Mercy Funk gives back the love with its fifth annual Love Fest—guilty pleasures edition
With a second EP recorded live off the floor at the Aviary released last November and their first full-length coming out in April, Edmonton’s Mercy Funk has hit its stride and its sound in the last year. The plan is to celebrate with their annual Love Fest by crafting cardboard, glittered, and rosy-ribboned hearts, which they’ve been doing for weeks now.
“When we first started, it was kind of the idea that we make them all by hand, so each heart is an individual—we got kind of cheesy about it at the beginning,” vocalist Crystal Eyo laughs. “And now, we just want to build on Love Fest every year, which means we need more and more hearts every year.”
The first Love Fest, five years ago, was held on Valentine’s Day, which was a purposeful plan on the band’s part to ensure all their fans felt loved and valued on the holiday, not just the ones in relationships.
“It was packed and we sold out, so we were just like, ‘Okay, this has to happen every year now,” says bassist Angela Proulx. The “Guilty Pleasures Edition” of this year’s Love Fest refers to some of the set list they’ve lined up (think ‘90s guilty pleasures like Britney, Whitney, Madonna, and TLC and, of course, their early funk hits mixed in as well).
“You know when you’re in the bar, and you hear your favourite song that you haven’t heard in like forever and then every girl goes, ‘Oh my God! That’s my song!’ That is the goal of guilty pleasures,” Eyo says.
Eyo and Proulx along with guitarist Allan Pangburn and drummer Kevin Gaudet are what we call the ‘Mercy’ and the ‘Funk’ of Edmonton.
Now with a reasonably set foursome, Mercy Funk has found their sound and it’s not always what you’d expect. They play the title track off their upcoming album as we chat in Eyo’s cozy ‘60s-inspired living room and there’s certainly some lovely surprises in there. Pieces of pop and R&B work their way into a gritty baseline with an resonant glitzy guitar that isn’t really funk. But their roots are still there with tidbits of sax and keys layered in.
“With this album, we’ve gotten more comfortable with ourselves as writers,” Proulx says. “And we were starting to find our sound for the album—it’s not funk, I can tell you that.”
Although the four-piece have moved away from their funk roots for now, it wasn’t a conscious choice. The songs seemed to fall into place pretty easily, and much quicker than their first EP, which was half the length.
“With this album, we had these songs that hadn’t been recorded and that we really loved playing and it was just who we are,” Eyo says. “They just naturally fell into place and really sound like a collection.”
Keep your eyes peeled for their album release this spring. With their fresh new grooves, it’s not one you’ll want to miss.
Fri., Feb. 9 and Sat., Feb. 10 (8 pm)
Mercy Funk Love Fest