The Talks began life in the summer of 2006 in the city at the end of the M62 – Hull, in the Yorkshire region of the UK. Their very first demo ‘Teachers‘ received the attention of Hull’s very own song-meister Paul Heaton from the Beautiful South who placed it in the top 10 list for his radio show at the time. The band very quickly got themselves out on the road, travelling the length and bredth of the UK, regulary visiting some of their favourite venues including Alan McGees Death Disco in Nottinghill, Sawyers in Kettering featured in their ‘entertaining’ on tour video of 2007 and The Sesh which was their debut gig and ever favourite hometown show.
The band gathered momentum and while continuing with the touring circus found time to begin recording, initally at the Chapel studios in Lincolnshire with Arctic Monkey’s engineer Ewan Davis who taught the band a lot about their sound and harnessing it in the studio.
At the same time the band were invited on the road by The Beat and Neville Staple of the Specials exposing them to much bigger audiences and shows than they had done before. The band grew to playing bigger venues with a new found confidence. “We always felt too small a unit to manage these” iain once said. There was no room for such modesty on this tour however. Esteemed members of their audience included Phil Jupitus who enthused that “It is good to see that the light still shines bright for music on the Jewel of the Humber” and band icon Mick Jones of the Clash who they were honoured to meet backstage after playing Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
In 2007 the band were also invited along to play the BBC’s introducing stage at Leeds Festival and the same year also appeared at the Glastonbury Festival. One classic festival experience saw the the band trudging for 2 miles across the Glastonbury site, covered in mud only to be heckled by Keith Allan once they reached their stage. Despite their aching legs the band enjoyed a brilliant gig.
The band continued to tour and even ventured into Eatern Europe. The tour quickly ran into financial trouble however with the help of a drunken tour manager who failed to mention that the ‘riders’ the band were drinking were to be payed for out of their earnings. The tour never the less successfully brought the band to a completely new audience.
The Talks once again returned to the UK and in 2008 released their first single, “Picture This“. The song was stylistically, more indie than some of their other material and did not necessarily highlight their ska/reggae roots (which may have resulted in some misleading ‘pigeon-holing’ of the band). However the single did receive many good reviews and a considerable amount of airplay. It is also a sing-along favourite at gigs due to its anthemic chorus. Nowhere was this better demonstrated than at the Freedom Festival in Hull’s Queens Gardens in the summer of 2008 as Pat enlisted the vocal talent of the 8000 strong audience in a rousing chant of “I don’t know if you’re judging me again, I don’t care can we just start over again...”. The gig was in association with ‘Love Music, Hate Racism‘ with whom the band have built up a strong relationship over the years and for whom they have performed on several occassions.
Following on from this the Talks were asked to play with Rancid by Tim Armstrong himself! To quote Pat – “Rancid are one of our favourite bands, we couldn’t believe it!”
The Talks then embarked upon the recording of their debut album “Live now, Pay later” which by their own admission took a while as they were now recording in their own studio. As many perfectionist artists have discovered, this means that everything takes longer! “We kept thinking we could do it better and ended up recording the album 3 times at least, big mistake” Pat said. While this was happening the band continued with dates here and there, joining the Toasters on their tour of the UK. Then the inconceivable happened, The Specials reformed and asked the Talks to join them on the first part of their tour. Pat said “It was unreal to see, but to be invited to play as well was amazing. I must admit though we were keen to get off to get them on, and the audience probably thought the same too.” The second show went even better and the Talks gave a special thanks to long term supporter of the band, the legendary Neville Staple lead singer with The Specials.
The album finally came out in February 2011 with a few UK dates to support it . Upon returning from the tour the band immediately returned to the studio with the recording bug in their system. Spurred on after hearing some trad ska at their Northampton show, they decided to record another single, this time in a completely different vein. “We used double bass, piano, hammond and lots of brass. The aim was to attempt to figure out what made ska music great and pay tribute to a style of music the band loved“.
The product of this is “Cant stand the rain” with bside “why did you bring it up” released on 20th June 2011. This is the third release by the Talks to come out on their own label “All Our Own Records“.