Today marks the last day of July Talk‘s UK Tour. While on the road, we had the opportunity of catching up with the Toronto-based band to discuss near death experiences, playing shows with “no rules”, stage antics, young regret, and signing fans’ phones — enjoy!
AMBY: Hello July Talk, welcome to AMBY! You’re currently on your UK Tour. How’s that adventure treating you all?
July Talk: We love it over here. It’s been our first time over here with this band and we’ve successfully adapted to driving on the left side of the road. That said, it was a learning process of many round-about near death experiences. To be able to play in a country that bred so many of our heroes is a dream. It’s easy to connect artists with their habitats, Brixton’s Clash, Bristol’s Banksy, Manchester’s Joy Division and New Order. It’s really interesting seeing how our show changes with our surroundings. We hope that this is the start of a long friendship with the UK.
AMBY: The band likes to play shows with “no rules” and an “anything can happen” environment. What inspires the drive behind making your shows so theatrical and unforgettable?
July Talk: Well it seems to me that there’s an opportunity in every night for you to decide whether you are going to commit to it or not. Whether you want to allow yourself to be hurled into an evening that you will remember, soaked up by the stage lights and screaming voices or whether you just want to have a few beers and head home. We’re interested in trying to make that commitment available to an audience. We try to create a spontaneous environment where we are in a constant give and take with the audience. Ideally we are reacting to them as much as they are reacting to us.
AMBY: With that said, what’s the craziest thing to happen to you at a gig?
July Talk: Most of the crazy show stories stem from Leah’s on stage antics. We played a festival in Canada and Leah decided to wear a wedding dress and a construction hard hat on stage. I’m talking like a full frill, polyester white dress with a ten foot train on the back. Halfway through the show, she ripped it off and sent it crowd-surfing across the thousands of people. We watched the dress travel over the whole audience. It was a crazy image that I won’t forget. A few minutes after the show, we had a photo sent to us of a guy being escorted out of the festival by the police… He was wearing the dress.
AMBY: How would you compare the North American audiences to the European ones?
July Talk: Well it varies a lot even within Canada and the US. That said, it is amazing to see European audiences reacting to a new band. In North America, people normally go to shows of bands they know, but if you haven’t ever been to a city before, you expect to play to only a few people. The more you go back to the city the more people come out to the show. There is a cool system over here in which Europeans trust promoters and venues to bring in new music. Music lovers aren’t just interested in hearing their favourite song recreated live by their favourite band, they are also excited to see a live band that they have maybe never heard of. There is a few great venues in Canada and the US that have adopted this model but it remains relatively uncommon.
AMBY: You recently released your Summer Dress EP. When creating the release, what was your ultimate goal?
July Talk: Well this is our first release in the UK, Europe and the States. We realized late last year that we had the opportunity to travel with our music and jumped at it. We’re spending the majority of 2014 touring through these new places. If it means that we can keep coming over here for the next few years, it would be a pleasure for us. It’s been a dream to even do it once. I think the EP gives a good introduction to the project.
AMBY: What’s the significance behind the EP’s title, Summer Dress?
July Talk: Well the title track is about letting go of young regret. We all do evil things, the song tries to acknowledge that and not hide from it. The title is trying to illustrate our deliberate ignorance to our own evil side. “She’s my lady in a summer dress” is meant to mimic a sugar-coated statement that hides the truth. Too good to be true? Than it probably isn’t true.
AMBY: What’s the best item a fan has asked you to sign?
July Talk: I always find it strange when people get me to sign their phones. Like are you sure you want me to scribble on that? I have a terrible signature too so I always feel like I’m defacing their property. Obviously you get the body stuff which is hilarious. You feel like a caricature of yourself.
AMBY: If you could choose to have your music featured in any movie or show, which would you choose?
July Talk: I would love to be featured on an HBO drama. I really look up to shows like The Wire and The Sopranos in my film work, so it would be a dream for them to use a July Talk song. I sang on a cover of CCR’s Bad Moon Rising for The Walking Dead. I think it’s online somewhere. It was a really fun experience that I’m looking forward to continuing to explore.
AMBY: Lastly, what’s something about July Talk that nobody knows yet?
July Talk: The entire band is left handed.
Thanks to July Talk, for giving us your answers! For all of our features on the band, click here.
Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout