Davis is a mainstay of the vibrant Montréal music scene, with a musical background encompassing everything from rock bands (Faith Healer) to avant-garde (Elle Barbara’s Black Space) to jazz and hip-hop (Cadence Weapon). The Haunt is a synthesis of his many musical interests, stretching back to his childhood when he played drums in the church band and saxophone in his school band (he plays both on The Haunt.)
Davis blends jazz, funk, sunshine pop, rock, and a host of surprising sonic easter eggs into a record so seamlessly integrated it often feels like a full band effort. Many of the songs were inspired by Davis’s experiences trying to online date in the midst of the pandemic, with curfews and lockdowns adding even more complications to an already lonely endeavor. Davis has announced a US tour for this fall, all dates are listed below.
01 In the Morning
02 Bear the Cold
03 Let it Die
04 Left Inside
05 The Fall
06 What You Say
07 Hope That
08 My City Life
09 Idle Days
10 The Haunt
Davis isn’t just an in-demand musical player in the Montreal scene—he’s also a gearhead who is often tapped to fix his peers’ synths and amps. Just like Davis doesn’t have any formal musical training, he also never formally studied electronics, and his interest in building his own gear came about more organically. “I mostly just couldn’t afford the gear that’s as good as I could make,” he says. One piece of self-built equipment he used for The Haunt is a boutique analog compressor called the Mitch Davis Compressor (MDC.) He’s sold it to about 20 people in his community, but it will become available commercially soon as well.
Much of The Haunt is very keys-driven—the title track, which closes out the record, is an instrumental piano piece that Davis had kicking around for a while before figuring out what to do with it—and it’s full of warm retro sounds like rhodes, clavinet, and synth. But it’s also a record full of playfully modern moments that surprise and delight, like the unexpected chiptune breakdown near the end of “Let it Die,” a cool contrast to the song’s funky marching bass line and lyrics about deciding to give up on a relationship. The baroquely orchestrated “Hope That” achieves a unique interplay between a basic drum machine backbeat and the more acoustic instruments and some lovely synthesized strings. “My City Life” is the album’s centerpiece, a soulful ballad about feeling lost in the big city for which Davis drew on his own experiences moving to Montréal from a town of 3,000. The song was written in a single sitting, which is unusual for the songwriter and speaks to the song’s intimacy and rawness. Though it begins as an intimate piano ballad, it soon shifts into smooth and catchy soft rock, becoming a lyrical tale of loneliness that musically reaches for the stars—a song emblematic of the kaleidoscopic talents of Mitch Davis that are on full display on The Haunt.
Mitch Davis 2022 North American Dates
9/8/22 – Montreal, QC @ L’Escogriffe
9/10/22 – Brooklyn, NY @ Zone One
9/11/22 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
9/14/22 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd Music House
9/15/22 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
9/23/22 – Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory
9/24/22 – Toronto, ON @ The Monarch Tavern
Pre-order The Haunt by Mitch Davis HERE