Funeral Lakes talk new EP, Golden Season

Queen’s alumni continue eco-activism through politically charged lyrics

Funeral Lakes’ new EP Golden Season drops on Sept. 9.
Supplied by Funeral Lakes

Local Kingston band Funeral Lakes is set to release their new EP, Golden Season, on Sept. 9. 

The musical duo of Sam Mishos, ArtSci’17, and Chris Hemer, ArtSci’17, has been writing and producing music together since 2018. After being floormates in their first year at Queen’s, the pair’s personal and artistic journeys aligned—and they began capturing their fears of eco-anxiety through music. Hemer and Mishos are also both returning to Queen's this year to start Master's programs. 

Funeral Lakes lies at the intersection of art and activism, creating a space for the singers to confront their negative feelings about current affairs and, at times, make political statements about insufficient action on climate change.

 “We were grappling with the reality of how things are headed in a pretty negative direction, and we started using music as a way to hope,” Hemer said in an interview with The Journal. “It was a natural progression of emotions that came out in music. Even though politics is constantly changing, a lot has stayed the same.”

Their songs are often centred around earth imagery with a specific emphasis on the climate crisis. Golden Season follows the release of their December 2019 debut album, titled Funeral Lakes after their band name, which introduced their emotionally driven, reflective lyrics on the beauty of the outdoors and its impending destruction. 

According to Hemer and Mishos, the new EP contains political themes similar to their earlier songs but also diverges from the tone of their last album.  

The last track in the EP, titled “Power Trip,” verges on punk rock, which is a palpable shift from the folk vibe of their other singles.

Another track on the EP, “Earth Falls,” is a more literal confrontation of fear and anxiety, describing a world on the edge of collapse with the lyrics “Earth falls and then begins again. Our home is all on fire again.”

In addition to the shift in energy, natural imagery is interwoven in almost every song, juxtaposed with subtle references to the current Canadian political climate. The opening track, “Eternal Return,” explores the manifestation of toxic masculinity in leadership and policy, particularly when it comes to extractivism.

“The first track confronts a really ugly part of petro-nationalism and settler colonialism that reared its head recently,” Hemer said.

Among their inspirations for the track were the nation-wide protests against the multi-billion dollar Coastal GasLink Pipeline project in British Columbia, which was scheduled to cut through traditional territory of the Wet'suwet'en Nation and a major point of contention in Canadian politics this year. 

Funeral Lakes recorded their earlier tracks within the walls of their Vancouver and Toronto apartments, but the process of this new EP involved more collaboration than their previous album.

“The energy is very different from the first release,” Mishos said. “This time around, we got together with a couple of our friends and did a lot of takes live, which translated into a much more energetic album.”

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A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion in British Columbia was an inspiration for the track. It was the Coastal GasLink pipeline project which inspired the track.

The Journal regrets the error.

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