This week on the Field blog, we interview Partner, a rockin' duo whose SOCAN and Polaris-prize approved In Search of Lost Time is now on the Field platform. And just like us at Field, they're big Long & McQuade fans (mandatory plug: get a 10$ L&M gift card when you join Field!).
In 2017, a couple of us on the Field team attended a small but compelling Ontario festival on Wolfe Island, a picturesque little block of land just a few minutes' boat ride away from Kingston. While we looked forward to catching Born Ruffians and a couple of other bands we knew, the revelation of the cider-fuelled afternoon was Partner, a frankly rockin' duo with big riffs and witty lines. Fast forward a couple of years and you might get slack for not knowing the duo's critically-acclaimed In Search Of Lost Time, later awarded a SOCAN Songwriting prize and shortlisted for a Polaris Prize. Funny yet serious, their songs touch on subjects ranging from sexuality to drugs, lifted by the unique bond that exists between these two BFFs. Get your madeleines and your lemon tea - or maybe your cider - and read our conversation with Partner about Long and McQuade, jokes and songwriting.
Let’s talk about what’s new, how did your “Long And McQuade” song come about?
Lucy Niles: I think we were at Long And McQuade, and just thinking “well back to Long And McQuade” and we just sang it one day and thought “let’s go record this!”.
Josée Caron: And we have a friend who knows Long’s (Long And McQuade co-founder Jack Long) child.
LN: Yeah! One of our friends said she knew the guy Long’s son and we were like “wow, ok we’re definitely doing this”
JC: I think it just started from there. And we were touring a lot and going to Long and Mccquade a lot so...
It’s a fairly Canada specific reference. Since your following is bigger now were you hesitant about singing on such a local theme?
LN: I think to an extent it’s mostly the hook in there and it doesn’t matter that much
JC: Music transcends all that.
LN: I mean there are so many songs about LA and doesn’t really bother.
JC. But we won’t keep doing just that.
LN: Yeah we’ll never have a rule to only talk about Canadian stuff, but we’ll never have a rule not to.
And is this song a sign you want to stick with humouristic content on your next album?
JC : Yeah, always.
There seems to be a unique bond between the two of you. Does it naturally appear in your music or do you purposefully try to show it?
JC: That just happens.
LN: Yeah I don’t think we really try to show it it’s just what comes out.
Is it sometimes hard for your lyrics not to come out too much as being inside jokes?
LN: I think like we try to make songs which work for the two of us but people can understand to an extent
JC: Also I think when two people make music together they create their own little universe and then make it so that people are invited in. So that’s a part of it, you kind of have to be obsessed with what you create and have a bond with it. The rest comes after.
And do you think your fans understand this universe now?
LN: I definitely do. There are a lot of different aspects in our music. So some will relate to parts of it and others different elements. But a lot of people understand what were going for so I would say yes absolutely.
In turns of themes, your first album revolved a lot around drugs and sexuality. Will these themes remain essential in your music going forward?
LN: I think we would never stop talking about sexuality.
JC: But we’re older now so we have new things to say that were really excited to speak about
LN: Yeah like shit to say about being an adult and shit.
JC: But we’re still sexual
LN: Yeah like we’ll always talk about being gay. I mean every day we talk about being gay.
And are you influenced by other LGBTQ+ artists who address this in their lyrics?
LN: We’re influenced by Melissa Etheridge.
LN: She just talks about her sexuality in a way that kind of blows my mind. But we also just write songs about what’s true.
JC: It’s just what we’re feeling and …
LN: It’s what comes out.
Do you see song-writing more as a description of your reality or as a creative exercise?
LN: I think we mostly want to express ourselves and have people hopefully get it or whatever.
JC: I also think we just want to laugh.
LN: Yeah, we write songs when we laugh. We like to laugh between ourselves and everything else kind of follows.
The last thing I wanted to ask you about was winning the SOCAN Songwriting prize and being shortlisted for a Polaris Music award. Is institutional gratification surprising to you?
JC: Yes! It’s pretty wild. It’s cool we got some attention in that way, but in another way we’re just doing what people have been doing forever: if you’re an artist, you do your thing. I feel like we were really committed and did something. So we’re being recognized for having done something I guess (laughs). And we’re proud of that.
LN: It’s cool that people have an interest in what we do.
Follow Partner on Facebook and IG, and go buy their album on Bandcamp. While you're on the internet, hit us up on @tracksonField across your networks. The Field blog features a new interview with local movers and tastemakers every week - get in touch with Victor (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you're interested in getting featured.