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Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis are the theatrical, raucous voices of July Talk.
The Toronto five-piece, who formed in 2012, is completed by guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton and drummer Danny Miles. Together, they write and record, shoot and edit every last second of music and film they put out under the July Talk name. Fundamentally, this creative output is focused on an aesthetic of opposites. Opposites that are easily illustrated by the band's two singers. Dreimanis from the country, Fay from the city; he a baritone and a show-off, she excitable but circumspect. One you cannot ignore, the other you’ll be glad you noticed. As it turns out, they almost missed each other completely.
“Peter and I met at a west-end bar in Toronto,” recalls Leah of the night the strangers struck up an impromptu singalong. “He was a tornado of a human who couldn't sit still. He sung like a man 60 years older than he looked.”
It’s a voice producers for the American TV show Walking Dead loved enough to commission for a rasping cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Bad Moon Rising’. It's a weathered, slow-builder that shows off the character of Peter's voice.
“Leah intimidated me,” Dreimanis admits of their first meeting in the bar that night. “I heard her sing and she sounded unaffected. She wasn't trying to make everyone in the room ‘notice’ her voice. She sang like she spoke; confidently and quietly.” Confidently enough to be named one of Canada's top front people of all time by the CBC (Canada's BBC).
Though Leah spurned Peter’s request for her number that night, his energy meant he didn’t give up. He tracked her down again and sent her some of his music. She couldn't stop listening to it and an artistic bond was formed. He introduced her to his long-time bandmate Danny Miles, his favourite local guitarist Ian Docherty and local filmmaker/musician Josh Warburton and they began to establish a sound dictated by harsh dynamics, fitted around the contrast between the two vocalists.
The band's video output is equally as dramatic. The short film that accompanies Summer Dress, the title track from their upcoming EP (released June 1st), gives a glimpse of their explosive live shows but also shows the precision with which they present themselves. It's shot in black and white. It's beautifully lit. It's sexy. It's like the most raucous Calvin Klein ad you'll ever see. Fundamentally, though, it's a window on both front-people's fizzing energy.
In March of this year, July Talk were nominated at the Juno Awards (Canada’s equivalent of the Grammys) alongside bands like Arcade Fire. They performed at the gala and gave a glimpse of the combustible, occasionally unhinged, live shows that have sent them from playing sweaty 500 capacity shows to the stages of some of the biggest festivals in Canada in 2014. It's a show that they're about to bring to the UK for the first time in London and at Dot to Dot festival.
As Peter and Leah explain, July Talk go the extra mile to blow crowds away.
“It’s because at our first rehearsals I felt entirely lost without a guitar in my hands," Leah explains. "I would climb on things, hang from the ceiling, fuck with the lights and ram myself into the guys. The live shows have that same ‘anything goes’ vibe.”
“There’s fake blood, spilled wine, all male wet t-shirt contests...” says Peter. “We never rehearse any stage interaction because we're interested in spontaneity: we let the show have a mind of its own. We're simply holding hands in the middle of the hurricane.”