up, Rain essentially fired Bob without firing Bob, and Bob essentially fired us without really firing us." The friction resulted from band beginning to doubt themselves, "I think it comes to a place where you 30-35 songs in and you don't even have a record. So you start to don't who you are as an artist, you doubt your producer, and you doubt your band. It's because we were all very passionate about making what we felt would be our best record." To do so, the band had to take a look in the mirror, both individually and as whole. "That's a tough thing to do and once we did that, we embraced it and were the band that we always wanted to be. It made us comfortable in our own skin, and when your comfortable in your own skin you can do anything."
In all, the band recorded 43 songs, 12 of which the band agreed on, as a whole unit that would fit and make the final cut for Healthy in Paranoid Times. "When we finally had everything, there was a batch of songs in the middle that we realized just were not working, I think we were trying to be someone we were not, I think we were feeling the pressure from the record company to get something out" recalled Coutts. While he joked that some songs were so bad that they will never be heard after the band ejected them into space, Coutts felt there were still some songs they did together that they felt strongly about and had some potential. "I think there is still 4-7 ideas that that are really strong and will surface at some point, whether it's on another record or something else."
The tracks that did finally make up Healthy in Paranoid Times are more heavily themed on moral, social, and political content than any of Our Lady Peace's previous albums. Open the liner notes for the new album, and the band perfectly puts life into place fro the listener. Listed besides all the fact and figures regarding what it took for the band to record the album, are the much bigger things that were happening across the globe at the time and still to this day.
Within those 1165 days it took to be recorded, 30 active wars were being fought worldwide while three trillion dollars was spent on the global arms trade, 9.8 million people died from AIDS while pharmaceutical companies profited 815 billion dollars, and 54 million people died from extreme poverty while 138 million people ate at McDonalds. "Those are the things that we as a band, as friends, and as people were sitting around discussing why these things are happening. You can go on in life with the blinders or you can talk about what's going on in the world and what your passions are." said Coutts.
These days, it's popular for bands and artists to run their mouth on political issues. However, only a select few seem to actually have an idea on what they are talking about. Our Lady Peace lead singer Raine Maida is one of those few. He is devoted member of War Child Canada, part of the War Child International organization that works to raise awareness and help children around the world that are affected by war. His involvement with War Child brought him to countries in Africa as well as Iraq, where he encountered first hand the horrors of war. "Music hopefully comes from your soul and Rain in his trips to Iraq and Africa. I know was greatly changed by that." says Coutts. Listening to the new album, you can hear the impact of his involvement in his lyrics. "The record is more overtly socially conscious we wanted to make a record from an honest place and that crept into the music and definitely the lyrics."
One such song that it crept into was "Don't Stop", which is where the title of the album, Healthy in Paranoid Times, comes from. Coutts said that line summed up the album perfectly. "These are really paranoids times we live in. So you can take it on a persona level. You can take it on a societal level around the world. You take it on the level of us as a band, cause we didn't know if we'd still be a band by the end of this, And its really all bout finding a balance in life with all this stuff around you. You can take it positively and it's all about being healthy, or trying to stay healthy."
what at times was 1165 days of turmoil, Our Lady Peace, are still healthy.
With Healthy in Paranoid Times, the Canadian rockers have proved they still
have relevance with a record that comes out strong after tackling such complicated
universal themes of struggle and hardship. The band is currently on the road,
supporting the new release. Coutts says its being going great, "I think
we're passionate about playing it every night and the people we've seen are
feeling the same way too. It's been a real joy to be on the road." They
hit Boston a few weeks ago for a quality show at the Roxy. If you missed the
show, check out a complete review by clicking here.