Wonderland chats to the sweet but sassy Montreal duo about uncomfortable truths and life on the road.
As seductive as sea sirens, it’s hard to fathom how beautiful and true the voices of Camille Poliquin and Laurence Lafond-Beaulne are. After watching a live performance of their first single “New York” at LFSM Montreal, it’s fair to say we’re hooked. Haunting and pained, the girls sing about relationships and unrequited love with a rawness that resonates. Their “no filters” approach to songwriting caught the attention of Spotify who included them in their Canada Class of 2015. Polar opposites in temperament, the ladies work surprisingly well in tandem but upon meeting them, it’s not hard to see why. We delve into their world for a hot second.
You’ve said that you like to write about the truth, even if the truth isn’t pretty. What would you say is your truth?
Camille: What we’re trying to do is express exactly what we’re feeling, what we’re going through, not having taboos. I feel as though a lot more people can relate to what we’re saying if we don’t sugar coat everything.
Laurence: So if you listen to the album we have songs talking about cheating, sensuality, sexuality and friendship. We talk about things that happen to us without filters.
That’s lovely, it’s raw and it allows you to move forward… What was the inspiration behind your video for Coconut water because it’s not something I would expect?
Camille: It’s not something we would expect either but after the video for New York we felt like trying things out. We had a certain aesthetic that was very clean and thought “What about surprising people and going in another direction?” We talked to a friend of ours that we wanted to work with and asked him “What do you see in your head when you listen to the song?”
Laurence: And we knew he was really original in his works.
Camille: It’s absolutely that and we trusted him and his inspirations from his previous work and then when we heard his concept for the video it felt like we fitted with what we wanted to project visually for that song.
Tell us a little bit about how you guys met…
Laurence: We met at school studying music together and then we toured with a French singer in Quebec so that’s when we started to be really close.
Camille: Spending a lot of time in the car together in the truck.
Laurence: And then we started doing music together for fun.
Camille: Showing each other what we were working on because we’d need an opinion from someone. Listening to the others songs and getting an opinion and becoming more involved with the creation and like forming a band and it just happened.
It sounds very organic… What life occurrences have most inspired your songwriting?
Laurence: We write a lot about different aspects of relationships or friendships or love relationships or whatever so it’s hard to say what exactly because it’s very different.
Camille: In the last two years I’ve been in two major relationships and every song I’ve written for this album is about a certain aspect of either one of those them. Sometimes it was such a great feeling and very sensual and sometimes I felt like shit and I had to write about it. That’s what I like about this album, I can listen to it so it’s sort of a memoir of the last few relationships that I went through.
I can see you’re very different [laughter] in a really lovely way. How would you best describe your differences in personality?
Camille: I get very grumpy and edgy when I’m hungry and she knows that but when I eat I get super hyper and when I’m tired I get funny.
Laurence: So she’s an emotional rollercoaster
Camille: I’m a Gemini. Very much an emotional rollercoaster. I’m closed to people in general. I’m in this place where I’m not looking for any new friends. I’ll talk to people and be polite but I’m not a friendly person up front. I will be afterwards. But Laurence is super open to everyone so that’s what’s great about our team: there’s balance.
Laurence: It’s pretty funny because everything she says about herself I’m the opposite. I think I’m more of a social person. I love meeting people, I’ve always been like that so I’m more approachable. She’s an amazing businesswoman and I suck at it but I’m really good with people so it’s perfect.
Tell us a little bit about your musical history…
Laurence: My dad’s a musician and my mum’s always been in the business side of music and I saw a lot of jazz concerts as a kid. I went to high school and studied jazz trombone. I met Camille at college. I went to university and dropped out after a year because I was starting to tour a lot. That’s what I wanted to do. I felt like I was going where I wanted to go and having a paper wouldn’t get me a job.
Camille: Especially in music because the only thing you can get with a music diploma is being a teacher.
Laurence: I’m 24 now and I’ve never had to look for work. I’m very lucky. I feel I’ve made the right choice. So I play with bands and I still play with other bands and that’s my day job and now I get to travel and create with her which is pretty amazing too. It’s very fun so yeah. She has a cool one.
Camille: I’ve played the piano since I was four. I would sing all the time. My parents put me in this musical school where I did 40% music and 60% academic. I’d have cello classes every day, classical choir twice a week, art history classes in elementary school. At 12 I left for two years to tour with Cirque du Soleis in Australia, New Zealand, Asia and California as a main character.
What’s coming up for you next?
Laurence: We’re working on a new song right now.
Camille: We’re going to keep writing though. We’re constantly writing. Being busy and touring and being away from home makes us go through things and that’s exactly what triggers our songwriting. We’re playing at a jazz festival in Montreal on the 4th July and Osheaga. Then we’re planning a tour in Europe and coming back to the States in August.
Words: Elinor Sigman