By Adam Deane
VANCOUVER – As far as Scottish synth-rock goes, Lauren Mayberry and her well-respected trio Chvrches have had their genre on lockdown for the last five years — 2018 being no different. With the release of their third album, Love Is Dead, earlier this year, the band has been hard at work touring, playing late night television programs and speaking out on important topics that affect everyone’s lives — you know, the usual.
When she isn’t advocating for women’s rights, writing smash-hits or blurring the proverbial lines between indie, synth-rock and dream-pop, you’ll more than likely find Mayberry on her tour bus, in the driver’s seat (don’t worry, the bus wasn’t on) speaking with publications such as BeatRoute.
Now five years after her infamous piece that she published in the Guardian, well before the #MeToo movement took shape, an article titled “I will not accept online misogyny,” she clued us into the motivations behind her words, looking back.
“The conversation is different now. What frustrated me when we were talking to people about it, so many people were just saying it was part of the job. We were trying to reclaim the power in a situation where we were being made to feel quite powerless. It’s been really positive. It’s become part of the narrative and identity of the band. That matters in the terrifying times we are living in. It matters to GIVE A SHIT at this point.”
Seven years into any artist’s career, there will be a laundry-list of lessons learned, lessons ignored, and lessons earned. Mayberry made it clear that she and bandmates Iain Cook and Martin Doherty are at a point in their careers where they can comfortably say their art is more about honesty, connection and making themselves happy.
“I think we’ve always kind of written like that. We didn’t know there would be an audience in the beginning. We would go into different basement studios, we’re always in basements for some reason.” She laughed. “We’ll block out the outside world to make stuff. We want to write music, and say something and make songs with friends. We’re lucky we get to keep doing it.”
Love Is Dead can be explained in much the same way as a badass coffee in that it features a few of the usual soothingly dreamy, yet bold and distinct tracks like “Graffiti” and “Miracle” where Mayberry’s prismatic voice grabs you, gently carries you through to the hook and then slams you on your back hard enough to enjoy the coda in an oddly pleasant, euphoric daze. She’s even got a duet-track, “My Enemy,” which she performs with the National’s Matt Berninger. The record’s got something for everyone.
Wrapping up the interview, Mayberry gushed about a few of her not-so-guilty pleasures to get her through those tougher tour days.
“I spend a lot of time watching Netflix and not going out. Martin and I have both been watching the Bold Type. I cried at the end — poignant comedy. Mostly good fun. But, I cry if the wind blows the wrong way too quickly. I’ve learned to surf the waves of my emotions. You can’t get the good stuff without the bad.”
Cvrches perform at the Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver) on September 27 and 28.