Chvrches' Lauren Mayberry: "We Have a 'No Complaining' Policy on Tour"
Photos by Eliot Hazel
"The past year has been quite a change for us," says Chvrches front woman Lauren Mayberry, during a recent phone interview.
In the past year alone, the Glasgow-based trio have become key players on the electro-pop scene. They've toured with Depeche Mode, sold out headlining tours across the world, and earned an award for the best developing non-U.S. band at SXSW in March.
Much of Chvrches' popularity was achieved before their debut album, this year's The Bones of What You Believe, was even released: Last year they released their first song, "Lies," solely online, which instantly garnered attention. Their next single, the infectious "The Mother We Share" was one of last summer's indie-pop anthems.
"The Internet has been important for us," Mayberry explains, of their road to success. "People first heard our single online and passed it onto their friends. We found our fan community online."
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Mayberry speaks humbly, sincerely grateful for her band's break.
"It's important to us that we never stop appreciating these things," she says, of Chvrches' fan support and favorable media attention. "I'm just excited (press) want to talk to us!"
"We've each been in bands where we've traveled for hours to play a show and there's, like, eight people there, and we don't get paid," she recalls.
"Now," she compares, "we get to travel on planes and see different parts of the world we'd never thought we'd ever see, all because people are enjoying our music. It's pretty incredible."
Mayberry speaks softly and sweetly, her Scottish accent thick. She couldn't stand much taller than 5 feet tall, yet her opinionated voice belies her unassuming appearance.
A band "born on the Internet," Chvrches have always taken a hands-on approach managing their publicity, checking their own emails and responding to Facebook messages -- until recently, that is.
Fed up with the amount of sexually abusive messages she was receiving, Mayberry valiantly took a stand against "online misogyny," and penned a wisely worded editorial for The Guardian, to speak her mind.
"Is the casual objectification of women so commonplace that we should all just suck it up, roll over and accept defeat? Objectification is not something anyone should have to 'just deal with,'" she wrote.
Interview continues on the next page.
Mayberry, who earned a degree in Journalism and a graduate degree in Law, highlighted the dichotomy of the Internet age -- without an online avenue, Chvrches likely wouldn't have attained this level of success; with it, the band has unsolicitedly opened avenues for explicit objectification, thanks to some grotesquely bad apples.
"We no longer directly email with people anymore," she says ruefully. "I liked having that direct connection with our fans, but [the abuse] was something that was happening all the time, on a day-to-day basis," she reveals. "It exists, so I'm glad I wrote the letter at the end of the day."
"We should harness what was happening in Riot Grrrl," she says of the '90s ideology, "like working from the ground-up, starting dialogues, and getting people to share their opinions."
She's admirably fierce in her activist thought, but Mayberry keeps her cool in her day-to-day -- especially while touring, which is its own stress.
"We have a 'No Complaining' policy on tour," she laughs. "We don't succeed all the time, but we try."
After nearly a year of straight touring, Chvrches is eager to ready their next album, already "kicking some song ideas about," says Mayberry. But first, the Scots will make their way down South, where they'll play Houston for the first time on Saturday.
Mayberry is particularly excited about one of Texas' finest culinary offerings.
"There are a lot of tacos in Texas," she notes, brightly. "And I can never eat too many tacos."
Chvrches plays House of Blues, 1204 Caroline, Sunday night with Basecamp. The show is sold out, but the band also plays a 4 p.m. instore that day at Cactus Music, 2110 Portsmouth. Good luck with that one.
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