grandson and Jessie Reyez Talk 'Suicide Squad' and Pitch Superhero Team With Drake and Nickelback

The Canadian artists chat about making a song and music video for 'The Suicide Squad' and pitch their dream Canadian superhero team with Drake and Nickelback.

With movie theatres recently re-opening, movie buffs all over the nation have been ready for an action-packed blockbuster to experience on the big screen. And if you’re anything like Jimmy from Goodfellas—“Jimmy was the kind of guy who rooted for the bad guys in the movies”—The Suicide Squad, directed by James Gunn, might be right up your alley. Out today, the DC film features some badass super villains with a star-studded lineup including Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Viola Davis, and Sylvester Stallone, to name a few.

Not only did Gunn make sure his cast was stacked, but like any good filmmaker, he knew the soundtrack is just as important as the visuals. So he recruited Toronto’s grandson and Jessie Reyez to pen “Rain,” the breakout single from the film. The song sets the perfect melancholy ambiance to experience the action on the big screen. Jessie and grandson weren’t afraid to get dirty and play the part of supervillains in the music video, showing off some of their fight moves.

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I caught up with both grandson and Jessie over Zoom before the film’s premiere. We talked about their experience being part of the film’s soundtrack, shooting the music video, prepping for Lollapalooza, and their dream Canadian superhero team with Drake and Nickelback. Watch the full interview above and read some highlights from the conversation below.

On shooting the “Rain” video:
It was fun, it was nerve-racking, it was like the first real big shit that I’ve done, I guess since March of 2020. So there was a massive influx of emotions and also a lot of pressure because this is a big deal. Suicide Squad, it’s James Gunn, it’s a big thing. So I was definitely nervous and it was nice to have grandson on set because he’s really good with positive energy. And when that cold-ass rain shot was happening, boy, did I ever need a dose of positive energy. So, it was cool man.

I’ve been preparing for a fight scene like that my whole life, man. Shoot, there was a lot of repressed anger that I got to just let out. The thing I practised the most for and the thing that required the most rehearsal for me was definitely the dancing. Like, that’s what we did. The day before the shoot we met with all the dancers and choreographer, shout-out Candice, and that’s what we rehearsed. For the fighting, it was quick. And I don’t know what that says about my aggression, but he was like, “Do this like you mean it.” And I was like, no problem, OK.

grandson: It was really a whirlwind, not only to come back and have the first big shoot with full crew and cast in months and months, but to do it on this scale, knowing that it’s going to reach this many people around the world was very exciting and nerve-racking. And the bigger the opportunity to fail, the more hyped I am. I want to spend my whole career taking big swings, being in this shit.

Finding a Canadian director was important. Originally, we had intended to shoot in Toronto, but due to COVID restrictions, we weren’t able to. But definitely between me and Jessie and John Poliquin, the director, we wanted it to be an opportunity to showcase the next step out of Canada, while representing on the global stage. So it was cool. 

On Jessie’s upcoming album:
The truth, I mean, the consistency is what I feel like people can rely on me for. And one of those things that I hope is the thread from my first project, Kiddo, to what’s going to be this next project is truth. But I hope the word truth is synonymous with Jessie when I’m six feet under, you know? And I feel like I’ve done that, I’ve made sure that I openly, and with no shame, hide my secrets in my songs. So, I hope people expect and are happy to hear truth.

Jessie Reyez and Grandson at the premiere of 'The Suicide Squad'

On grandson’s next collaborations:
I just did my debut album. Just me, no features, and I was really proud of that. I wanted to do that. But it doesn’t reflect my attitude towards collaboration and community. So, I’m doing a bunch more music with my friends. Between now and the end of the year, I literally didn’t fuck with anybody for my debut album, I was like, This is my project to make. But now I’ve got probably, I don’t even know, we’ve got anywhere between like five and 13 songs between now and December, depending on everybody’s schedules. But if I can wrangle some people, I’ve got everything from some of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame icons that I look up to, to the up-and-coming artists in hip-hop, pop, rock ‘n’ roll. Got a whole bunch of collaborations that I’m finally getting the opportunity to do again.

On selecting superhero powers:
I would love to be able to just have everyone put a hand on me and then we could all teleport together. That’s been my dream, because if I teleport alone, then that’s a lonely existence. But whoever has a hand on me, we can all just like be where we need to be, I can use that for good. And that would just make my life way easier. I would spend more time with my family. I would be able to tour; in one night I’d hit like five cities. It would be amazing.

Reyez: If we’re the only superheroes and I have to do something that’s not selfish, I would do time travel.I don’t know the collateral damage, but you risk big, you win big. So, you know I’d be willing to risk some things just to help some things. And then also, I would be curious about day one. So I’d love to time travel to what did day one look like? You know?

Or like even before day one, let me talk to God and be like, “What’s up? What you thinking? What you wanna make?” You know, and then if not, then I’d definitely teleport too and I thought about that too. And the reason I’d want to teleport, it was usually teleportation or flying for me. Flying because I was like, it would be so sick to just shoot up and be able to hold people and everything. But if you teleport, you could pretty much teleport to like a kilometre up in the sky and then freefall and still get that sensation and then just teleport back up and you can just perpetually forever fly. Just the perennial sky demon.

On forming the ultimate Canadian superhero group:
Champagne Papi, I’mma tag in Drizzy. And his superpower would be to be able to have songs that could cure world hunger. So, if someone played a song, it just means the song soundwaves mutate into food. You know, and it’s like, yo, his songs make them make him bread already. So, it would just be like songs making bread for the world.

grandson: I’m gonna go with Nickelback and their superpower will be to just absorb all the world’s hate, Like, everyone hates our Nickelback. I personally don’t, I actually kind of fuck with Nickelback personally. I don’t have a problem with them. Everyone else seems to, it’s like the one great unifier, people from different backgrounds and ethnicities. Everyone can agree, fuck Nickelback. And so, their superpower is to absorb all the hate in the world. Everyone direct their hate at Chad from Nickelback. He can handle it. Clearly, he’s fine. And then we can, like, start working on the biggest problem: climate change, water, depleting resources. We need to get on the same fucking team to figure out the greatest challenges in the world. Let’s take all of our hate, all of our division, and just throw it at early 2000s pop rock, Nickelback, Canadian superstars.

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