Before her Toronto show last week, I had a chat with KROY aka Camille Poliquin about writing for two different bands and her most recent solo album Scavenger.
You’re in the duo Milk & Bone whom we love also. What is the main difference writing for yourself vs writing with Laurence Lafond-Beaulne?
Before I write a song, I wont necessarily know if it’s for KROY or Milk & Bone so basically the beginning of the writing process is the same. I’ll get triggered emotionally about something in my life and then I’ll start writing. As soon as I start writing, I’ll know which project it is for. If I know I’m talking about something that cannot be transferred to someone else, whether it is something super personal in my life or it’s something I know Laurence never had to go through than it’s for KROY. If it’s more generic or if I need somebody to help me with the song than it’ll be for Milk & Bone where Laurence can pitch in and we can write the song together.
Is there a hidden meaning to the name KROY?
Umm.. no. I knew I didn’t want to name the project with my own name. I wrote a few names down that I was interested in and KROY was one of them for some reason. That day I just felt like, it’s going to be KROY. When you choose a name, you don’t really think about the fact that it’s going to stick as soon as you release something, same thing goes for Milk & Bone. On the day I chose my name, I didn’t think that four years later I’d still be using it.
Was it just like 4 totally random letters or where did it come from?
I think I saw something somewhere. I remember I was inspired by something but it wasn’t inspired by exactly those letters. I remember writing down a few names. Some of them meant something and some of them didn’t. KROY was one of those things that didn’t mean anything. I just liked it visually and I thought that it sounded cool. I like the fact that sometimes people don’t know how to pronounce it.
There’s a certain brand you have with KROY (and kind of with Milk & Bone too) the visuals are all black and white. What’s the reasoning for the lack of colour?
I’ve never been a very colourful person. I love black and white in general when it comes to photos or film. With the lack of colour, comes a much more defined photograph. In a black and white movie or photo, it really gets to the point. You won’t get distracted by the colour. If something is wrong with the photo, it’ll bother you right away because it’ll be the only thing you see. That’s what I like about black and white. It’s straight to the point. What you see is what you get. I feel like that’s how I work with the EP as well and I like that way of translating the work into photos and branding material.
Speaking of straight to the point, your song titles are also one word was that on purpose or just a weird coincidence?
I have this weird OCD where I things to be symmetrical or to have an order. For the album I just wanted everything to be one word even though I struggled to find certain titles for song. I just knew that I couldn’t have 3 of the songs having more than one word and then have others with just one. It doesn’t mean I’m going to be doing the same thing with the next album, maybe it’ll be all sentences and super long. I like for things to be nice and have a certain order.
A lot of these songs sound like love songs, or songs directed at someone. Does this person exist? Do they know they exist?
Yeah. A lot of the album is one chapter in my life. There’s actually two songs that aren’t directed to that person. They’d know. Although, I haven’t spoken to them in about a year but they’d know. I don’t actually know if they have heard the album but it’s cool to not know and for it to be out there and directed to this person. Maybe one day they’ll say something. It’s like a message in a bottle. A lot of people have heard it, but I don’t know if that person has.
Your analog synth arrangements glitter and provide a certain colour to the songs. Do you normally write the lyrics first or do you experiment with synths first?
The songs always come first. All the songs from KROY can be performed on the piano. They were all songs that were written on the piano. The lyrics and the melody came first. Then I’ll arrange it and work with synths and drums. All of the songs on the album were acoustic songs to start. They are very simple lyric and melody songs that are arranged to sound like how they do on the album.
What are some upcoming bands you are listening to or people that you’re influenced by?
I absolutely love Hannah Epperson. She is so cool and I didn’t know her at all. A friend of mine opened for her at a show in Montreal and I missed it. I was so bummed about that but I thought we could listen to what she does. She just released her first album recently and what’s so interesting and beautiful it’s like the same album twice. Half of the songs (let’s say 1-5) are repeated in songs 6-10. They’re the same titles but arranged differently. I thought that was such a cool concept to have on an album.
What’s the weirdest gig you’ve ever played?
The show we just did in Calgary was super weird but not because of the people who were there. We woke up in Montreal at 5am got on the plane and went to Calgary. There’s a two hour difference and we weren’t going to play until midnight. By the time that we played, we had been awake for 24 hours and so it was so weird. I honestly thought that I was going to pass out through the entire show. Also, the band who was supposed to open for us at the Calgary venue, the day of changed venues to go play somewhere else but they didn’t tell us. We didn’t have anyone to play with which was awkward because it was our first time in Calgary. We wanted people to come see the other band which was a local band. Everything turned out fine. We ended up having an awesome band open for us last minute and I did not pass out.
I remember watching you get interviewed by someone live at CMW and you guys were talking about how you can be angry when you’re hungry. I’m like that too haha! Through touring, have you discovered anywhere that had the most incredible food? Where was your favourite food stop on tour?
I’m always so amazed by food In general. I love it so much. I knew Vancouver was going to have really awesome food but I didn’t expect it to be that good. Honestly, I was blown away by the food in Vancouver this time around. We went to this restaurant called Torafuku and the weirdest thing happened.. I walked into the restaurant and you know how you have the most intense memory you can have is a smell. I got into the restaurant and I don’t know if it was a candle or something but it smelled like my friend’s house from when I was living in Australia. It was a really safe place for me so walking into the restaurant I felt so safe and it was so beautiful. The food was absolutely delicious. It was a hidden gem in this weird neighbourhood where there was nothing except youth hostels.
Any secrets you want to reveal to us?
I’m working on three collaboration tracks. I’ll put that out there.