Described as “a godless hurricane of kinetic pop energy”, it’s no doubt we’re more than ready to finally catch CHVRCHES debut on our home grounds!
Hailing from the land of good whiskey and ‘Nessie’, the super synth-pop trio CHVRCHES (pronounced as “churches”) have taken the music world by storm back took the internet by storm when the dropped their hit single ‘The Mother We Share’. The group from Glasgow consists of Lauren Mayberry (lead vocals, synthesisers and samplers), Iain Cook (synthesizers, guitar, bass and backing vocals) and Martin Doherty (synthesisers, samplers and backing vocals). In just three short years the young Scottish musicians have charmed crowds internationally with their Recover EP and debut album The Bones of What You Believe which got listed at number 32 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 50 Best Albums of 2013. As they prepare for their Laneway Festival tour, we managed to get the opportunity to catch up with keyboardist Iain Cook on visiting our humble little dot and producing the album that captivated the hearts of many.
Hello Chvrches! What have you all been up to?
Hello! It’s been a very busy time for us over the last year. We have been lucky enough to be playing all over the place and are very much looking forward to finally getting to Singapore in January!
So first things first, how did Chvrches come about?
Martin and I met a long time ago at university and became good friends and collaborated on various other band projects. For a number of years we had been planning getting together and doing something new that excited us and in late summer 2011 we finally did. Coincidentally at the same time I was working with Lauren, producing an EP with her band at the time. We asked her to come down and listen to a couple of demos that Martin and I had been working on and it all kinda started from there.
What gave you all the reason and motivation to bring this studio project on stage?
Really it was just that we were enjoying writing together and thought it would be amazing if we were able to play the songs to people live. When we put our song Lies up on our Soundcloud page in Spring 2012, the response was unexpected and overwhelming, so we felt like we had to take it to the stage.
The music video for ‘Gun’ is extremely trippy, was that the original intention and what inspired that song?
Yeah we wanted to do something dark and trippy. Thematically, David Cronenberg was an inspiration but his movies rarely get as psychedelic as our video. That song isn’t actually written from the perspective of a spurned lover as often people thing it is. But it does kind of have bitter revenge overtones to the lyrics.
CHVRCHES’ sound is unparalleled to others and packed a certain punch when the first demo was ever released. Not many bands are able to achieve this, what was the secret behind it?
Thank you for saying so, that’s really nice of you! I don’t think there’s a particular secret that I can disclose. Our sound really just comes from the chemistry between the three of us as songwriters. We write music to please us first and foremost, and we have very high standards to meet, as well as some very different sources of inspiration. Creatively it just works and it feels very exciting to be a part of it.
How do you all approach writing songs? Since you all come from pretty different backgrounds and have different influences, do your ideas ever clash? And if so, how would you guys solve these creative differences?
We bounce ideas off each other in the studio, it all happens quite quickly and of course the clashing of ideas is what makes it special. There’s never any massive creative disagreements though, I think we have established a great creative relationship where we all trust one another, so if someone feels strongly about something, it’s probably for a good reason! Sometimes ideas need to be sold to the others but it’s a lot of fun and always good natured.
What was the process of producing the album like?
It was very intense and we kind of ran out of time at the end because the live schedule was filling up so we had to pass on the mixing process. We recorded and produced everything at my basement studio in Glasgow, just the three of us and lots of coffee. No alcohol in the studio though…it leads to some questionable creative decisions!
You guys have been everywhere these past few months! How has touring been so far and were there any down right bat shit crazy experiences that y’all have shared?
Bat shit crazy? Nothing specifically that comes to mind. We have got to meet some pretty amazing and colourful characters this year. Playing The Late Show with David Letterman was pretty crazy in terms of being able to do something that we never thought we would ever do!
So after playing a long list of shows thus far, what type of crowds do you prefer playing? Small and more intimate gigs or large festivals?
I like them both to be honest. It’s great to play big festivals where you can play music to lots of people who don’t all necessarily know or like your music. It gives us a chance to win over some new fans. And of course there’s a great energy that comes from small, sweaty, more intimate shows too.
What have been the craziest fan experiences you all have gotten?
We don’t have any crazy fans, they are all very normal and very polite and respectful ;-) We were swarmed once on Times Square in NYC by a bunch of Japanese fans once. That was very surprising and a little weird!
So if your sound could be represented by any scent or a flavor, what would it be?
Sweet and salty peanut butter.
Will Laneway be your first time in Singapore?
Yeah, first time ever. I hear great things about the place and the people and food. Can’t wait to experience it.
What have you heard about the crowds here and what is one thing that you would want to do when you’re here? (E.g. try the local food)
Also, are there any bands in the Laneway lineup that you’re pretty stoked about catching?
Very much looking forward to seeing Warpaint. I like the sound of the new stuff and I can’t wait to see them live. I really like Unknown Mortal Orchestra too and of course, our friends Frightened Rabbit will be incredible.
Lastly, what do you want your audience to feel after catching your set?
I hope that people will find our music and performance uplifting and feel inspired.
It’s not too late to pick up tickets and F&B vouchers!
Laneway Festival Singapore 2014
The Meadow, Gardens By the Bay
Saturday, 25 January 2014