Concert preview: Chvrches builds its music around fun

By Columbus Alive
From the September 12, 2013 edition

It’s tempting to call Chvrches an overnight success. After all, the Scottish synth-pop trio has already been the subject of glowing features in outlets like the Guardian, Spin and tastemaking website Pitchfork — even though it just released its debut EP, Recover, in March.

In truth, all three band members have logged countless hours in various bands in and around Glasgow. Most recently singer/songwriter Lauren Mayberry fronted Boyfriend/Girlfriend and Blue Sky Archives, while synthesizer/production duo Iain Cook and Martin Doherty played with Aereogramme and The Twilight Sad, respectively.

Even so, all three were caught off guard by the overwhelming response they received after uploading a couple of songs to their SoundCloud site last year.

“I remember being at work [the day the songs posted online] and wondering why my phone was going off so much,” Mayberry said. “I used to work for a film and television production company, and we were trying to work on a shoot … and it was like, ‘What’s happening?’ It was pretty weird.”

Despite this early success the bandmates chose to record their full-length debut, The Bones of What You Believe (due out Sept. 23), in the same manner as Recover, holing up in a Glasgow basement rather than opting for a fancier recording studio. They did this, in part, to mute the growing buzz and maintain the same sense of experimentation that fueled their earliest efforts.

“We were aware stuff was happening outside [the studio],” said Mayberry, who was born to a teacher mother and an engineer father and has played in bands off and on since high school. “We just needed to block [the distractions] out as much as possible so we could make the record we wanted to make.”

It’s an attitude that goes to the core of Chvrches’ approach, which is built around the idea that music is supposed to be, you know, fun.

“There’s that weird moment when you’re a kid and you’re like, ‘Oh, people are in bands? I could be in a band?’” Mayberry said. “Then you join your questionable high school band and you do terrible covers but everyone thinks it’s still great because you’re playing it yourself.

“I kind of get nostalgic for those times. It was terrible, but you thought it was awesome because it was like, ‘Yeah, we’re in a f-----g band, man!’ I still miss those naïve days.”