Published Mar 12, 2020"If you enjoy music, why put it in a box?" asks Mundy's Bay bassist William Love.
Speaking to Exclaim! from their Montreal practice space, Love and his bandmates are on the cusp of releasing their debut full-length, Lonesome Valley, a record that embraces unity from within the not-so-distant corners of Quebec's music scene — French, English, punk, indie and hardcore.
"It's a beautiful thing," Love says. "I think those scenes were united before we came around. With art, it comes naturally. You can go to a punk, indie or hardcore show and it's really a similar experience. Shows are just shows now."
The group formed several years ago when vocalist/keyboardist Esther Mulders moved to Montreal from Midland, ON; the town, once known as Mundy's Bay, also inspired their moniker. Through mutual friends, Mulders met guitarists Victor Beaudoin and John Donnelly. In its early phases, Mulders admits it "didn't go very well," because the group were unsure what direction to write in. Later on, Donnelly invited Love — whom he'd met at local gigs — to hang out at the group's practice space to check out what he, Mulders and Beaudoin were working at and potentially join in on the creative process. From there, Mundy's Bay began practicing four days a week, searching for a sound. What they landed on was a compromise of new wave, rock, shoegaze and post-punk — immersive and all the more compelling.
Their articulation is as distinct as their sound, particularly with Love and Beaudoin being Francophone. Love recalls a language barrier was definitely present at first, and "a bit weird" for him initially. Beaudoin says their dynamic is "definitely something that is not that common."
"I think the internet plays a big part in that. Music is so fluid," Beaudoin says. "We want to create art that is cool and meaningful and hope people can feel the same. I think what appeals to people is energy and honesty in music. More bands playing together across (languages and genres) makes people look for realness over a specific genre, or whatever trend a label is trying to sell you."
Though Beaudoin calls Mundy's Bay "such a random band" with no specific scene rallying behind them, Mulders believes not having a home in any particular music scene is a positive thing, opening the group up to opportunities for "different people to connect with us for different reasons."
Love feels Montreal was once far more closed off with artistic perspectives, and the music community has grown to be a diverse space with people playing an array of genres.
"Now, compared to when I first started going to shows, it's a way more welcoming place. If you want angry, emotional, meaningful music, it's very available to you," Beaudoin says. "You don't have to be something you're not."
The cohesion of Montreal informs much of Mundy's Bay's Lonesome Valley, an entrancing experience of poetic lyrics, sprawling keyboards, otherworldly guitar, with post-punk and pop rock seasoning. Donnelley credits Converge's Kurt Ballou, the record's producer, as a "master of capturing tone."
"Recording with Kurt was the first time in my life that I'd never felt rushed," Donnelly says.
In 2016, Mulders details, Mundy's Bay independently reached out to recording studios to cut an EP. Ballou replied saying he enjoyed their music and was interested in working with the group, but was never able to confirm anything due to scheduling conflicts. Once they signed to Pure Noise, the prospect of recording with Ballou in Salem, MA became a possibility once more. Staying in an apartment above GodCity Studio for the two-week recording process, Mundy's Bay fully immersed themselves in Lonesome Valley.
Outside of recording sessions, Mulders even found herself writing additional keyboard sections on an old piano in the band's living space. Ballou too would immerse himself in the process, coming upstairs to play along.
"The whole town is not busy. It kept us focused, busy and connected with the record," Beaudoin says. "We lived this record."
Lonesome Valley is out March 13 on Pure Noise Records.
Mundy's Bay play the Rivoli in Toronto on March 20 with Hunny and Bay Faction.