MILK & BONE : HARMONIC CIRCUITS

The first chapter in the story of the Collective was written on May 16th, when 300 people got the chance to live an intimate Milk & Bone concert at Bain Mathieu, in Montreal. For this first event, Vidéotron put its technological expertise at the duo’s service to create a one-of-a-kind version of their live show. I took this opportunity to talk with both artists about how their band came to be and how new technology influences their sound and evolution.

With a debut album (Little Mourning, March 2015) that made very big waves, the duo comprised of Camille Poliquin and Laurence Lafond-Beaulne quickly rose to the top of emerging electronic artists in Québec. In less time than it takes to say Coconut Water, the two musicians became very sought after here in Canada as well as in Europe and the U.S. With a sound that is both dense and soft, Milk & Bone struck a chord with Millennials, who rush to all its concerts.

The two young women met three years ago when they were both musicians on David Giguère’s tour: “We started to spend a lot more time together,” Camille explains. “On the road, sharing hotel rooms, and singing together. We started to really have fun together and I think we both really liked each other (laughs). I’d say the rest came naturally; we felt like writing a few songs together.” The two musicians then hid out in the countryside for a few days to compose the bases of what would become Milk & Bone. “We came back with many bad songs,” Camille laughs. But after, we started working in the studio with Gabriel Gagnon, who produced our whole album. Then, we launched New York and Coconut Water on SoundCloud before releasing the album.”

The collaboration between Vidéotron, Sony and all the team created in the large pool that is now used as a concert hall a pretty unique experience.

A RIVETING EVENING

During the concert at Bain Mathieu, the girls’ performance was broadcast live on Vidéotron’s Facebook page with several cameras, a great technological asset for the band. “What I find really great about it,” says Camille, “is that it allows our fans who didn’t necessarily have the opportunity to attend the concert to still enjoy the unique staging we had for that show.” Indeed, the collaboration between Vidéotron, Sony and all the team created in the large pool that is now used as a concert hall a pretty unique experience. Fans even got to hear two songs that are not part of Little Mourning, where dancers added another dimension to the show, ghost-like shapes behind filigree projections. “It was crazy to add dancing to our music; a first for us!” Laurence mentions. “It was a really great evening that allowed us to leave our creation cocoon, and it’s always a pleasure for us to see our fans … we’re really glad we got the opportunity to do that.”

Fans of the band will have the opportunity to live or relive the two new songs Trust and Poison in an unprecedented experience for Milk & Bone. The two pieces were captured in a 360° angle by the expert team of Vidéotron for a listening experience that feels as though you are there, by using a virtual reality headset. When asked about using new ways to consume culture, Laurence is enthusiastic: “You know, we’re very open to trying new things as long as it’s in the right context, and I think that our show was perfect for trying out VR. We can’t wait to see what our fans thought of it, but we really loved doing it!”

DESIGNING A SOUND

It is really through time spent in the studio that the sound they are known for came to be: “It kind of happened by chance over time in the studio,” according to Laurence. “Camille and I both really like musical references. When we listen to a song, we’re usually inspired by the same elements. Another really important element is that we like singing together and making harmonies. We realized that vocally, our tones work super well together. It resulted in music where the voices are really important, with many synths… As for musical references, it was really trial and error in the studio.” Camille adds: “It’s the first album I’ve really worked on from beginning to end, you know. In retrospect, I realize that it’s really not the same experience as with a typical band. We spent a lot of time on a computer. Yes, we used analogue synths, but also a lot of software plugins in addition to all the referents we listened to directly on the computer… Technology influenced our experience for sure, but I couldn’t tell you how. But it really encompassed what the project became after that.”

“We were just starting, we didn’t have the money,” Laurence continues. “Gabriel had access to a studio, so we did it there, with what was already there. We were limited to certain things, which surely affected our sound, but for me, not having all these options was very positive.” Technology was certainly an integral part of the fine-tuning of Milk & Bone’s sound. By experimenting with various digital and analogue devices in the studio, the duo managed to identify their musical influences and their intentions for the project and to distill them into a coherent and consistent sound throughout the album. It is partly with the use of very specific tools that they were able to unify the tone: “We have the ‘Milk & Bone’ reverb,” says Laurence, “the RC-24 by Native Instruments, which we use everywhere on our voices in the first album. We also worked a lot with Dave Smith’s Mopho (a modern analogue synthesizer). Now we’re looking forward to the second album to be able to use new instruments, new gadgets!”

EXPANDING INFLUENCES

Modern technology has been useful to Milk & Bone not only in terms of music itself. Camille and Laurence are women of their times and took advantage of the various promotional tools that exist through social media and, more generally, of the omnipresence of the Internet. “That’s all we’ve known,” Camille says. “The first thing we launched was on SoundCloud. It was the only way for people to find out about us because we did not have a label or management at the time. It also gave us the opportunity to build confidence. From the beginning, we felt people’s support. I think that if we had put the song out on SoundCloud and hadn’t had such a response, we would have taken more time to do it and would have been less motivated. For musicians today, it’s an incredible tool to test the merchandise! … Then came Spotify and Apple Music, and we were added to several different playlists. I think that’s the main reason why we were able to tour the U.S.”

Through intelligent use of social media and digital platforms, the band managed to cross the Canadian border, a lesson to remember for all young artists hoping to market themselves globally or even to grow locally. Today, we can no longer afford to snub technological tools related to artistic promotion, regardless of form. What can we expect for Milk & Bone in the future? “We’re currently working on a second album,” Laurence concludes. “We’ll try to explore using new synthesizers and new sounds. We don’t want to make the same album twice. Obviously, some elements define Milk & Bone and we can’t stray from what our fans like, but we want to explore and take risks, even if it means coming back to something… We want to try to go further.”

ANTOINE BORDELEAU
Journalist at Voir

PHOTO GALLERY

The marked pictures were taken with a Sony Xperia XA1
For more information about our products, click here.

LISTEN TO MILK & BONE

Partager cette histoire