CATCHING UP WITH JULY TALK: Tour So Far and Life After 'Touch'
    • MONDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2016

    • Posted by: Kirsten Spruch

    We spoke with July Talk right when their sophomore album, Touch came out, and when we found out that they were in New York one month later, we decided to catch up with the band to see how they were doing since then. Set to support Nothing But Thieves at Irving Plaza last week, we met up with lead vocalists Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis at the venue before the show to find out how tour has been treating them, how the record has been sitting with their fans, and what's coming up next for the group. Unsurprisingly, they were some of the nicest, most welcoming people we have ever had the opportunity to speak with.

    KIRSTEN SPRUCH: It was just your birthday yesterday [laughs].


    KS: What was it like spending it on tour?

    PD: It was fun. I can't remember the last one that wasn't on tour, to be honest. It was really fun, it was the first day off we had after 14 straight shows. And the night after the 17th show, in Columbus, we'd been touring with Nothing But Thieves and The Rex and Karen, our tour manager, got a cake. And Leah got a cake surrounded by lottery tickets [laughs] and came into the room and surprised everybody and we all partied till the mid-morning and then just had an awesome day. It was really, really great. Just driving with my best friends on the highway. Birthdays are a funny thing, it's mandatory that your friends have to tell you they love you. We do birthdays right on tour.

    KS: And tonight is your last day on tour with Nothing But Thieves?

    LEAH FAY: Yeah.

    KS: How do you feel about that?

    LF: It's a little sad. We had a super fun time with them. They're super duper nice people and they're obviously an inspiring band to watch.

    KS: What's it like seeing them live every night?

    PD: It's been a real fun experience to learn from just watching them. Conor [Mason] is an incredible vocalist in an effortless way, the same way that Thom Yorke is, where it doesn't really seem like hes pushing himself, but he just flies and dances. And Joe [Langridge-Brown], I love Joe's guitar playing and songwriting skills. We really hit it off with them as buds, so I don't think it'll be the last time we do shows together.

    KS: On the topic of tour, I saw on Twitter that you guys just don't like scalpers.

    PD: Don't like scalpers.

    LF: We don't like scalpers. The worst.

    KS: There are artists like Adele and Tom Waits that are trying to come up with ways to combat scalpers. What do you think of all these artists going against them?

    PD: It's so hard to do, but it is brilliant. I went and saw Tom Waits, in Columbus actually, ten years ago or something, and you had to bring in the credit card you bought the ticket with. Now with apps, you can make it a little bit stronger. There have been certain leading ticketing companies, I'll say, that have been pretty slow to the punch. There's a company in Canada that we're going to try to start working with, at least for our tours there. Right now, our tours elsewhere are opening slots, so it's not necessarily up to us, but when we're selling out shows really quickly in Canada, it's not fair for people to have to deal with that. To be honest, I can't really think of anything that irks me more than someone standing outside of a venue, or worse yet, just online, selling these tickets for ten times their value when we're embarrassed about the original value. We wish all our shows could be free. We wish we could do that, but obviously that's our only avenue of keeping our van on the road. But it's so frustrating, makes me want to throw up [laughs].

    KS: So last time we spoke, your album, Touch, just came out. Now that it has been out for about a month or so, how has it been sitting with you and your audience?

    LF: It's been great. I think we were in Amsterdam on the night that it dropped and we got to play a set that was heavy with the new songs. We've always really connected with German and Dutch audiences because they really listen and absorb what you're doing and want to talk to you honestly afterwards about it. We have nothing against people getting wasted at our shows and having the best time [laughs], but it was nice to have critical feedback when it first came out. Now we've been playing a shorter set with these guys so we're just trying to make the best impression possible.

    PD: The truth is you don't have that much of a feedback scenario when you're on tour. It did really well sales-wise, but I don't know what that means, with streaming and stuff like that. Our management is happy, but we try to keep our thoughts away from that and just move forward with every show we play. I think Canada will give a lot more direct kind of feedback because the whole tour is totally sold out.

    KS: You said the songs on Touch were conceived on tour, is that right?

    LF: A lot of them, yeah.

    KS: So, playing them now when you're actually on tour -- does it feel like going back to your roots?

    PD: It absolutely does, for me. We were not on the road for a year making the record, and it feels like going back, one hundred percent.

