Since the release of their highly anticipated sophomore record Touch this past September, Toronto alternative rock band July Talk have, quite literally, travelled the world.
In the band’s own words, however, they are saving the best for last. This means you, Atlantic Canada. While long gone are the days in which the group used to routinely pack Moncton’s intimate Plan b Lounge, the regional support afforded to the band in the earliest stages of their career is something they will never forget.
In advance of July Talk’s sold-out show at Moncton’s Tide & Boar Ballroom, vocalist Leah Fay says their upcoming jaunt through Atlantic Canada is something they have been looking forward to for quite some time.
“We’ve been all over the U.S. and Europe in the last little while, but have been away from the east for longer than we would prefer. This tour is something we’ve all been looking forward to. We are just so excited to be getting back to the east coast. It feels like home. I can’t imagine why any band wouldn’t want to spend as much time there as they could,” Fay says.
Fay’s partner-in-crime in July Talk, guitarist-vocalist Peter Dreimanis, echoes his band mate’s sentiments on the significance of the Atlantic region.
“Performing in Atlantic Canada feels like a fun vacation,” he said. “We were lucky that we started coming to the east coast early in our career and had guys like Matt Mays and so many others lend a hand to make sure the band got heard. The region has a rich history of writers, artists and musicians, so for our band to be welcomed with such open arms, it’s flattering.”
While many groups whose career trajectory has exploded in the same way as July Talk’s has over the last five years might feel inclined to place a priority on playing larger metropolitan centres at home or abroad in lieu of returning to the Maritimes, Dreimanis insists the group is choosing to be faithful to a fan base that has been faithful to them.
“Not coming back to Atlantic Canada isn’t an option for us. There is an honesty, integrity and vulnerability that are constantly front and centre with this band. The notion of our group becoming a ‘big time Toronto band’ that is too good to go somewhere honestly sickens us.”
You could say that July Talk’s humble approach has everything to do with the relatively unassuming way the group came together.
In 2012, Dreimanis had been actively performing with another group, which subsequently ended up going its separate ways. By chance or by fate, he found himself in a Toronto-area bar in which Fay was performing.
Admittedly gobsmacked by her voice, Dreimanis and Fay connected on a musical level, and soon set about making July Talk’s self-titled debut effort.As the group set about completing four cross-Canada tours in 2012 alone, their following began to swell in size, ultimately attracting the band label interest from the U.S. and abroad.
Eventually, their debut record would earn Gold-selling status in Canada, and would also win the group an Alternative Album of the Year Award at Canada’s Juno Awards.
Well aware of the fact they had accomplished more in just a few years than some bands do over the course of their entire career, both Fay and Dreimanis admit feeling a certain amount of pressure when it came time to write what would become the group’s second album, Touch.
“Looking back, we were absolutely feeling as though we were under the gun,” Dreimanis said. “But if you had asked us that when we were in the midst of writing the album, we probably wouldn’t have copped to it. Any artist or musician that has been in the position of making a second album knows all too well that you struggle with the notion that people are going to go through those songs with a fine tooth comb.We never struggled with the sense of losing our place in the community as much as we worried we would somehow be seen as not being worthy any longer. At the end of the day, and in the bigger scheme of things, this album is just another rung on the ladder. All we can do is to move towards climbing the next rung with as much integrity and honesty as possible.”
With shows throughout the U.S. and Europe tentatively scheduled to keep the band on the road for the immediate future – including performances at acclaimed American festivals Sasquatch and Bonnaroo, as well as a sold-out co-headlining show at Toronto’s Budweiser Stage (formerly known as the Molson Amphitheatre) with Arkells – July Talk are already looking forward to album number three.
Expressing a desire to close the more than three-year gap that fell between their first studio albums, the group is hoping to begin flushing out some of the song ideas that have been floating amongst band members.
In the meantime, however, they’ve always got Atlantic Canada rooting for them to come back sooner rather than later.
“I swear that every time we are leaving the east coast, I get a tear in my eye,” Fay said.“Lucky for us, on this upcoming run of shows, we’ve allowed ourselves a couple of extra days so that we can enjoy it as much as we can.”
What: July Talk with special guest Eamon McGrath
When: Thursday April 20, 8 p.m.
Where: The Tide & Boar Ballroom, 700 Main St., Moncton
The show is sold out