Interview: July Talk
[ROCK] July Talk is one of those bands you don’t come across every day. They’re that unique, illuminated gem set apart from the pile of monotonous musical artists you’ve seen repeatedly trying to emulate groups from the past while dubbing themselves originals. This five-piece band, which formed in Toronto in 2012, takes the art of making music and the presentation of that music to a whole new level—all while maintaining an authentic vision that is unlike any other band currently on the scene. The dichotomy between the two main vocalists, Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay, is fiery and carries onto the stage during live shows. The rest of the band comprises guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton, and drummer Danny Miles, all respectable musicians in their own right. The band recently released their second studio album, Touch, which is a step in a different and wise direction for the band, as we hear them explore new themes and use more of what they’re capable of musically. They come to Town Ballroom on Friday, December 16. Dreimanis and Fay were kind enough to speak with The Public about their newest album and what makes July Talk tick.
Can you describe the moment when July Talk was first formed?
Leah: We all kind of came together in different ways. Peter and Josh [Warburton] went to film school together. I believe they decided to quit on the same day to start a film company. They worked together for years making music videos for other bands. Peter and Danny [Miles], our drummer, had been on tour in another band called Mohawk Lodge and knew each other through music. Peter and I met at a bar one night and we were strangers, but kind of met through the pretense of music because I was playing some songs that night and then Peter played some songs. We decided to get together and talk music. Ian was just one of the greatest guitar players in Toronto. He plays in a legendary cover band called Dwayne Gretzky.
How would you say the dynamic between you two has changed going into the second album?
Peter: We know and trust each other more. I think we’re probably speaking more together rather than yelling at each other. Most of the songs, instead of being conversational and argumentative, this record has kind of shifted into more us standing together and looking at and talking about the world. Whereas in the beginning, we were just learning how to write between people, how to merge these two voices that didn’t really sound alike. We were so fascinated with the idea that my voice was low and Leah’s voice was higher, and now that’s kind of boring for us, so we wanted to kind of take a step and keep that symmetrical arrangement, but allow for different ways of singing together. We always write as a five-piece and I think the sound of the band kind of progressing and maturing allowed the dynamic between us to do the same in sort of an organic way.
How would explain the overall theme and feel of your second album?
Leah: I think it’s mainly about human connection. The thing I think that’s important in life is connecting with each other on a human level. Things like consumption, consumerism, screens—we have a song that kind of tackles pornography—it’s just all these things that force us to turn away from each other and turn in on our screens or whatever it is—distractions. We kind of started seeing touch as this undeniable and imitate-able thing and decided to kind of put it on a pedestal and named the album Touch.
I’ve seen your live shows many times and I must admit, you’re one of the most entertaining bands to watch. What are some of your favorite moments from performing live?
Peter: There was this one time where I fell onto my back and I was leaning back onto my knees, and Leah and I were sort of close to the front of the stage at an outdoor festival. I sort of scooched up so that the back of my head laid off the side of the stage and I was looking upside down at the whole crowd. Leah had her foot on my chest and I was trying to scream and it was just a really interesting moment. I felt a certain connectivity to the audience seeing them all upside down. Leah had taken this control, which was a cool opportunity to present our physical embodiment and sort of the gender flip of something where you’ve seen a lot of oppression from the patriarchy over the last thousand of years. Whenever we have a chance to flip that on it’s ass, it’s pretty special to give those sort of images.