    LF: We all almost went crazy [laughs], not being on the road. It's become the norm. It was really weird to be off the road and think "what am I doing with my life?!"

    PD: Yeah, I think playing the song "Touch" on stage just feels like -- we're doing it tonight with Conor from Nothing But Thieves, he's coming up and singing with us which is really special -- and I feel like that's the song where we kinda got into something. We grabbed onto what we were trying to grab onto so hard by making the record, and playing it live is just the most incredible experience. It's the closest we get to a spiritual experience while playing because its this long build and were really trying our best to bring the crowd towards us. "Beck + Call" is another one I'm really enjoying.

    KS: You've mentioned that you felt like part of you was born again when you saw The Constantines live about ten years ago and that with your music, you want to make people feel the same way they made you feel. Do you feel like you have accomplished that?

    PD: I have no idea. I don't think that Bryan Webb has any idea of how he made people feel, you know? I think that any compliment that anyone can give you when you walk off stage bounces off of you because you cant accept that as a reality. I hope that there's been moments on stage with July Talk where we've really left our mark on that stage. We've played a lot of historical venues where I feel like we really added to the story, and maybe the people in the room felt that way. I think there's a lot of people that have been affected by it.

    LF: I don't think anyone has any concept of the thing they're putting out and how it's being received or how it's affecting people's lives. Like, Neko Case tweeted last night for feedback from people online asking "how do you deal with rage?" And people were tweeting back with things like "smash things" or "go listen to screamo," and she was like "I have to specify, I'm in a hotel room right now, so I can't really be loud," and I was just like "Man, I just watch Neko Case interviews when I'm feeling angry about things."

    KS: And she has no idea.

    LF: Yeah! And I'd say she probably has no idea that just by being her -- it's like that Yoko Ono quote, "you make the world a better place just by being in it," and it's so simple, and it's so Yoko, but it's so true. Just like what you [Peter] say, Bryan Webb obviously has no idea of the effect he's had on music that's being made. I don't think that anyone ever really knows.

    KS: You are making very danceable rock music and there's a lot of choreography and drama in your videos and your show. Do you think it's important to incorporate all of those aspects into rock music?

    PD: Yeah. First off, music should have the power to move you. You should be able to feel music in your body. As we're writing, we're often saying -- and I think our producer has pushed us to do this even more -- "where do you feel that groove?" and "where are we putting this danceability? Do we want it in our torso?" Which is like "Beck + Call," which feels very torso driven, which is how a lot of the video came to be. Whereas "Push + Pull" is more in the hips. Leah obviously gave us the courage to involve the choreography because of her background in dance. I think Danny and Josh really wanted the backend to feel like Michael Jackson, to feel like those really smart danceable feelings. I think it plays really well into that humanity aspect, right?

    KS: You see that in your videos too, the way you guys dance. Like in "Beck + Call," the way you guys contort your bodies. It was dancing, but it was a different kind of dancing.

    LF: I went to school for contemporary dance and I've been dancing my whole life. The body has always been a reference point for understanding concepts, theories, emotions, and the world around me. It's the only way I know how to explain to people how I'm feeling or the effect something is having on me. So, I'd say the creation of Touch and the openness everyone had to that kind of dialogue made me feel so comfortable in that area. It's the human body, we all have the human body, it's not like a language specific to dancers or anything. It's the one thing we all have in common. I think that there are so many moments in the album that feel like breath and feel like heartbeat and feel like blood and those are words that we use to try to explain what we feel on stage and what we feel when we're writing and what we feel in day to day life for the past four years, since we released the first album. And Touch, that's where it comes from, what it all comes back to.

    KS: Where do you think you'll be next year?

    PD: It's so hard to know.

    LF: I think we'll probably still be on the road. Just because we can't really seem to get off it and the world is so big and we wanna see all of it. As long as it will take us, I think we'll continue to ride the tour.

    PD: I think it's all so up in the air right now, you know? You drop your second record, and this is the first time we ever had a record come out on the same day everywhere in the world, and it's going super well in Europe and everything's going well. We've realized so gradually that nothing in this industry happens gradually. You're slowly building, but then something happens, and it's just luck, or it's just this, or it's just that, and all of a sudden you take a massive step up. So I guarantee we'll be in a band together, I guarantee we'll be on the road, but I have no idea where the project will be at. That's kinda the fun part about it, I guess.

    Also check out that time we caught the band at Brooklyn Bowl:

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