Funeral Lakes is Chris Hemer (he/him) and Sam Mishos (she/they). They are currently based out of Kingston, Ontario, a small city where the St. Lawrence and Cataraqui rivers meet, on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario.
They 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, which was released 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 saw an increase in both international and national radio play, including on the CBC and several campus and community radio stations. The EP appeared on !earshot charts for 14 weeks across 5 stations, peaking at #1 on CJSF and reaching #32 on !earshot’s National Top 50. Redeemer received numerous positive reviews, including a 5/5 rating from Alt Revue, enthusing, “Redeemer should find its way into your regular rotation.” Tunnel of Trees described the EP as “a gorgeous piece of music that evokes the exact emotion you would expect from the subject matter” […] “captivating, poignant, and entrancing. It has heavy replay value and feels blooming in its sound.”
2021 also saw the band contribute music to two charity compilations: the first, Black Lab Mix Tape #3, in support of a Vancouver community venue impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and the second, You’re Gonna Be Great 2, in support of Fund Texas Choice, a non-profit organization focused on reproductive justice. Then, in 2022, the band contributed a cover song to BandTogetherTO’s Cover Compilation for Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction, as well as a song to Broken Sound Tape’s Aspirin Age Volume 2 shoegaze compilation.
Funeral Lakes released the single No More Now Forever in February 2023, named one of the 100 Best Tracks of 2023 by Small Albums. Their sophomore album North American Martyrs is set for release in Spring 2024.