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Lauren Mayberry, CHVRCHES: "This is the time to be vigilant and think about what kind of people we want to be"

Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES breaks down the value of music today, Sleater-Kinney's influence on her, and the attitudes that are necessary as we swim in the shifts of the world.
Lauren Mayberry, CHVRCHES:

by SAND Magazine

July 12, 2018

Back in May, electro-pop band CHVRCHES released their new album Love is Dead. The video for their first single off the album, Miracle, details a warfare in which Lauren Mayberry finds herself embroiled in – even if she doesn't want to.

The 13-track album comes with chilling lyrics. In 2018, these words seem to speak more of the state of the world rather than personal feelings. The band has always been unreserved about their views on feminism, state affairs, and the entertainment business. In an interview with FADER, CHVRCHES maintained that awareness and informed opinions in a world that sees multiple issues unfolding at once are crucial.

Their presence is carefully crafted, too. Members Martin Doherty and Iain Cook are wary about playing into the media's favoured 'frontwoman band' narrative. Meanwhile, Lauren Mayberry constantly challenges defence against the female voice in the media.

Seeing as more art forms are documented these days, do you still view music as one of the most powerful movers of change?
L.M.: I think any art that connects with people or allows them to express themselves is powerful. So much of our lives are spent being very solitary but live music especially is one place where people still come together and there’s a real feeling of community.

With ‘Love Is Dead’, what other forms of artistry did you find yourselves experimenting or developing beyond the soundscape and lyricism?
L.M.: We were conscious of wanting all aspects of the album release, from videos, artwork to our online presence, to really feel consistent with the record and further the story of our album. The whole album concept was creative directed by Warren Fu, who has worked with people like Daft Punk and the Strokes, and he really helped us bring all of that to life.

Yourself, along with Martin and Iain, have been very outspoken about social and political change. Did Trump’s presidential win, for example, further elevate the need to speak out?
L.M.: We are definitely living in strange times. I feel like what motivated Trump’s rise to power, Brexit or anything else, is about people feeling afraid and angry and, rightly or wrongly, projecting that onto other people.

I think this is the time to be vigilant and think about what kind of people we want to be.

Were there other moments in recent history that sparked interest in media activism within the band?
L.M.: I think we have always just conducted ourselves in a way that feels right to us. I don’t see the point in being silent about certain things just because you hope it might make a few more people like your band. 

After your piece with Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker on Interview Magazine in 2015, have you ever thought for a moment that the conversation might have changed you or built on certain perspectives you once held?
L.M.: The music that Sleater-Kinney made and the things they spoke about definitely resonated with me when I was growing up and I really do think that women like Corin and Kathleen Hanna informed the things I believe in.

It’s hard to talk about those things now without the media being condescending or labelling you, so I have even more respect for that fact that those women were talking about equality and respect within the industry 20 years beforehand.

What are some of the most important discussions of 2018 in your opinion, and why?
L.M.: I think we have to get to the stage where we realise that shouting in each others’ faces isn’t going to make any difference. It’s important to stand up and support people and try to figure out why people think the things they do, then try to unpack that. Finding the balance between that and channeling your frustration in a constructive way feels like the way forward to me.

Finally, what’s the most complicated aspect of being a musician from your experience?
L.M.: Just making sure you’re being honest in the work that you’re making and not letting other things impact what you’re creating.


 CHVRCHES will be playing in Jakarta on July 25. Get tickets here.


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