CHVRCHES: We didn't think the "V" would be a big deal

Categories: Q&A
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Photo courtesy of the artist

For those among us who believe that artistic intent matters a hell of a lot, there is CHVRCHES. The Glasgow-bred synth-pop trio -- with backgrounds in groups including Aereogramme, Blue Sky Archives, and the Twilight Sad -- hatched a plan to rock as hard as they could with razor-sharp vintage synthesizers, and to inject the sinister underpinnings of emotions that can't be summed up in just three words. (Sorry, "Call Me Maybe.") And for those who just want some creatively constructed retro dance music, CHVRCHES is there for them too.

Out this month, their debut The Bones of What You Believe is one of 2013's most expressive albums. Even when most of the songs were unfamiliar at a Fine Line appearance in June, lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry and bandmates Martin Doherty and Iain Cook showed their hunger to push to a bigger room like First Avenue, where they'll play tonight. Ahead of the show, Gimme Noise Spoke to the astute Mayberry about her dual life as a musician and journalist, and uncovered a few bones of what she believes about songwriting.


Gimme Noise: How has it felt to have your dual life of journalism and music lean more heavily to the latter?

Lauren Mayberry: I was lucky enough to do all right at school and university, so it was logical for me to have a sensible job and do music in my spare time. I've been a freelance journalist for a few years, which is flexible, and I can do it while we go on tour. It's more flexible than a staffer job. [Here's an interview she did with The List, her old paper.] It was getting to the point that I was doing it a lot with this band. It's tough to keep deadlines when you're in a different time zone. It makes sense to make this a priority. We're really lucky to be in this position. We've been in bands for years and years and years and never... now we're going to see what happens.

A lot of the writing you've been doing lately has ended up on a site called TYCI. How do you work that into your touring schedule?

That's an unpaid volunteer thing that I do with some friends from home. We have radio shows and podcasts and things. It's wicked fun, and I think it's easier to do that from a distance because I am the webmaster. I can't get myself in any trouble for being late for the deadlines that I give myself. I find it quite therapeutic in a way if I've been traveling a lot or just been a bit crazy with the band. It's nice to sit down and have a routine.

For you, how does being interviewed compare to being the interviewer?

When you're on the journalist's side, you assume that everyone is the same kind of journalist as you. Or roughly, in terms of approach. It's interesting to see how different people do things. There are good things and bad. Sometimes people are really in-depth and generally interested in asking questions, but then there are other times when you realize that people don't report exactly what you said. I've always been a ridiculously honest journalist and I'll always make the angle of the piece based upon what a person has said. It's interesting that it's not always the case. It's interesting to see how these things work in real life. MS MR was really cool, and we have our connection with Neon Gold. People can get inspired by that.

What is your favorite interview you've conducted?

With Maggie Serota of Low Times, I could tell she was answering completely honestly. There was no bullshit.

What will you do when an interviewee answers "CHVRCHES" when you ask about their favorite bands?

That hasn't happened yet, so I'm okay with that. I kind of go incognito when I'm doing the website stuff. I don't think people put two and two together that much. I'm able to carry on as a normal interviewer.

How has the V in your name taken on a life of its own?

I feel a bit bad because we didn't think it would be a big deal. Our friend Amy did the art for us. She stylized it as a Roman "u." We carried it along to the printed name. It's really odd. People ask "How do you pronounce that?" I'm okay with being in a band with a funny spelling.


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