I’m sure most bands have very interesting stories about how their musical groups came to fruition. Others, I imagine, are much more normal. July Talk almost certainly falls into the former category. Peter Dreimanis had just come back from Europe with his band, and was sitting, drunk, in a Toronto bar, paying very little attention to the guitar that was being passed around, until it landed in the hands of Leah Fay, who also was semi-drunk. From there, this love child of Johnny and June and Tom Waits grew into an epic, gender-defying art spectacle. They also added three members to their group.
What sets July Talk apart from other bands is their two lead singers. The band is centered about the vocals of Dreimanis and Fay and their dual personas. Performance is key for these guys. I don’t just mean the musical aspect of it. No, for them, performance includes everything: juxtaposing different gender roles, waging wars, exercising demons, frantic shouting, all the way to soft and mellow tunes. They even once performed a show in drag. (As Fay explained it, she dressed as Dreimanis, while the four guys in the band pretended to be her). It was fun but, Fay says, they aren’t likely to do it again anytime soon.
The key idea, according to Fay, is conversation. That’s what the band has always been about and having two leads singers allows them to do that. Although they are now a full-fledged five-piece, adding guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton and drummer Danny Miles, many of the band’s influences are artists, choreographers and filmmakers. Musically, one of Fay’s biggest inspirations is Karen O, lead singer of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This applies both to her music, and to a lesser extent, her fashion sense.
Their self-titled debut album was released on October 16, 2012 through White Girl Records. It features some great musicians – including Dreimanis’ longtime friend Eamon McGrath, in whose backing band Dreimanis is a member of. McGrath’s music, including his most recent albums – Young Canadians, and Pegasus – is also worth a listen. July Talk has a very unique sound and it serves them well.
RIYL: Tom Waits, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Matt Mays, No Sinner
For dates and showtimes visit http://www.whitegirlrecords.com/july-talk