2015 Artist Survey: CHVRCHES | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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2015 Artist Survey: CHVRCHES

Lauren Mayberry and Iain Cook on 2015's Best Albums, Music Streaming, the Election, Star Wars, Venue Security, and Disastrous Dates

Feb 26, 2016 Issue # 56 - Best of 2015 - Father John Misty and Wolf Alice Photography by Pal Hansen Bookmark and Share

For Under the Radar’s 13th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2015. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2015 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2015 print and digital issues for answers from Arcade Fire’s Will Butler, Julien Baker, Blanck Mass, Dan Deacon, The Dears, Dutch Uncles, EL VY, Everything Everything, Father John Misty, Field Music, The Flaming Lips, How to Dress Well, Sondre Lerche, Low, Luna, Mew, NZCA Lines, Cullen Omori, Natalie Prass, Small Black, Surfer Blood, Tamaryn, Telekinesis, Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio, The Walkmen, Youth Lagoon, and others.

Here are some answers from Lauren Mayberry and Iain Cook of CHVRCHES. The Scottish electro-pop trio released their well-received second album, Every Open Eye, last year via Glassnote (it was #9 on Under the Radar‘s Top 100 Albums of 2015 list). CHVRCHES were on the cover of one of our print issues last year and you can read the in-depth 8-page 5,600-word cover story feature on the band here. You can also read our bonus digital magazine Q&A with them here.

A shorter version of this interview ran in the Best of 2015 print issue, which is still on newsstands now. This is the full unedited version of the interview.

Top 10 Albums of 2015

Lauren Mayberry:

1. Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell
2. Sleater-Kinney: No Cities to Love
3. Wolf Alice: My Love Is Cool
4. Joanna Newsom: Divers
5. Kendrick Lamar: To Pimp a Butterfly
6. Kelela: Hallucinogen EP
7. Holly Herndon: Platform
8. Deafheaven: New Bermuda
9. Florence and the Machine: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
10. Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

What was the highlight of 2015, for either you personally or for the band? What was the low point?

Iain Cook: I guess the highlight was finishing and subsequently releasing our second record. Other than that, I think it was just the other day when we played Alexandra Palace in London, our biggest headline show to date, and everything clicked into place. Don’t think I will ever forget that night.

What are your hopes and plans for 2016?

Lauren: Tour, tour, tour. And tour.

With the launch of TIDAL and Apple Music in 2015, there are more streaming music options, but the same issues of adequate artist compensation persist. What are your current thoughts on streaming and which service would you most like to have your music on?

Iain: The industry is in a state of flux like never before. Everything has changed compared to how it used to be, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ultimately if it means that more people get to find music that they love, then it’s a good thing. In terms of the financial side of things, they are still ironing it out. I am confident that they will find a way to make it fair for artists and consumers.

What are your thoughts on Friday being the new global release day for albums? Is it helping or hurting album sales?

Iain: I don’t really know if it’s made that much of a difference, to be honest. In terms of marketing and the global marketplace of the Internet, I can only see it being a good thing that music lands at the same time everywhere.

Mainstream pop music is increasingly embraced by indie rock musicians and listeners, as well as serious music critics. At this point, do you draw any distinctions between Top 40 pop and indie rock/pop? Are you comfortable with this shift?

Lauren: I think that the Internet and new technologies have blown open the music industry in many ways. So, in my opinion, what is “indie” is now more about an ethos or a mentality than the sound of the music. Our music has pop and electro elements, but I don’t know that we fit comfortably into either of those genres in the traditional sense. Your band can have pop moments in the music without you conducting yourself in the way that traditional pop acts would, and vice versa with music that sounds “indie” but may not truly be.

What are your thoughts on how the 2016 U.S. Presidential election is shaping up?

Lauren: It is simultaneously interesting and terrifying to watch the Republican candidate selection from outside the U.S. As an outsider looking in, I just hope that a lot of the positive steps made during the Obama administration can be preserved.

Ryan Adams covered Taylor Swift’s 1989 (and then Father John Misty covered Adams covering Swift). If you were to cover another artist’s album in its entirety, which would you pick and why?

Lauren: Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea by PJ Harvey, because she is one of my favorite artists of all time. I don’t think she enjoys playing this record any more, so I could just love it for her instead.

Iain: I would love to have a crack at Disintegration by The Cure, but it would be an act of blasphemy, so I might want to try something less perfect.

Have you ever been fired from a job (be it a day job or musical one)? Why were you fired?

Lauren: I have never been fired.

What’s your earliest music-related childhood memory?

Iain: I was always around music, as my parents play and sing. I can’t single out a first memory, but being immersed in music from birth has definitely had an impact on my life and career.

What outrageous request would you most like to put in your tour rider as a joke?

Lauren: Our tour rider is pretty sensible, I think, but it is always nice when venue runners or promoters have dogs for us to fawn over before all the loud music starts.

What’s the most disastrous date you’ve ever been on?

Iain: Most of mine have been pretty unremarkable from a disaster point of view! Although a few years ago a first date featuring raw oysters turned into a norovirus nightmare 24 hours later. Lesson learned.

Which Star Wars character are you most like?

Lauren: An Ewok? I hope to be more Yoda-esque once I get older.

Iain: I aspire to be more like Obi Wan but most likely similar to Jar-Jar.

Following the terrorist attack at the Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris do you think that security at music venues should be improved and do you now worry about something similar happening at one of your shows?

Lauren: What happened in Paris was absolutely horrific and our thoughts and love goes out to all those involved. It is horrible to think about anything like that happening to anyone, whether it was at your own show or not, but I don’t think heightened security at shows would ultimately make any difference. A metal detector is not match for a machine gun. The underlying issues connected to why these attacks happen cannot be dealt with by improved security at music venues in the West. Curing the symptoms does not cure the cause.

Which recent anniversary for an album, film, TV show, or historical event has most made you feel old?

Lauren: I find it difficult to believe that Mean Girls came out over 10 years ago. And that Jagged Little Pill is 20 years old.

What song will most unite or amp up the tour bus or van (à la “Tiny Dancer” in Almost Famous)? Which song do you love that the rest of the band or crew refuse to let you put on?

Iain: There are a few, but “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship is one of them.

If Mark Kozelek starts a fresh beef in a forest and nobody is around to write a 600-word thinkpiece about it, does he still make a sound?

Lauren: I hope not.

If you could drop a copy of one album in the inbox of every citizen of the world, what album would it be (besides one of your own)?

Iain: Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division.

FFS (Franz Ferdinand + Sparks) proved that collaborations can work. What other two bands would you like to see unite as one new entity?

Iain: Mogwai and Adele. Could be interesting…

If your house were on fire, what would you grab as you were running out?

Lauren: Pets and people.

What’s the biggest goal for your life that you have yet to achieve?

Iain: If we ever get to play Hollywood Bowl or Madison Square Garden, I would die happy.



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Lauren Mayberry Fans
February 26th 2016

Another insightful interview with our favorite band. We already look up to Lauren as our Yoda as she mentions. And those goals of playing the Hollywood Bowl and MSG will come soon enough Iain.