Joseph LeMay aka SONTALK
photo by Dustin Condren
Multi-talented Joseph LeMay, better known as SONTALK, writes, sings and performs a nuanced post-modern folk-rock bridging the deeply personal and quietly theatrical. Brewing avalanche-prone emotions, his debut, “Stay Wild,” wraps first-person narratives around grand gestures and smoldering hesitation. Bringing SONTALK to Madison’s High Noon Saloon April 7th opening for Telekinesis, then May 16th at Spring Green’s Shitty Barn with opener Erik Koskinen, Joseph was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions.
MAXIMUM INK: There’s lots of intense reflection in your music - how do you dive so deep without getting burnt out?
JOSPEH LEMAY: Ironically, I think the deep dive is what keeps me from burning out. The more gut wrenching a confession, the more cathartic it is to get it off your chest.
MI: How does your song-writing usually start - a lyric, a lick, a piece of an idea?
JL: It’s all over the place, but generally I’ll get a lyric/melody simultaneous combo idea. They inform each other/depend on each other. Like, the lyrics have to fit the melody and vice versa.
MI: You describe the album as, “a series of open letters the main character leaves for his inner child,” what would you remind your older self to remember from the wisdom you currently have harvested.
JL: Woah! Hmm…I guess I would want to remind my older self that I’ve done a bunch of worthwhile stuff and that it’s okay to feel good about yourself when it’s warranted.
MI: How do you keep things sounding real and fresh when you’ve played these songs a hundred times or more?
JL: Never play it the same exact way twice! The crowd is different every night. So the energy is different. And that always pulls something new out of me and the rest of the band.
MI: You are in Wisconsin twice this year (so far), how would you describe your live show to someone whose never even heard your music?
JL: It’s like Mötley Crüe meets White Snake meets Brene Brown. Just kidding just kidding. I think I would say it’s a loud yet introspective rock show with lots of ups and downs and screams and sweat and guitar solos…Oh and every now and then I’ll bust out some fire jokes and we have a good laugh.
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CD: Stay Wild Record Label: SONY Masterworks
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• Download Stay Wild on Amazon