P H O T O © D A N N Y C L N C H
Chvrches are back with that notoriously difﬁ cult second album. David Pollock
talks to Lauren Mayberry about meeting expectations, avoiding pigeonholes and
facing up to internet trolls
W hatever you do, don’t call Lauren Mayberry a pop star. It’s easy to mistake her for one, especially when Chvrches’ debut album The Bones of What You Believe and its sublime roster of heartfelt synth-pop singles helped write the soundtrack to 2013, putting her and bandmates Martin ‘Dok’ Doherty and Iain Cook all over TV and radio. But on the eve of the follow-up Every Open Eye’s release, the former List writer isn’t having it.
‘We were overwhelmed by how much the i rst album connected with people, but I wouldn’t put us in the “pop star” realm,’ she says. ‘And I wouldn’t view myself as separate from Iain and Martin in that regard. Just because I front the band or we play bigger stages now, it doesn’t mean we somehow suddenly changed the way we approach things. We all still view what we do as indie and alternative in terms of how we execute it, even if the actual music we make is more pop than our previous projects. I like that Chvrches treads that line and is difi cult to pigeonhole.’
This record has been a year in the making. ‘We started talking about the hows and wheres of writing a second album in the middle of 2014,’ recalls Mayberry. ‘It quickly became evident that we all wanted to go back to our studio in Glasgow to make it. We rent a basement l at on the Southside which has been converted into a studio, the same place we recorded The Bones of What You Believe. As amazing as the past couple of years have been, it was really important for us that we remove ourselves completely from that world in order to make new material.’ There is, of course, that old cliché about the second album being hell for a band trying to stamp their identity on the world as a known quantity, but Chvrches don’t seem to be sweating it. ‘Moving from a i rst to a second album is an incredibly transitional time for any band because you never get to make one in a vacuum like you did with your debut,’ says Mayberry. ‘People have a pre-existing idea of what your band is going to be, so we just wanted to make sure this record was completely ours by self-producing again. No one has a better idea of what Chvrches is than we do.’
24 THE LIST 3 Sep–5 Nov 2015