July Talk on inspiring young voters, their unique brand of rock and roll, and live shows that make audiences worry for their sanity.
July Talk (Sunday, 12:55 p.m., Altar) is good people. They’ve made headlines recently for an initiative designed to inspire young Canadians to get out and vote in the federal election. Fans who took photos of themselves at the ballots tagged with #julytalkvotes would receive a personal call from the group. It was a reaction to the low voter turnout in the age group they typically play for, 18-24 year olds.
“Candidates can be alienating if you don’t fit into certain demographics, or locations, and we felt that even if we make one person vote who wasn’t going to, that’s worth it,” singer Leah Fay explains. Regarding the attention the band received for their efforts, singer Peter Dreimanis was modest, noting, “We’re off album cycle so we’re not looking for press right now, so it's nice that people will [write about the band], but it's more for us to just get people out and voting.”
July Talk has never been about short-fuse efforts. The band has a distinct visual and aural aesthetic that is a testament to durable production. Dreimanis and bassist Josh Warburton ran a video production company for years before establishing a band. With July Talk, they quickly realized they could “create music for the videos, and establish a signature style for ourselves that felt cohesive,” Dreimanis says. The most prominent feature in every video is the black and white filter, which was initially meant “to represent the two voices and the opposites-attracting vibe” of their music. Now, the meaning of the visual aesthetic has grown to also reflect an appreciation for timelessness.
Although they pay homage to the past with their music videos, July Talk actively subverts expectations with music they call “a conversational rock and roll experiment.” According to Dreimanis, “We want to expand on the traditional duet and do something interesting that presents two sides to every conflict. We’re still chasing that chaos, that feeling everyone had when they played in their first band.”
Lay adds, “We view ourselves as a blue collar rock 'n' roll band with the loudest louds and the quietest quiets.” Their voices are sweet and savory, undergirded by poetic lyrics that are at once combative and seductive.
July Talk is excited to bring its sound to New Orleans, though the band members are no strangers to the city. Dreimanis remembers a night when the group came upon a Big Freedia show in the French Quarter that was utter pandemonium. “New Orleans is the closest thing to communal anarchy," he says. "It’s North America’s Berlin, and we can’t wait to get back there.”
When they do return, audiences can expect July Talk’s singers to never say no. “There’s an immense amount of trust there," Dreimanis says. "Everything from Leah duct taping my face around so I can’t see anything, to jumping on top of each other. We’re constantly reacting to the song and bringing as much energy into the room as possible. People like Iggy Pop or Patti Smith--they leave absolutely everything on the stage. At the end, you’re worried for their health and their sanity. We do our best to bring that to the stage and to each other in the most confrontational way possible."