Does Peter Dreimanis know he is a doppelganger of Hollywood actor and star of Boardwalk Empire, Steve Buscemi?
“Yeah. I heard that a few times”, says Dreimanis, “ It’s the big eyes. I hope I am bringing some new light into this”.
Co-fronting the five-piece with Leah Fay, Dreimanis and co are July Talk and they ain’t your average rock band. Let’s start with Dreimanis’ vocals. Picture a harsher sounding Tom Waits. Add the ‘I have done no wrong’ pure vocals of Leah Fay for a beautiful contrast. Throw in the Self Titled debut featuring radio hits Paper Girl and Guns + Ammunition. Top it off with one of the most high-energy live shows. 2013 has seen the band play the Edgefest and endless headlining and opening slots including upcoming Edge Jingle Bell Rock show with Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls. Not too bad for a band that got started in 2012.
I had a chance to chat with Peter about his pre-show ironing ritual, survival tips for touring and doing a Christmas song with his idol Nick Cave.
You must go through a lot of shirts though. Since today is Black Friday, do you have plans of bulk shirt purchasing?
“Maybe I should do that. To be honest though, my shirt size is not super common. When I go to buy them, there is usually one or two. Four if I am super lucky. Then, I can buy all of them and have them ready for the show. It is a bit of ritual before the show.”
Your pre-show ritual is unpacking a fresh shirt and ironing it. Right?
“I am hoping that sometime I will have an ironing board because a lot of these back alley places we play, there is no ironing space, so I have to iron on the floor.”
Perhaps you can ask for an ironing board in your rider?
“Or just a freshly pressed white shirt”
Freshly pressed white shirt size 14 ½?
“Certainly, you have done your research!”
My research also says you like your coffee decaf and double double. How are you so wild on stage with decaf?
“When I drink too much caffeine, I feel disgusting and I can’t drink enough beer to make it go away. A lot of the adrenaline definitely helps when playing a show. For me, I also do a shot of rye before going on stage. There are no weak personalities in the band, so I am often feeding off the guys or whatever crazy thing Leah does. I can’t imagine a show where I am not fully committed.”
You have been touring endlessly in 2013. Do you have survival tips?
“Being in a band is survival, and that’s the best way to put it. We started to realize small things we can do on the road to feel new. We try to sing karaoke and stay in hotels with pools so we can swim. These little things make you feel like you are at home or you have a routine. For the longevity of the band to continue, we have to treat our bodies better. With Leah coming in the fold, I have become more conscious of that. Before I met her, I used to treat my body like absolute garbage. She has shown me that it is possible to party hard and have a great time. But, treating your body with a bit more respect and knowing what it needs every morning and what it needs throughout the day. We fucking party hard on the road but more calculated than it used to be.”
When you are playing shows, you have talked about wanting to get your audience out of the comfort zone. What do you mean by that?
“I think that it’s important to be reacting when you play instead of repeating. If I entered a space and we did our thing every night, and it didn’t change based on who we played to, that’s not us. For us, it is about interacting with the audience every night and doing something honest and pushing those boundaries. We want them to feel that they are included in the space.
You don’t want it (craziness) to come off as an act. At the same time, I can’t picture myself just going up there, standing with a guitar and look cool. It is a lot more fun to go out and drop the gloves, Canadian hockey reference there, and feel like you are contributing to the space.”
Since you mentioned hockey, I have to ask if your hockey allegiances have shifted because you grew up in Edmonton and moved to Toronto?
“I am a diehard Oilers fan! I will admit that Brian Burke has built hell of a team here and I enjoy watching them play. But, I will never not be an Oilers fan. “
Josh (Warburton) and you have a production company called Vulture Culture films, that has done music videos for July Talk and other stellar bands like Silverstein, Born Ruffian, Cancer Bats, etc.
“It is awesome! Working on our own project has been especially fun because whatever we say goes. Also being able to work with our talented friends in film is awesome. We have had friends in films for so many years, and now we are starting to get to a point where we can call them and ask what they want to do with this idea or find out their vision. It becomes more of a community project. “
Story of how you met Leah is a Hollywood movie waiting to be produced. Who plays both of you in the movie?
“I would rather put out a documentary on this. I don’t even know where to start. How about Cate Blanchett?”
She plays you or Leah?
“She plays me! For Leah, she could be played by Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo & Juliet era. Not the current Leonardo, but his baby face from Romeo & Juliet days would be a good fit for Leah. “
You are a big Nick Cave fan. If both of you could do a duet to a Christmas song, you choose?
“To a Christmas song? How about Silent Night? I think we could rock Silent Night.”