Influenced by various Canadian towns and cities, Montreal’s Land Of Talk are an indie rock gem in a bed a full of diamonds. As singer/guitarist Elizabeth Powell told us before their gig in Toronto, the band was created from a passion for music that helps them get out of bed in the morning.
© Jeff Parsons
How did you come up with the name Land Of Talk?
I was talking to a friend about his novel and when he said it was coming along, I sarcastically told him “Oh yeah, we’ll see in this land of talk”. It related to me as a musician because when I moved to Montreal, I got lost in this big city and never really committed to writing and recording stuff. So my friend said that day it would probably be a great band name, which is good because we we’re almost called Branch Mansion.
When did you first get involved in music?
I guess when I was a four-year-old because I took violin lessons and started writing my own stuff. I was easily distracted so instead of sticking to the lessons I always went off course and created my own music. My parents also encouraged my brother and I to be super artistic, so they helped out and even introduced us to musicians like Poison and Michael Jackson.
How did the band first come about?
When I was at university in Montreal I met a lot of musicians, like Richard Perry of Arcade Fire. After a few jams and sending out my tapes, people heard my music and everything happened in a natural way. The band just came to be.
Which artists influence you the most?
I go through different stages and keep collecting influences as the years go by, but definitely The Pixies, Pavement, Fugazi, Fleetwood Mac, Sloan, Sparklehorse and Metric.
Wintersleep or Nirvana?
Wintersleep!!! But I love Nirvana. Wintersleep are still around and I got a chance to hear it and I have to say, I love the new record.
How would you describe your music?
I guess I would say it’s like electric velvet brass. But somebody once said it’s like a fierce yet soft embrace.
Since you noted you lived there for quite sometime, did the city of Guelph have an impact on your songwriting at all?
Yes. Totally. If I had not spent time there, I never would have taken the same path. Like there was something in the water there in the mid-90s’ as there was just a lot of talent and live music. Since it was such a vibrant music community there was a lot of positive energy floating around.
What would you say is the saddest song ever written in the world?
Two come to mind. Sun Kill Moon’s “Carry Me Ohio” and Bon Iver’s “Re: Stacks”. Those songs just level me.
Does the band have any plans for a second full-length record anytime soon?
Oh, it’s done as it’s already recorded. It’s ready to come out on August 24. We have a working title, but nothing’s official just yet.
What’s been your favourite show that you’ve played and why?
That is a tough one. I don’t even know if I can answer that. Maybe last year’s Toronto show at The Horseshoe Tavern because I had a few tears in my eyes as the energy just kind of threw me off a bit. The place was packed so it kind of showed us that we reached a certain point as a band.
What’s missing from the Canadian music scene and what does it need less of?
There’s definitely a lack of foreign music, like tunes with influences from other countries. It definitely needs some more hip-hop.
What does music mean to you?
It sort of means everything. The older I get, the more that becomes clear. Maybe almost to a fault as I don’t know how to understand the world unless it’s through my music. It keeps me functional and dysfunctional, but it helps me wake up in the morning.
[What do you think of Land Of Talk?]