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curtains: in conversation with funeral lakes

Based in Toronto, Funeral Lakes' brings to life the quote, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” There is something extraordinarily remarkable about their music: it leaves the listener transfixed, somehow making you feel grounded and isolated at the same time.

Started in 2018 by duo Sam Mishos (she/her) and Chris Hemer (he/him), Funeral Lakes is an indie project that builds on the fears and discontentment experienced by most people today. As the world around us falls apart, Funeral Lakes creates a dreamy yet real musical world to lose yourself in.

Their latest EP, Golden Season, is politically and socially charged, with emotions ranging from fear and sorrow to anger and frustration.

The duo explains, “The Golden Season is a period of transition. A period of reflection. A time to hold dear the things we love. The gentle glow of foliage before the fall, the sunset years of life as we know it, and the distant glimmer of hope that we might forge a path forward.”

In this conversation with Funeral Lakes, we talk of death and war, the unending nature of loss, and loss in the context of the climate crisis.

Push up Daisies: What has your relationship with death always been like, and how do you view it now?

Funeral Lakes: It’s something that’s we’ve always known is inevitable, but it’s heartbreaking and traumatic when it happens too soon, and when loss of life is avoidable. Personal loss leaves a hole. There’s something missing where that person used to be, and that’s not something that ever goes away. There are questions you wish you could’ve asked, and moments you wish you could’ve shared, and in that sense, it makes the loss feel like it’s never ending.

Push up Daisies: Are you spiritual or religious? How do you think your culture affects your perception of death?

Funeral Lakes: Neither of us practice religion, but we have both attended Catholic schools for periods of our youth. That left a huge impact on both of us and ultimately turned us off of the idea of organized religion. As we get older, we approach the idea of spirituality differently. Our western cultural norms tend to prescribe a finite amount of time that’s “normal” for grieving, rather than just letting individuals process loss in their own way and at their own pace. Given the state of the world and our precarious future, we think it’s incredibly important to make space for grief instead of pressuring people to move on and put on a happy face.

Push up Daisies: As a creative, how does the thought or fear of death inspire you? Does it ever drive you to create more?

Funeral Lakes: We think about loss often in the context of the climate crisis. The fears and anxieties we have about what the future holds is present in much of our music. There’s also a lot of anger and frustration toward our so-called leaders who refuse to put the lives of people and the planet before profits and political gains. As music has always been the outlet through which we cope and process our emotions, confronting these realities has resulted in us writing a lot more music. Our hope is that our music can help people feel a bit less alone in these collective feelings of fear, frustration, and grief.

Push up Daisies: How would you like to be remembered?

Funeral Lakes: We don’t think much about legacy because most of our attention is focused on the here and now. We’re not really sure what the world will look like in our own lifetimes, let alone in the distant future.

Push up Daisies: How does the thought of death affect your everyday life?

Funeral Lakes: Every time we turn on the news, it’s front and centre, so it’s something we think about on a daily basis. Many are in a constant state of mourning, and it’s overwhelming. The powers that are supposed to be “protecting and serving” are murdering. Fascism is on the rise in so-called democracies as we watch necropolitics play out on the world stage. We’ve inherited a world that’s in decay and our future isn’t bright. It can be tempting to choose numbness, but we don’t want to let go of hope. Our entire generation is in a daily battle to hold onto that hope despite it all.

Push up Daisies: Have you ever seen a film revolving around death, that left its mark on you?

Funeral Lakes: Watching war movies during our childhoods left a real impression. The callousness of war, the scale of death, the thought of old men sending kids off to die - it’s sickening. So many of these Hollywood movies are glorifying people’s horrific realities, and it’s deeply unsettling that it’s called entertainment.


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