Carey Mercer formed the band Frog Eyes, which includes he and his wife Melanie Campbell, in 2001, and we were more than proud to release their 2010 album, Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph. The album was soon a long listed nominee for the Polaris Music Prize and is his most current musical outlet. However, Mercer has been a constant force in the music world since 1996 and he formed groups such as Blackout Beach and Swan Lake.
Mercer had been working on his newest album as Frog Eyes titled Carey’s Cold Spring since 2010 and has chosen to self release the record through Bandcamp. In the last few years Mercer’s personal life changed dramatically with the passing of his father, someone extremely close to him not only personally but also musically. Before the record was finished, he had played the last track, “Claxxon’s Lament”, acoustically for his father who was then in a hospice and in his final stages of life.
The emotionally forceful song attained a new significance according to Mercer, who explains:
“I sat by him and sang it; I sang it really well, of course, because I had the sense that it was the last song he would hear, not that there was any evidence he could actually hear, but still, it was the last song that went into his ears. I also sang it loud, because even though a hospice is supposed to be quiet, I wanted it to mean something, and sometimes volume creates its own meaning.”
He soon found himself recording the song to be the last track on his new album. But after, Mercer found out more important news:
“Two days after I green-lit the final mixes of the record, I got a call from a doctor who told me that I have throat cancer. I’ve been really hesitant about including this, going back and forth, but I have decided to include this information: illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is a big thing, a thing that impacts a life and forces changes on the way, for example, a songwriter releases her or his product. So I release this from a place where it’s hard to say if I will be on the road to promote it. This is why I have chosen to control the release myself and put it out through the limited channels available to me right now.”
Mercer explains the album is not only built from personal experiences but also from the what he saw over the last three years while recording including riots, storms, mass protests, and more. He describes the record is partly “deeply fearful, almost paranoid, the sound of a person grinding his or her teeth in the night. But just a part of it. It’s also the sound of the birds in the morning, I hope”.
Read more words from Carey and pre-order Frog Eyes new album, Carey’s Cold Spring out October 7th on his Bandcamp page, here. There, you can stream the powerful last track, “Claxxon’s Lament”, or listen to it above.