The past few years have seen several shoegaze bands surface who have had roots in the hardcore or punk scenes. If I told you Mundy’s Bay was one of those bands after hearing last year’s Control Room EP you’d probably think I was joking. Over a series of singles and EPs the Montreal five piece has sought to eliminate any stylistic boundaries and while they still retain a slight undercurrent of punk, the overall impression is that of indie rock and effervescent dreampop. Their cooperative writing process is spurred on by a shared love of ’80s and ’90s touchstones which is evident across the 11 tracks on their debut album Lonesome Valley which comes out March 13th. The two singles released ahead of the album “Goodbye” and “Visions of You” feature a kinetic energy with lush shimmering choruses highlighted with Esther Mulder‘s yearning vocals. It’s not the type of thing you’d expect from fans of hardcore music, but at FadeAwayRadiate we were smitten enough to get in touch with the band and find out more about Mundy’s Bay and their new album.
FadeAwayRadiate: What was the process of recording this album like? How does it compare to previous recordings you’ve done?
Willy: With this record the main difference was the amount of time we got the spend in the studio. We were also living together in an apartment for 2 weeks so we would get a lot of ideas going production wise and we would also experiment with different stuff whether it was usable or not, because we had the time and tools.
Esther: The process of recording this album is something I will always cherish. Working with [producer] Kurt Ballou was extremely inspiring and collaborative. In comparison to the timeline we had recording our other EP’s, we had much more of it. On our other records, we had 2 or 3 days, but with Kurt we had 2 weeks. It felt very nice to immerse ourselves with the recording process too because we were staying in the studio’s apartment.
John: This recording was really unique, being away from reality for 2 weeks. We were immersed in the whole experience. Something that I didn’t expect to happen was we all became closer as friends and musicians by the end.
FAR: Are these songs written from personal experiences?
Esther: Some are drawn from personal experience, some are poems, and one came to me in a dream. I usually like to leave the interpretation to the listener.
FAR: What do Mundy’s Bay members do when you’re not playing music together?
Willy: I work in a venue and that takes a good chunk of my time whenever we’re not playing together. I like to go see shows when I can. But most of the time you’ll find me on my balcony listening to music with my roommate.
Vic: I pickle things so i don’t go crazy,
John: I’m a food critic under an alias.
Esther: I have a career as a tattoo artist, and I love travelling with my partner.
FAR: How would you describe the music scene in your city?
Vic: Montreal is a great place to live as a musician, we gave a good amount of places to play that respect art and culture and it seems like people come out and will keep coming out! We’re lucky enough to have many great bands playing regularly and that’s very inspiring to see your friends rock and put out great and creative music.
Esther: Abundant. Montreal is thriving with new bands, i think partly because it’s probably the last affordable place to live in Canada and the US. People can focus more on their creative passions and hobbies.
FAR: Is there any themes or message on your debut album lyrically or otherwise that extends across the album?
Esther: It has pretty universal themes i think that flow well together throughout the album, there’s no overall message for the album, it’s more of a collective of poems I’ve written about experiences I’ve had.
FAR: How did Mundy’s Bay meet and become a band?
Vic: After a couple years of dabbling around and trying out new sounds in different bands, I was lucky enough that Esther and John asked me to play with them. We didn’t have a specific sound in mind, so we played (a lot) together until we found something that we liked and fitted our musical strengths. I always thought Willy had a cool shirt whenever i saw him so when John mentioned we should ask him to play bass i was pretty down for it!
FAR: Who would you say is your musical hero or heroine?
Vic: I don’t think I have any “heroes” but I would really like to get coffee with Nick Cave.
Willy: i feel like its always changing for me depending on what i’m listening to or what i’m getting curious about.
John: Definitely Robert Smith and Troy Van Leeuwen
FAR: What inspires you as musicians and songwriters?
Vic: For my part, I always realize some time after we wrote something what influenced my playing. Sometimes it’s easy to be so immersed in what you’re doing and forget how impactful your immediate environment can be. I realize now there’s a big difference in our “winter songs” and “summer songs”, so i guess what really inspires me is whatever is going on with the world, in my life and the weather, because all that stuff influences what i listen to and how i play.
Willy: I agree with Vic on that one, in the winter the days are very short and it’s dark super early outside and for my part it directly affects my writing process.
Esther: personal experience
John: Every time i write music it ends up sounding like the mood i’m in at that moment, and i attribute colors to certain songs so in a way that also inspires creativity. Relationships with the people i’m making music with can also inspire me, like we feed off each other and you can see a small idea build into a song.
FAR: Do you have plans to tour? Any international shows?
Vic: We are soon going on tour across North America with Hunny and Bay Faction, two bands we are looking forward to sharing the stage with and hopefully a couple drinks as well. We will be playing some more this year for sure, and hopefully create as much as we can.
FAR: One final question, is there an artist, album or song that changed your life?
Vic: Gonna give it to my bandmates here. They’re all amazing artists and I consider myself lucky to be playing with them. John, Willy, Esther and JT have all changed my life and have all my admiration.
Willy: Sonic Youth will always be a band i adore, when i first got into that band it was very amazing to see how they perform and are able to transport the audience into their weird, noisy and unique world. It really opened my eyes on what a live performance can be.
Lonesome Valley, the debut album from Mundy’s Bay is out March 13th from Pure Noise Records.