Chrvches Iain Cook on sexism: “It’s been pretty shocking”
As far as meteoric rises go, Scotland synth-pop trio Chvrches (pronounced 'churches') have had the ultimate ride. Dubbed an indie 'internet band' ever since they burst onto the scene in 2012 off the strength of a couple of killer lead singles ('Lies' and 'The Mother We Share'), the critical success of debut LP The Bones Of What You Believe quickly garnered Chvrches a bunch of loyal and passionate followers.
This meant that their follow up, 2015's Every Open Eye - a fusion of cool synth beats and electropop tricks was less surprising, but no less adored. Their instant fame has not been without drawbacks though, with lead singer Lauren Mayberry speaking out against the misogyny she cops on an almost daily basis. We caught up with Iain Cook (synths, guitar, bass and vocals), one third of the multi-talented trio to talk instant success, Aussie acts and online trolls.
Your first album was universally loved. Did you feel pressure to deliver on your second album, Every Open Eye?
There was definitely a bit of pressure, but it was all internal. We didn't really talk about it but we were all feeling it I think. As soon as we got in the studio and started writing, the pressure started to ease. We quickly realised that we hadn't forgotten how to write together.
You guys recorded The Mother We Share in your basement all on your own - was Every Open Eye put together in a similar way?
Yes, exactly the same way. We did it all ourselves (with the help of engineer and all-round genius David Simpson) in our own studio. This time we had a bunch more equipment which meant we were able to streamline the process quite a bit and also have a larger palette of sounds to choose from.
You guys are quite an anomaly - in that you make music that also attracts both indie and pop listeners - as a band, is that something you feel proud of?
Very much so, yes. It's a much trickier balancing act than it looks but I feel like it's worth it because it means that we're treading our own path and not doing the same thing as every other band out there. Of course, it presents its own problems but we're learning a lot as we go along and things are much better this time around. It was much harder on the first album because we were defining all of our own parameters, but now, people mostly know what we are about.
The band has been in the headlines a little over Lauren Mayberry's stance on sexist and offensive comments - is this something that offends you as well?
Of course. It's something that we have all become painfully aware of because of what Lauren has been subjected to online. It's been pretty shocking and hurtful to see, but she is a very strong lady and has dealt with it much better than I could have.
You guys are playing at Laneway this weekend and doing some Australian sideshows - do you have any favourite Australian artists?
I'm a massive fan of Tame Impala's [latest] record [Currents]. Courtney Barnett is fantastic too. There's lots of exciting music coming from Australia. We just toured with Mansionair who we worked with when we released their EP via our Goodbye Records label.
What were 5 favourite albums of last year?
Tame Impala - Currents
Jamie XX - In Colour
Holly Herndon - Platform
Max Richter - Sleep
Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly
And the last 5 songs you listened to?
Katy Perry - 'Teenage Dream'
Rolling Stones - 'Gimme Shelter'
Grand Funk Railroad - 'People Let's Stop the War'
Black Sabbath - 'Black Sabbath'
Depeche Mode - 'Black Celebration'
Last time you were in Australia you did a Triple J cover of Arctic Monkeys' Do I Wanna Know? (which I personally loved). If asked to do this again, what would you cover?
I have no idea! We're pretty much done with covers at the moment. We have done so many of them that we were in danger of becoming known as a covers band. That said - we will probably end up doing more before too long.
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