Once again it comes down to craft.
I’ve begun to see a pattern in the conversations I have on this show, whether it’s Deni Gauthier or Tyler Jon Olson or now Danny Miles. These people who are operating at high levels – who are improving in their chosen fields – seem to be concerned first and foremost with craft.
For Danny Miles, drummer of the very popular band July Talk, it’s about learning to play the band’s current material better each and every night. It’s about applying new levels of ability and wisdom to their new songs as they’re writing them. It’s not about Juno awards and world tours. All of that is a byproduct of that other more essential thing and it shows.
It’s a lesson that keeps coming up and is worth paying attention to.
My first experience of Danny Miles and July Talk was at the Lachie Festival outside Hagersville, Ontario in 2014. My band Hiroshima Hearts was on the second stage. After we played our set, we got to go over to the main stage – literally on the main stage – and watch the headlining bands play. There I saw July Talk for the first time and it was an education. Even then they were obviously a band to watch. They had their look together, their songs together, their show together. I learned a lot that day about the difference between local indie bands and touring bands.
July Talk has come a long way since then, including winning Junos and doing world tours. Danny, though, remains a humble guy, just like the Jason Taits and Dave Benedicts and Sarah Tomeks of the podcast. He’s grateful for his success, but continues to work on improving, which is such an inspiration. I’ve chatted with him several times over the past few years. He was born and raised in London and returns often for various reasons. He also plays in the city’s clubs with his side project, Tongue Helmet. As we’re both YC Drum Company players, we also share a certain bond.
Funny side story: Sarah Smith took me to Europe two years ago for a month-long tour. I’m not a YC artist, but I still asked Jordan Gauthier of YC whether he had a kit available in Europe that I might use on the tour. He said he did, but it was booked for that month. Who had it booked?
Danny, of course, with July Talk.
I had a great time talking with Danny about how he got his start, how he approaches drums, and some of the cool stuff he’s been able to do because he chased his dream in music (hanging out with The Edge and Adam Clayton comes to mind). We also talked about his second passion: bird photography, which he says has earned him more press than July Talk has. It’s an interesting hobby that has spawned his Drummers Who Love Birds project and produced some breath-taking photographs.
It’s always inspiring to see someone break through and make it happen, especially when that person has done so with humility and gratitude. It’s also nice for someone like me to know that people at even his level still struggle sometimes with insecurity and self-consciousness. His approach to those things is both instructive and productive: head down and get to work.
Enjoy this episode!
Follow Danny at:
Follow the show at:
Or just listen right here:
And now, some July Talk: