Queer Parties, Ontario Angels and Getting High

The Newspaper chats with lesbian bubble-grunge duo Partner

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Artist Credit: Emma Hasaralejko

By: Frida Mar (Arts & Culture Co-editor)

In their debut album In Search of Lost Time, the queer, Ontario-based duo Partner explores their own cultivated world of sharp-edged punk, garage rock, and skits. The members of Partner, Lucy Niles and Josée Caron, compile their witty songwriting and cool riffs to give a modern gay twist to the old saying of “sex, drugs and rock & roll.” Their world is one where angels can come from Ontario, where getting high in a supermarket becomes a transcending experience, and where queering rock is made possible.

TNP: How would you describe the world of In Search of Lost Time?

Lucy: A funny world where anything is possible!

Josée: We wanted it to have a nostalgic feel, and I personally feel safe in the past. We wanted people to feel safe and also have a lot of fun, especially if they’re kind of like us.

TNP:How did you come up with the idea for “Angels from Ontario”?

LN: When we were nineteen or twenty, we met some people from Ontario at University. There was this guy Kevin who went to school for recording and producing, he helped us make our first record. It seemed like him and his girlfriend just knew everything. They were from Ontario so more stuff happened there and it seemed just more competent. I thought there was an angel coming over and showing us what’s possible.

TNP: What inspired the album’s name and the skits in between the songs?

LN: It revolved around details and descriptions of time passing, we were drawing on a lot of childhood memories. And for the skits we wanted to create our own world and invite people in. And we thought it’d be a good way to introduce all the characters in our lives, who helped us create the album.

JC: Yea, there was a lot of nostalgia involved. It’s our child.

TNP:Your last skit, “The Last Word,” in the album is a powerful conclusion about rock’s vitality. The rock genre is clearly important for you and your music. How do you think that you’re queering rock?

LN: I think we’re queering rock just by really being ourselves. I think the part of the joke that’s funny is when we do the rock stuff, and we’re just two unknown girls. We don’t have to much but being ourselves.

JC: We’re queer, we don’t have to write about anything that we don’t care about.

TNP: I went to all-girls Catholic high school and I learned that hey, I’m actually not straight! Almost all of my friends were gay, but we never listened to queer rock grunge music like yours. What’s one thing you would’ve told your high school selves?

LN: That’s a good question! Just be comfortable in your own skin. I also felt disconnected from the world.

JC: Be more assertive. It’s good to set boundaries, without having to get pissed off.  

TNP:What’s one lost experience that you wish you could re-live again?

LN: I wish I could relive the first time I smoked weed. Just to go back to that day with my friends, being so young and innocent while getting high.

JC: I would go back to the day where we found out we were on the Polaris Shortlist (2017) .

LN: Oh yeah, that was a good day. I felt so relieved.

TNP:  How do you think the Ontario music scene will change in the next couple of years?

LN: I have no prediction!

JC: There are so many good producers coming out of Ontario, like all the people that Drake works with.

TNP:What new genres do you want to experiment with in your next album?

LN: Great question. I think we’re experimenting with tons of genres, like country and electronic. We’re going all over the place! In our last album, there was more punk.

JC: And now Lucy’s playing bass a lot more so now it’s like all the arrangements are cooler to listen to and really groovy.

TNP: Our final question is a question we ask all of our interviewees. Any advice for young musicians trying to break into the music industry?

Lucy: Don’t try to get into the industry before you have songs that you care about! Make the songs that should never be about the industry.

Josée: Yea, I completely agree.

Lucy: Otherwise you’ll end up kicking yourself in the ass.

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