CHVRCHES | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Synth Pop Sanctuary

Jul 12, 2013 Issue #45 - Winter 2013 - Phoenix Bookmark and Share

CHVRCHES’ euphoric electro pop can’t be shaken. The Scottish trio blends floor-rattling synths and rhythm loops with sweet, wide-eyed vocals. Ahead of the release of their first EP, Recover, and forthcoming debut album, The Bones of What You Believe, the band, which uses the ‘v’ rather than ‘u’ to make their name easier to find on search engines, has already earned comparisons to Purity Ring and The xx. Singer Lauren Mayberry had only been recording with keyboardists Iain Cook and Martin Doherty for less than a year before two of their early tracks, “Lies” and “The Mother We Share,” took off online in mid-2012.

“We started writing in September or October of 2011,” says Mayberry. “From that perspective, it’s felt like it’s happened in a matter of months. But we did have eight or nine months where we were writing before we posted anything on the Internet. It’s helpful to know that you have a certain amount of work done before you exist as a band.”

Mayberry had been recording an EP with her other band, Blue Sky Archives, at Glasgow’s Chem19 studios, where Cook works as an engineer. He and Doherty had been working on an electro pop project, and they invited Mayberry in to record backing vocals on their demos.

“They’d written two songs or something already,” says Mayberry. “So I went in and did that, and I guess the initial rehearsal must have gone quite well, because we then started writing songs as a unit. I don’t think the original two songs survived to this day.”

Mayberry hadn’t always anticipated being a lead singer of a band. In addition to playing keyboards in her other group, she is an experienced drummer.

“Ironically, I learned drumming as a second instrument because I didn’t want to sing, because I didn’t really like doing it that much,” she says. “It’s been an interesting transition, I suppose. Sometimes I would quite like to be left in the back, in the darkness by myself.”

Mayberry’s still growing into the role of fronting a band.

“We play with some bands, and I’m so impressed by their front people,” she says. “They do the whole getting down on their knees, reaching out to the hands in the crowd, and they’re like, ‘How are you feeling tonight? I can’t do it. It makes me so sad inside because I don’t have that in me. Hopefully, the awkward, shuffling front person is enough for the time being.”

While two of the three had toured the U.S. beforeDoherty as a touring keyboardist of The Twilight Sad, and Cook as a guitarist and programmer in Aereogrammethis spring was CHVRCHES’ (and Mayberry’s) first set of performances in the United States, which were still forhcoming at the time of this interview. For a band just making their stateside debut, they’ll be playing to an eager audience: every stop on the U.S. leg of the tour-save for their showcases at SXSWsold out in advance.

“We’re really lucky that people bought tickets,” says Mayberry, sounding genuinely grateful. “To go there knowing that people are already interested in our band, that’s really touching. So, hopefully we will do a great job and we’ll get invited back. Hopefully it won’t be the only time we’ve made it to the States.”

[This article originally appeared in Under the Radar’s March/April 2013 print issue.]


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