Vallier Meets: Milk & Bone

Vallier Meets: Milk & Bone

With stay-at-home orders and pandemic restrictions, 2021 is picking up where 2020 left off. Because our social relations are suffering more than ever, Vallier brings you the latest from your favourite artists, a question of keeping in touch. 

Milk & Bone is an electro pop duo composed of Laurence Lafond-Beaulne and Camille Poliquin. For them, last year's long break was an opportunity to work on their own projects and cultivate their binary relationship. Since Vallier is interested in style, we questioned them on that subject as well.

As a duo, how do you work together, and what is your creative process?

Laurence Lafond-Beaulne: For the first two albums, we often wrote the songs on our own, so that they came directly from raw, true emotions. We would then meet to work on them together and appropriate them so that we could both relate to them.

Recently, we've changed our way of working a little bit. We start the songs together and it takes us somewhere else and it feels good. We can really get back on track quickly and it's almost like a game. I think it's important to try new creative processes and new ways of writing, to keep surprising and challenging each other.

What is the most difficult thing about being friends and associates at the same time?

L.L-B.: The line between friend and associate is fine and easy to forget at times. It's all intertwined, of course. So you have to remember that the challenges you face at work are not necessarily the same as those you face in friendship. We have to force ourselves to take time to deal with the friendship that unites us, even if the work already takes up most of our time. For me it's the biggest challenge, finding the time and the balance between the two in an often crazy schedule. But when the friendship is strong, so is the project. Basically, Milk & Bone is two friends who have joined together to have fun and I think we draw strength from that dynamic. We have to cultivate fun and friendship at all costs, I think.

Camille Poliquin: Yes, especially when we go on tour. Being partners is one thing, but I don't think many business partners spend a whole month confined to the same hotel room or the back seat of a car. The emotional and professional fatigue combined with the fans and the concerts puts a lot of pressure on a friendship.

I think we've realized in the last few years that we had to make choices and that if we wanted to continue working together, we had to take care of each other. 

You share a personal and professional relationship, what impact has the pandemic had on your duo? Has it allowed you to take a step back from the group or your respective projects?

C.P.: We've been really lucky this year. We didn't have a lot of concerts planned, we had planned a year of rest to take some time for ourselves, to refocus, and to start writing again quietly. We kept in touch with calls and small meetings here and there, but otherwise the pandemic didn't change our plans too much.

We recently learned that Laurence was working on a personal project, can you tell us more about it?

L.L-B.: Of course I can. At the beginning of the first lockdown, it was the first time in a long time that I found myself with nothing in front of me (short/medium term). I'm a bit hyperactive in my work, I like to stay busy (even though I'm finally learning this year to settle down, to breathe, to slow down). So I started at that moment to make music for fun, just for me. The result was several songs with a teenage theme, and a solo project called SOFT FABRIC. None of this was planned, but it came naturally to me and I'm having fun making it happen. At the moment my first cover of Blink-182 auto-produced is out, and I'm currently working on a self-produced solo EP, which should be released in 2021.

On your side, Camille, how do you spend your free time?

C.P.: I work on my music and I'm preparing a collaboration in robotics research with Ryerson University in Toronto. The pandemic has plunged me into an introspective obsession with the things I'm passionate about and I tell myself that confinement is the ideal time to educate myself further and to clarify the artistic vision of my project.

Milk & Bone is known for its intimate and spellbinding concerts. You’ve even won the Félix award for the English show of the year. In 2015, your very first concert in Montreal was sold out and since then you’ve toured the United States and Europe. What do you miss most about the stage? How do you keep in touch with the public in the midst of the pandemic?

L.L.B.: For me, it's the connection with the audience that I miss the most from the shows, being able to meet them. It's magical to sing songs while locking eyes with our fans, who experience emotions at the same time as we do. It's the only time you can see them in real life, feel their energy and that's what I miss the most. It's also a feeling of great freedom to be able to do what you love on stage and I have to admit that even though it feels good to step back a little bit, I can't wait to go back, with new songs and a new show.

You both have pretty eclectic styles. What inspires you?

L.L.B.: Honestly, I love to watch people on the street, online second-hand clothing shops, artists I admire, social media and designers who always make me dream, like Gucci or Jacquemus for example. I also like to follow local designers. These days, I have a big crush on Constance Massicotte, Lolo Crochette, the Effe boutique, and laugh by lafaille. I look at people, I buy what I like, what looks like me and it's always changing.

C.P.: The LGBTQ+ community inspires me a lot. Sex workers too.

I swoon at styles that are completely different from mine, and that inspires me to look much more sober afterwards. Connecting with people who push the norms makes me feel free. Even if it's maybe just an illusion. I like to see people express themselves openly.

If I understand correctly, Laurence wears white and colour and Camille is always dressed in black, right?

Laurence & Camille: That's right.

Is there a difference between what you wear on stage and what you wear in everyday life? 

C.P.: I think we take our inspiration from our everyday looks, but we push them to the max. Same thing for our make-up. I think it comes from the fact that if we want to notice our looks when we are on stage, we don't have the choice to go over the top. Personally, it gives me confidence and energy when my look is a little crazy. It allows me to let loose on stage.