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Interview: CHVRCHES

“Heavenly Scottish synth-pop romantics.” –  Spin


This Glasgow group made an excellent band name choice when it comes to internet searches. Iain Cook, Martin Doherty, and Lauren Mayberry formed electro-synthpop flavoured CHVRCHES in 2011. It’s just over a year since they posted their first song online, and their debut EP “Recover” followed in March 2013. Expect their full length album “The Bones of What You Believe” on September 24th.

They are described by label Neon Gold as “a godless hurricane of kinetic pop energy,” and the band, consisting of Iain Cook, Lauren Mayberry, and Martin Doherty, has ridden that hurricane from their basement recording studio in Glasgow to the sunny skies of South by Southwest, opening for Passion Pit, supporting Depeche Mode, and hitting the stage on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Rated fifth in the BBC’s Sound of 2013 list of the most promising music talent, CHVRCHES is crafting a devoted following all over the world – not least in Toronto. In September they will be back for the third time in less than a year at the beloved Danforth Music Hall, and you can bet it will be one packed hall if their previous shows are any indication.

Despite their hectic schedule, we were lucky enough to steal the band’s attention for a minute before they took the stage at the Hoxton during their last trip to Toronto. They told us about their trials during touring, what they’re up to in North America, and (of course) the kind of things we’re likely to expect on their upcoming releases.

INDIE 88: So tell me, how was playing South by Southwest?

Martin: It was hard work but it was a lot of fun. We were doing press all day and playing at night and we never really stopped. At the end of it, I had to go to sleep for a long time.

Iain: I think we were buzzing on adrenaline for three days.

INDIE 88: And you played five shows in three days?

Lauren: I think we were complaining because we were like, “Oh we’re playing so much,” but we met another band called Parkade Chords, who were the hardest working guys. We were pretty wimpish compared to that.

INDIE 88: And now you’re here in Toronto!

Lauren: Yeah, I think it’s the second time we’ve been here. We were here in March for Canadian Music Week – but only for one day. We played with a band called DIANA, who I really like, and this time we’re playing with a band called Still Corners. I’ve seen them in Glasgow before, and they’re really great!

INDIE 88: I guess we should get back to basics: how did the band come together?

Martin: Iain and I have known each other for a long time, and he and Lauren knew each other from other musical ventures. We talked about working together, started writing, and things moved pretty quickly after that – that’s the shortened version of the story.

INDIE 88: What are some of the different influences you bring to your music?

Lauren: We are inspired by the environment that we’re in. I think we all share a reasonable amount of influences in common – soundtracks from 80’s films and stuff like that. The key is to be inspired, but not wear it all on your sleeve.

Martin: It’s nice to reference stuff but not to draw too heavily on it.

INDIE 88: You seem to release singles sporadically over time – is it a conscious release strategy for you and your music?

Martin: It just kind of feels natural and organic to be honest. When we started, we just put one song out – then we were like, “Let’s make a ten-inch.” And that was all before we had labels in the mix. It was kind of this grand plan to feed the EP to people.

INDIE 88: What can you tell us about the new record?

Lauren: There should be a bit more diversity [than what you hear in the singles]. Anyone who’s seen the live show will probably have a good idea of what will be on it.

INDIE 88: Is “Gun” going to be on the new album?

Lauren: Yes. The songs people have heard previously will be on there, but not the whole EP – that’s just giving people the same things twice.

INDIE 88: What are some of the fun things you’ve gotten to do in North America?

Lauren: We usually get good tips for cool places to eat or hang out. We were just in Chicago yesterday and we did the Chicago hot dog thing, which apparently is a big deal.

Iain: I wanted to go to Canada’s Wonderland but nobody will go with me.



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