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The Damn Truth is a rock & roll band from Montreal consisted of Lee-La Baum (vocals and guitar), Tom Shemer (lead guitar), Dave Traina (drums) and PY Letellier (bass). Tom and Lee-la met at a hippie festival and after that they found Dave and PY. Then, their story began.

Recently, an interesting project of them stood out. That was the music video of their last album’s title track, “Devilish Folk”. The unexpected death of the main “actor” of this project, named Jake, may have caused them grief, but they wanted to complete it with the contribution of Mikael Theimer, who is the “brain” of “Portraits of Montreal- the Montreal adaptation of Humans of New York”.

We would like to learn more about this project, so we got in touch with the band’s drummer, Dave Traina. So, Dave told us about it and about the collaboration with Theimer. What’s their opinion about making a documentary? Also, The Damn Truth managed to make a charity campaign about homeless people and youth on the streets of Montreal, and Dave gave us some further information about it. What lesson did they get from their engagement with this campaign and what is their opinion about the society’s reaction to this topic?

If you want to learn about The Damn Truth’s projects read the interview below.

The Damn Truth, welcome to! Getting started, please tell us a few words about you. How did your story begin?

Tom and Lee-la met naked, singing around a bonfire at a hippie festival. They moved to Montreal together (Lee’s hometown) and looked for like minded individuals to start a rock’n’roll band. They found Dave (drums) and later PY (bass) and have been writing and touring their music ever since.

How did you come up with the name of the band?

When we first moved to Montreal the music scene was far and removed from rock n roll and we felt like we were always fighting a losing battle to get our music out there. For us rock n roll music is belonging, it’s standing for what you believe in and having a voice to share with others, and that’s simply The Damn Truth. Not always beautiful or easy to do but it’s honest and quite frankly the only way we know how to be.

You recently released a very special and artistic music video for your song “Devilish Folk”. Please tell us a few things about it.

Devilish folk is the title track from our last album. It has always been a monster of a song and at over 7 minutes we never considered releasing it as a single. That being said, since the release of that album we have had countless fans comment that the song, “Devilish Folk” has resonated with them deeply, and when our photographer friend Mikaël Theimer came to us with his idea we loved it and gave him the green light to go ahead and produce it.

How did your collaboration with photographer Mikael Theimer occur?

Mikaël is an incredible street photographer. He was out shooting when he ran into Tom, Leela & their son Ben. From the moment he took their photo he’s been a part of The Damn Truth family.

Why did you choose to visualize “Devilish Folk” which was released back in 2016? How did you make this connection?

It was Mikaël Theimer who approached us. He’d been shooting photos of Montreal’s “Squeegee Kids” and thought that they were a real life portrayal of the “Devilish Folk”.

Do you think that -approximately- 7:30 minutes are enough to capture your feelings? Would you like to do something bigger in duration? A documentary maybe?

It doesn’t necessarily take that long to capture a sentiment or feeling. Doing something longer is definitely something else entirely and we aren’t opposed to it. We’ve never done anything in the doc style but we’ve been dabbling with the idea. Who knows what the future will bring.

How easy, is it to find the strength to continue with this project, following the turn of things with Jake?

We were crushed in that moment and the project was stopped. The directory Mikael Theimer, gutted as well.
However, months later at our concert in Calgary, it was Jake’s parents who came to us and who urged us to finish the project. They learned about it through Jake himself who was excited that a film was being made about his friends.

 Please tell us more about the “Dans La Rue” charity campaign in order to inform the Greek audience as well.

“Dans la rue” which translates to ‘on the street’ is an organisation providing access to services to the homeless and youth on the streets of Montreal. They offer emergency shelter to those in need, nursing services, counselling, gamily services as well as being a line of communication to society’s most unfortunate people.

What lesson did you get from your engagement with this campaign?

The campaign really opened our eyes and hearts to all the people in our own city who are struggling. Before we made a connection with jake and his friends it became far too easy to walk past a homeless person or pan handler. This situation had come to the foreground in our eyes and we hope to continue efforts to help and connect with Montreal’s homeless.

Do you still believe there is still prejudice about the homeless or has the society changed?

Yes absolutely.
We tend to dehumanize these people. look at them like they are just a part of the streets we walk on. Making this video and having this experience really opened our eyes… of course these people have dream and hopes and they love and hate just like anyone else.

How about your music, are you preparing a new album? Will we hear something from you soon? And if so, what should we expect?

Yes! We have been writing new songs and working hard in the studio for the past few months. This year was supposed to start a bit on the “easy” side we wanted to take our time in the studio and make a great record in a relaxing kinda way… but of course that didn’t happen when offers for more and more tours came in. So now we kinda just juggling between touring and spending all our extra time in the studio.

In January, you’ll be touring in Canada and starting in April, you will perform also in Europe. What should the audience expect from your shows?

I think what makes our show fun is the fact that you don’t really know what to expect every night.. every venue and audience have a different vibe/energy. that really effects the way we play and preform we try to keep that true rock and roll attitude where everything and anything could happen ✌️✌️

Do you have a motto in life?

Don’t be the first to drink the ouzo first! Opa!

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