How Partner Are Coping with Isolation: EDM, Learning Music Production and Hating Capitalism

Their home studio skills will "definitely have a big impact on our future releases"
How Partner Are Coping with Isolation: EDM, Learning Music Production and Hating Capitalism
Photo: Colin Medley
Maritime rock duo Partner have spent the past few years warming hearts with their sly, subversive take on classic-sounding power-pop. Now living in Montreal, Josée Caron and Lucy Niles recently rolled out an infectious new single, "Good Place to Hide (At the Time)." And while we're still not quite sure when we'll hear more new music from Caron and Niles, we caught up with the pair about how they've been using their time in lockdown to hone their skills and work on new material.

What's your self-isolation setup?

Josée: I'm living in Montreal. I have my apartment to myself. Normally my girlfriend would be with me but she's working on a farm right now. I have enough supplies for two to three weeks.

Lucy: I'm at my place in Montreal with my two lovely roommates. I'm feeling extremely fortunate to be safely tucked away with two people who don't get on my nerves. And to live near a grocery store.

Are you working on any music while on lockdown?

Josée: Yes, pretty much nonstop. In 2019, I finally got started making a home studio and now my setup is awesome (I even have a lava lamp). Since last October, I've had this goal of producing for a music library. It's been an amazing push for me to dive into learning about mixing and everything. I truly love being in the audio world of YouTube tutorials, plug-ins, all that. This will definitely have a big impact on our future releases.

Lucy: I've been practicing guitar and bass and writing lyrics every day. It doesn't compare to singing with Josée, which is the thing I'm most excited to do again whenever possible. We definitely have some stuff up our sleeves for you though so sit tight!

What are you watching and listening to?

Josée: I've been watching a lot of science videos on YouTube. I particularly love this series called World Science Festival. They gather physicists from different areas of focus and they host conversations about big topics, like dark matter or quantum theory.

I've been getting into EDM a bit more lately. I've been listening to the new Grimes, I find the album very moving and inspiring and I cry almost every time Iisten. I find Flume really inspiring for sound design and automation and bringing really emotional movement to everything.

Lucy: I've been listening to a ton of [Joni Mitchell's] Court and Spark as well as the new Nap Eyes album. Super stoked for the new Wares album coming out soon. Also really into the new Frank Ocean singles.

How do you feel about the response to coronavirus?

Josée: It's a pretty frightening situation on a visceral level. But I get inspired by the sense of collective effort. The virus is nurturing increased awareness of our connectedness and personally that allows me to access a really deep empathy, not only for others but for myself, and for humanity. I'm hoping this heightened awareness of what is true and real for people is expressed in the political response as the situation continues to unfold.

Lucy: As far as the response goes from the public, i think you have seen a lot of good. People coming together and showing solidarity and stuff, but politically i just don't think theres any response that can make up for the fact that we live in a fundamentally broken system. This situation has only further illustrated that already glaringly evident truth. I think until we learn to fairly compensate all workers for their labour and stop commodifying human rights like housing and food, no kind of response will actually address whats wrong at the core, which is that capitalism sucks. And the most vulnerable people are always the ones who have to bear the brunt of that.

Have you picked up any new hobbies or routines in isolation?

Josée: Yes, I have the routine I've always dreamed of: I wake up around 5:30 a.m. and I'm in bed by 10 p.m. I love the early morning, it's such a peaceful time. It's when my creative energy is freshest so I love to get straight to work.

I've been taking this chance to work on stretching out my shoulders and hips. They deserve some love after years of neglect. I call at least one person a day, meditate once a day. Keeping regular sleeping hours and cooking a lot are very grounding for me. Taking care of yourself emotionally and physically is not always so obvious, so I'm using this time to sort out what that means for me.

Looking forward to hitting the stage when it is safe to do so!

Lucy: My personal way of maintaining structure is to make sure to do a few certain things every day, like make my bed and eat vegetables and practice. I don't think people need to use this time to do anything in particular but following my little list makes me feel more like every day is a normal day with goals and stuff. That being said, its a weird time and there might be days you just wanna do nothing which is also fair and makes sense cause we're collectively experiencing something super wild and for many of us completely new.

Find out what other Canadian musicians have been up to under self-quarantine with our Isolation Nation questionnaire.