Laurence Le Baccon & Julie Dumoulin, Chorus Atout

She was heard taped and seen on stage alongside Malted Milk, Lowland Brothers, Toni Green and even Alexis Evans, Laurence Le Baccon and Julie Dumoulin. drunk bag Over ten years of a joint journey during which they have established themselves as reference authors in the field of spirit. An interview tinged with passion, mutual respect and humility.

Let’s get back to the circumstances of your meeting.

Lawrence We first met in 2011 to prepare the backing songs for Malted Milk’s “Get Some” album released the following year. We didn’t know each other at all. Finally, it was all possible thanks to Arnaud Fradin [chanteur-guitariste et leader de Malted Milk].

Julie : Igor Pichon (bass) and Nicholas Marie (keyboards) were already doing backing vocals but the group wanted a feminine touch on the album. Lawrence and I had very little experience as backup singers, but we were already lead singers for several years. Lawrence was comfortable at the blues record. As far as I’m concerned, I came over jazz and latin music. In addition to finding each other out loud, we had to understand the keys and discover the register colors that define the music of Malted Milk. It is, of course, a never ending job, because we never stop learning.

Since then, you’ve sometimes had to work with another chorus, in pairs or threes, but we always seem to go back to the duos you make up. How do you explain this long beautiful life?

Lawrence : The first element of the explanation, but not the last: we get along well! Things are easy between us and with experience, this observation is more and more confirmed. We work quickly, efficiently and with a smile! We don’t sing at all in the same way, we have different bells, but despite everything, on certain recordings we don’t always know how to distinguish our two voices naturally! This secret of longevity is also explained by the pleasure we have in working together, in finding ourselves. It’s so obvious!

Julie : What is also not trivial, these are also office stories. Most of the women are sopranos or meso-soprans. Lawrence, she’s able to go down a bit more which means we’re never on the same record. Our bells are very special, too. The argument that often plays in our favor is that we are a really made up pair, which is reassuring for courses that require us. We adapt, we don’t have disproportionate demands, we complement each other, and we know how to stay where we are. And to join Laurence, I’m always happy to know that we’ve been asked for a new album, a new set for a group. The pleasure does not diminish over the years!

“We are fortunate with Julie to be so integrated, which gives us extra confidence, that’s for sure.”

Lawrence Le Bacon

Exactly how do you work together (sound distribution, coordination…)?

Lawrence: For a few years, it was normal for me to sing the lower parts a little and the higher, jolly parts. But for some time now, at least in the studio, sometimes we swap desks or even do re-recordings by putting out all the sounds, to gain mass and mix stamps.

Julia: After that, our skills blend well. I like to meddle in the harmony aspect, but because Lawrence herself is a songwriter, she feels more comfortable creating choruses than I do.

How do you deal with this role of singers? In your opinion, what skills are needed to be a corster?

Julie : You have to be meticulous and solid collectively, breathing in the same rhythm as the leader and the rest of the group to feel where the nuances are, where you have to stay on track and where you can show greater daring. Being a lead singer and a back-up singer are two completely different approaches. We are fortunate to have Lawrence thriving in both! As far as I’m concerned, I’ve always found it very good to not always be a “pioneer”. The pressure suddenly became a little lighter, and this quality of chorus allowed us to reach for amazing sights, and to live without a doubt the most powerful experiences of our musical travels.

Lawrence : To me, being a backing vocalist is ten times harder than being a lead singer! This requires a high quality of listening, to be able to allow yourself to be directed, and to agree to stay in the background. You need to know how to intervene in time, and always be on the alert. Choruses do not immediately impose themselves as a primary, but when this component is present, when it is of quality, it brings a real advantage. We are lucky with Julie because we are so integrated, which gives us extra confidence, that’s for sure. The fact that we’re going to do it together reassures us, it’s obvious.

Barbara Belmonte, Lawrence Le Bacon, Damien Cornelis, Julie Dumoulin, Lowland Brothers, Jazz in Vienna 2021 © Brigitte Charvolin

“This quality of singer has given us access to amazing performances, undoubtedly living the strongest experiences of our musical travels.”

Julie Dumoulin

What about your inspiration?

Julie : We obviously have common tastes with the groups we accompany. Aretha Franklin, Ann Peebles, and aspects of Hi Records in general are real influences.

Lawrence : But our initial love for supporting singing probably came more from the folk than from the soul. Above all, we love harmony. Not necessarily supporting singing either. It might just be duets like Simon and Garfunkel. Since adolescence, I normally spend my time coordinating, unable to focus only on the main sound!

