Dass es noch immer neue Impulse und sonderbare Kombinationen in der großen weiten Musikwelt gibt, beweist das kanadische Quintett July Talk aktuell eindrucksvoll. Wie ich euch bereits mit den Videos zu Guns + Ammunition und Paper Girl demonstriert habe, ist dabei nicht nur die Musik an sich fetzig und zeitlos, sondern vor allem die Kombination der beiden Stimmfarben, das Aufeinandertreffen von Rau und Weich und der entstehende Kontrast darin, das Einzigartige in ihrer Musik.
„It really shouldn’t work, but it does.“
Vergangenen Freitag ist ihr Debütalbum July Talk bei uns erschienen, das ich euch wärmstens empfehlen kann. Peter Dreimanis und Leah Fay, die für den Stimmen-Kontrast verantwortlich sind, stellen sich stellvertretend für die komplette Band dem kurzweil-ICH-Interview und erklären uns nicht nur, wie sie ihre eigene Musik benennen würden, sondern auch, woher ihr Bandname stammt und wer von ihnen gerne Blumen pflückt.
When did you realize, that the totally different voices of Peter und Leah do somehow fit together?
Peter: We recorded a demo in my bedroom called Baby Red. The scope of it was very small, a simple country song. We sent it to a few friends and their excitement justified our own. It really shouldn’t work, but it does. We’ve developed quite an addiction to writing songs for such different voices. It allows us to exaggerate the dynamics. It is as if every room that we step into has a long table in the middle with God at one end and The Devil at the other. No matter which character each voice represents depending on the song, the conversation is never boring.
Is Peter really the aggressive type and Leah the „innocent angel“? I’d like to imagine Leah being on a shooting range and Peter picking up flowers every sunday morning before church. :)
Leah: You’re on the right track except we hate guns and we don’t go to church. It goes without saying that people take comfort in comprehension and fear what they don’t immediately understand. We like to fuck with expectations and that’s what makes our job and our art feel so rewarding to us. We realize people will come see us for the first time and have certain expectations of what we’ll be like. We don’t purposely try to do the opposite of that. That said, like everyone, there is both a raging tornado and a small child inside each of us. So what comes out depends entirely on the day.
Stumbling across your instagram account you almost only see black and White pictures – is this a particular nature of yours? Perhaps even a copy of the contrast in the heard voices – black and white as opposites that come together?
Peter: It was a decision made very early on into the project. Josh, July Talk’s bass player/co-songwriter/music video director and I own a film company in Canada. As we worked with Canadian bands on their videos, we would always dream of having our own band and making the videos as well. So as July Talk began, we wanted a very cohesive visual voice, a theme that would allow an audience to connect to July Talk imagery on an ongoing basis. It felt like people would take our visual representation more seriously if it was all connected. So, we decided from the beginning to only use black and white. We felt this represented the two voiced, high contrast personalities in Leah and I, but also felt like the band could exist in any era while remaining a contemporary project, it wouldn’t feel dated.
I think a lot of people mistake black and white for just looking old, when really it doesn’t. Films like La Heine, Raging Bull or American History X feel like modern stories, regardless of what decade they take place in. Black and white cinematography allows shadow and light to be used totally differently than in colour, the darkest darks and the lightest lights can sit side by side in harmony. On top of this decision, we felt like a lot of bands shy away from featuring the band in their visual content. It was important to us to use strong, sharp and iconic portrait style photography and not cloud the images with projection and blurred atmosphere. David Bailey’s work has been a major influence in everything we’ve done visually.
„it’s chaotic rock and roll experimentation“
In what decade or age would you put your music? Is there a special name you have for it?
Leah: Our band is influenced by the blues, duets and those awe-inspiring legendary performers who we all grew up idolizing. All of those things and people have been around since the birth of popular music so it seems futile to try to connect our music with a certain point in time I think. In terms of a name I guess it’s chaotic rock and roll experimentation. The stage is where we feel most comfortable and able to be ourselves, but we need a crowd to feel vulnerable, present and able to fully engage with each other and our songs. The main goal for the five of us is to do what rock and roll has always set out to do; shake people a bit. Wake them up and make them feel alive for the short time we’re all sharing a room together. We’ve had people bring their grandparents to shows and have had parents send us videos of their kids playing/singing and dancing along to “Paper Girl”. Rock and roll is a language that speaks to everyone’s guts. We just wanna become fluent in it.
How did you come across the band name „July Talk“?
Leah: It was the name of the first song Peter wrote with two voices in mind and is now titled “The Garden”. He played a solo acoustic version of it on the night we first met. “July” made sense because of how simultaneously romantic and tragic the month always is. We want to capture the naivety, wild emotion and lustfulness of a fleeting summer month. “Talk” because the project is conversational and confrontational. We’d been trying desperately to figure out a name and the perfect one was sitting right in front of us. It just stuck.
Your dream band/act to colloberate with?
Peter: Britt Daniel and Jim Eno. They have so much guts. They are the gods of minimalist rock and roll in my books.
Leah: Beyonce on a New York roof-top. Jenny Lewis somewhere in California or Hawaii. Dev Hynes in a secluded winter cabin.
Where do you see July Talk in five years?
Peter: I have no fucking idea. But I’ll tell you what I’m hoping for. I hope, in five years, we all still love each other as much as we do now. Ian, Danny and Josh don’t get nearly enough credit for what they do in this band and I feel so lucky to play with four of my best friends. We get along so well and I realize how rare that is. We all know what this band should sound like. But it is still just inside our heads. I don’t think we’ve recorded it yet. I don’t think we’ve made that exact sound. But I am completely confident that all five of us hear the same thing when we close our eyes. I wish with all of my soul that, in five years, we’re all sitting in silence around studio speakers hearing that exact sound.
Always my last question: „LangweileDich.net“ means something like „BeBored.not“ – what do you do when you feel bored?
Leah: We’re in the middle of a 30 hour 3-flight travel day from Sydney, Australia to Amsterdam. Our final 7 hour flight from Abu Dhabi to Europe was just delayed by 4 hours. We’re not complaining, but we are definitely currently pretty bored. I am writing this interview anxiously awaiting a beer. I’ll likely continue a letter to a friend back home when I’m done. Peter is watching a show beside me. Danny is likely drumming with his fingers on a tray table, Josh is probably playing a video game or reading a science magazine and Ian is likely trying to figure out everyone else in the band’s seat numbers so he can send us dick jokes using the in-flight messaging service.
Thanks for the interview.
Ein Song, den ich noch nicht hatte, ist einer der ersten von ihnen. Das Musikvideo zu Let Her Know musste zwei Jahre warten, bis die Single dann auch endlich im Rahmen der Debütveröffentlichung in die Plattenregale wandern konnte.