July Talk is the summer fling that will carry on long after festival season ends.
“We’ve been able to travel the country, connect with people, and have people connect with us. We’re feeling pretty damn good about that,” says Peter Dreimanis, July Talk’s rough-and-tumble singer and guitarist. Now they’re taking their show to the festival circuit, making them a must-see this summer.
A year after the band’s birth, the Toronto-based group is already being noticed for their unreal live shows, creative bluesy sound and their lead singer’s magnetism. Fronted by Dreimanis and Leah Fay, a duo with undeniable chemistry, July Talk is rounded out by Ian Docherty on guitar, Josh Warburton on bass and Danny Miles on drums.
“I think it feels like we’ve all gotten through our first year of marriage to each other and we’ve all become really close, closer than we thought we could,” says Dreimanis, who describes the group as a cohesive mix of heavy blues, Americana and indie-rock, with unexpected contrasts.
Dreimanis says something about the band’s dynamic just clicks. “The physicality of the performance is really integral for us,” he says. “If you don’t care, the audience won’t either.”
Fay’s clean, crisp voice sweetens Dreimanis’s husky Tom-Waits-like growl. The stage turns into a battlefield as the pair vie for both the audience’s attention and each other’s affections.
Seductive and coy, Fay flirts with the front row, taunting Dreimanis, who eyes her hungrily and tries to nuzzle in. When she pushes him away, he channels the rejection down into his guitar, shredding his fingers against the strings like cheese on a grater. He screams, pulls his hair, hits himself in the face, loses control.
Fay, meanwhile, makes sure they don’t lose the audience. “I’m trying to look at them and have a connection, get a read for things like, ‘Are you guys okay? Is it too loud? Can I help you in some way? Is Peter scaring you?’ I’m trying to bridge the gap and reach out and feel what they’re feeling and try to connect as much as possible.”
While the connection between Fay and Dreimanis is genuine, whether or not they are romantically involved is left to the imagination. “People see the way we look at each other and kind of fill in the blanks,” Dreimanis says. “It is vague” adds Fay.
Since the band formed in 2012, July Talk has opened for such heavyweights as Sam Roberts Band, the Arkells and Matt Mays. They’ve completed their first major cross-country tour, and are starting to headline their own gigs.
“Creatively we’re kind of in a spot right now that I’ve always wanted, or I’ve always considered unattainable,” Dreimanis says. “We are completely in it – writing and creating what we are living and vice versa,” he says. Now they are gearing up for festivals, a U.S. tour and their second album.
Fay says the band will continue with their goals of making music, creating worthwhile art and poking fun at male genitalia for as long as it feels right.
“I always say, ‘Do it until the dick jokes aren’t funny.’ And it’s like, they’re still funny.”
This article originally appeared in Mixtape’s 2013 Summer Festival Guide. Once again this summer, July Talk will travel across the country playing festivals from coast to coast.
July 3 – Festival D’ete, Quebec City, QC
July 4-6 – TURF Festival, Toronto, ON
July 11 – Ottawa Bluesfest, Ottawa, ON
July 12 – Big Red Festival, Charlottetown, PEI
July 13 – Rock The Shores, Victoria, BC
July 18 – Superspike, Winnipeg, MB
July 24 – Rock The Park, London, ON
August 1-3 – Osheaga, Montreal, PQ
August 8 – Squamish Festival, Squamish, BC
August 9 – Wapiti, Fernie, BC
August 23 – Bulkley Valley Exhibition, Smithers, BC
August 30-31 – XFest/Sonic Boom, Calgary/Edmonton, AB
Photos: Mixtape/Scott Blackburn