An adventure with Tony Green, herself a supporting vocalist for Al Green, Isaac Hayes or Ann Peebles, with whom she recorded “Milk & Green” (2014) and later toured is definitely one of the experiences you’ve counted on your journey.

Julie : It was an extraordinary experience! She is the first and so far only woman we have accompanied. Despite her impressive resume, it is strange that she did not really seek to coach us, but rather completely trusted us. His sense of style, mastery of stage, sense of improvisation, and freedom were a powerful inspiration.

Lawrence : We had the opportunity to perform great scenes with Tony: Jazz Vienne, North Sea Jazz Festival, Jazz à Sète, Jazz en Marciac, Nuits de Fourvière … Another significant experience was accompanying Cortes Salgado at Rendez-Vous de l ‘ Erdre in 2017. All this was done in a very short time. Except for Fabrice Biswat, we didn’t play with any of the musicians. Everything had to be worked out in advance with one rehearsal, the day before the concert. The satisfaction of experiencing this moment collectively was equal to the adrenaline rush! Leaving the podium, we were all smiling. It was a moment full of joy and happiness.

How do you define your place in the creative process with the groups and artists you are or have been brought in to work with?

Lawrence: Most of the time, backing vocals have already been considered by the leader or group. With Malted Milk, Arnaud and Igor did this work except for the last composition where Marco Cinelli, in addition to being the author, wrote absolutely fantastic choirs! And the rest of the time, if we had more freedom, we suggest and the musicians act!

Julia: And it also happens that we do not take part in recording the album, but are called to concerts, so it remains to pick up and adapt the choirs on the stage, the sounds we choose so that they sound together, in short, a little work of arrangement. And at other times, we have some instructions for preparing the choirs, the moments in which they should intervene, and the ambience required. Finally, it is exactly the same work as the copper section.

Laurence Le Bacon, Julie Dumoulin, Cahors Blues Festival 2019 © Christophe Moreau

“The fact of forming choirs makes it possible to acquire accuracy in singing, to develop the ear, and thus to be always more attentive.”

Lawrence Le Bacon

You are also a lead singer in your own projects [The String Breakers, LLB et Nuca Swing Gangpour Laurence, Julie Dumoulin Quartet pour Julie]. How does your experience as a choreographer fuel your lead role and vice versa?

Lawrence : The best lead singers are not necessarily the best backup singers. The fact of the formation of choirs makes it possible to gain accuracy in the song, develop the ear and, accordingly, always pay attention. My lyric has become more fluid and effective precisely because being a Corster forces you to step in at the most appropriate moment. I am fortunate to have Julie by my side and she is an excellent percussionist, which brings me a lot rhythmically as well. In a tribute to the Aretha that we have been developing since 2019 with Fabrice Biswat, Cedric Le Goff, Yan Cuyo and Igor Pichon, for the first time in my life, I find myself in the position of lead singer accompanied by three female artists: Julie, of course, Louise VO and Fabiola Roy. That’s a big boost!

Julie : Learning to sing in a chorus helps to realize the idea of ​​balance. I spend my time looking for what I call a “bubble”: I feel comfortable and only happy if I hear a mix where all the sounds are the same size and the same intensity. In short, a potion story where it is necessary to know if we are present enough. I think all of this subtly feeds into my experience as a group leader. And what I can glean from my experience as a lead singer for choirs is self-confidence, managing stage fright, my attitude on stage, ability to adapt to less comfortable situations, and a certain interaction with the audience.

A final word on how you envision things moving forward.

Julie : We are used to the fact that it may take three weeks or six months before we can play together again with this or that team. Ten years later, we’ve been able to take happiness wherever it is, in having fun and sharing. There is no more frustration, it does not matter if it does not continue. It probably takes a little experience to get there.

Lawrence : We’ve never had a career plan! Within ten years, young singers appeared in Nantes, Rennes, etc. We totally understand that the groups we sing or sing to invite other singers for other colors, other aesthetics, and other madness pills. But projects keep popping up on a regular basis and we just want it to continue that way. Continuing with Malted Milk, getting involved in somewhat occasional adventures like we’ve been able to do with Alexis Evans or the Lowland Brothers or Denis Agenet & Nolapsters, throwing concerts and going to the studio, it kind of makes us shake!

interview by Nicolas Deshais In June and July 2022.
Opening photo: Julie Dumoulin and Laurence Le Bacon © Louise VO

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