Our Lady Peace is a band with some pretty distinct phases. They began as Canada’s commercial complement to grunge, morphed into an art-rock group in the late ‘90s before making a reasonably successful bid for the American market, and finally returned to some of their less radio-friendly roots with last year’s Curve.

The most interesting thing about frontman Raine Maida’s second solo album, We All Get Lighter, is how it fails to belong to any of those phases. Away from his band mates, most of whom have been in the group for more than 20 years, he doesn’t sound lost but focused and committed to his own path.

It’s also, thankfully, somewhat light reading for an artist who comes across as distinctly well-read. It is to-the-point and unpretentious, like the man himself. We recently spoke about its lengthy creation, and Maida’s life online.

We All Get Lighter isn’t the typical solo / singer-songwriter move, nor does it cop the Our Lady Peace sound.

Yeah, I wasn’t interested in doing OLP-lite. I hope it can exist a bit to the left of what people expect from the band.

You made reference to the album title on YouTube in 2011, attached to a clip of “Bury Me With a Gun” that ultimately didn’t make the record. Were you really working on the album for so long?

Pretty close. Solo stuff is always a work in progress. I’ve had 40 – 50 of these types of songs ready for a while.

But We All Get Lighter is very brief – eight songs in just over half an hour.

My manager thought we shouldn’t do it like that. But I (insisted). And I didn’t want another bunch of tracks for iTunes or Amazon. At this point in my career I’m a bit over the whole marketing machine. I’ve had fans on Twitter ask me why there’s only eight songs, and I can understand they want to make sure they can’t their money’s worth. Hopefully, maybe, it’s quality over quantity.

You are an active Twitter user. Have you found it to be a source of good conversation, or commentary?

The people I follow always direct me to good (news and information).But  I have had moment where I’ve wanted to get away from social media altogether.

Jared Paul opened up for me for my last solo tour, and he does a very political spoken-word kind of thing. This past summer we met him again in Boston, and that went well, but we went to a New York show … he said something about the police, and there were a bunch of off-duty cops there. It got crazy; bottles were thrown, almost started a riot. When I went back on Twitter I saw some really venomous stuff. I got into the kind of conservation I usually avoid, and I got into a serious back-and-forth with someone who was saying, like “I’m going to burn my OLP albums!” But I think, after a while, he came around. I’m glad we didn’t lose a fan.

Where else do you get your news?

As much I like counterculture news sources I’m the kind of guy who’ll watch Fox News for hours, until I can’t stand it anymore. I think it’s important to pay attention to the other side and learn why there’s such polarization.

I expose myself to a lot of far-right “news” as well – you can’t really know about what the other side really thinks if you don’t hear it from them directly.

Right, even if you can’t believe what they’re saying. I know. It’s a great exercise.

What about Montreal inspired you to name a song after it?

The city is an awesome juxtaposition. It’s very unique and incredibly beautiful … the lyrics were written on a sunny, but freezing cold day. I was walking around the city for a few hours. It was take-your-breath-away-cold . So I saw the beauty and felt the incredible cold, and I like that imperfect contrast.

How did you mark the release day of We All Get Lighter?

I feel like the culmination of the whole thing came when we shot a live DVD at the University of Toronto a few weeks ago. Once you start playing live it feels like it’s been born, in a way.

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