Five minutes with July Talk

A quick Q&A session following the Tunes Against Tuition concert

After the 2014 Tunes Against Tuition concert, I lingered around in hopes of getting five minutes of face time to chat with July Talk. They did not disappoint me. In-between snacking on fruit, tortilla chips and hummus, they answered my questions.

Q: You guys put on an incredible show. The audience participation factor is huge. So, Leah, did you plan to jump down there?

Leah: I just felt like doing it. It’s not a thing that we ever think about. It would be so boring if we just went up there and did the same thing every night. We are a band that believes in that. We don’t try to miss notes or words, or plan that. But the spontaneity and rawness is something that we thrive on and something we need.

Peter: We want to create an environment where the audience isn’t just watching us. We are watching them a bit. They are under as much pressure as we are. Whenever that tension is created they aren’t in this safety net. We’ve all gone to shows where you can sit in the back of the room and not really be noticed. For us, we want to have that feedback and participation from all of them.

Q: If you couldn’t be musicians, what would you end up doing?

Peter: I’d be making films.
Josh: A filmmaker as well. That may still happen.
Danny: I did paramedics in school.
Leah: I’d be working in the realm of contemporary dance, or choreographing hip-hop videos. Because that’s where the money is.
Ian: I’d be doing the same thing, but more ballet oriented. No, I have no idea. I’d probably have to be making music.

Q: Your lead vocals are incredibly contrasting. When you started, did that happen organically, or did you have to work at it? How did this dynamic come about?

Peter: We started really simple. It was like verse for Leah, verse for me, or open on the chorus. Like “In the Garden,” for instance, it’s pretty simply oriented. What Josh brought up early on that was really cool about the voice contrasting, is when we broke the sections down into a one-line. It’s more conversational and back and forth. It never came together as trying to push our voices apart, they just were that far apart and we decided to use it.

Peter: A lot of it is born out of necessity. When we started, the reason our band was dynamic was because we had a really shitty sound system and we couldn’t hear Leah when she sang. So when Leah sang, it meant that Danny played differently, we all came down a little, so we could hear her. It helped us create music that we wouldn’t have otherwise. It was the same with the voices. It was about creating a conversational atmosphere and letting the band’s dynamic mimic how different our voices are.

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All photos Kim Anderson/The Omega