Based in Kingston, Chris Hemer (he/him) and Sam Mishos (she/her) started Funeral Lakes in spring 2018, self-producing music in their apartment in Vancouver, BC, seeking a creative medium to share their fears and frustrations. Embracing a DIY ethos, the duo learned and honed their skills throughout an insular recording process. Following a series of singles, the duo released Funeral Lakes,their eponymous debut album in December 2019 in support of the Pull Together campaign organized by RAVEN.
The release picked up momentum, receiving a number of positive reviews including an 8/10 rating from Exclaim!. With lyrics that address the uncertainty and misery of our time, the album was called “a thoughtful and dreamy neo folk reverie” by Citrus Magazine. Unable to fit into a single genre, The New Twenties described Funeral Lakes as “some emotionally-scarred offspring of The Velvet Underground and Arcade Fire.” The growing buzz around Funeral Lakes led to an invitation to perform at the 2020 Sled Island Festival. But, much like the rest of the world, these plans were put on hold.
Funeral Lakes shifted their attention to recording their follow-up EP, Golden Season. It was written, produced, and performed by members Chris and Sam, accompanied in the studio by Charlie Van on drums and by Colin Spratt who engineered, mixed, and mastered the songs. The three-song EP resulted from two days spent together at a studio in North Vancouver. Recorded live off the floor, the EP was charged, energetic, and frantic at times, marking a shift from their more subdued debut album.
Released in September 2020, Golden Season saw a rise in media attention and international radio play for the band. Various Small Flames called the track Earth Falls “an anthem for our current predicament, combining hopeless despair and a steely defiance….” Static Sounds Club remarked that Funeral Lakes possesses “the creativity of Talking Heads, the restrained ennui of Sparklehorse even the madcap irreverence of The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.”
Continuously writing and recording from their home, Funeral Lakes spent the winter months of 2021 creating their EP, Redeemer, released in August 2021. Colin Spratt mixed and mastered the EP, while Andrew McLeod (Sunnsetter) provided remote drumming on the tracks Solstice and Place I Stay.
Redeemer is a collection of songs that does not neatly fit into a single genre. It explores the meanings of faith and justice, interrogating the tension between them. Grappling with memory and legacy, it is a reflection on choosing what to hold onto and what to let go of.