January 28, 2016

You must have heard of the band Chvrches. Back in 2014, the trio astounded us with their live performance at the St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, where Iain Cook, Martin Doherty, and their outspoken female lead vocalist, Lauren Mayberry, gave us a taste of their energetic blend of Scottish synth-pop, playing mostly material from their critically-loved debut album, The Bones of What You Believe.

At the time, we had songs like “The Mother We Share” and “Gun” on endless repeat, and okay, we admit that these are still inclined to frequent plays on our Spotify loops. Since then, the band has been doing lots and lots of touring, before finally dropping new material, their second album, Every Open Eye, in September last year. They’ll be back for this year’s St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival too. Before they make their way here though, we spoke to Iain Cook to get some updates on the band, especially on their latest album.

You’ve been here a couple of times – 2014’s Laneway Festival was a particularly memorable one. How has it been like performing in Singapore?

The first time we came, we didn’t know what it would be like, but really, it was a fantastic show with loads of people. It was an exciting experience. Hopefully this time, it’d be another memorable night – Singapore’s such a great place, it’s beautiful, and the people are fun.

Let’s dive right in and talk about your music. The band has finally released a second album, Every Open Eye, much to the delight of your fans. How is this different from the first one though?

I wouldn’t say it’s radically different, it’s kind of what we’ve done before, but at the same time, more developed, more focused and more refined. It feels more “Chvrches”, more us. We believe more in ourselves, and what we have achieved, and this comes after more than two years of touring, which made us have a much better sense of who we are. We went back to the same studio in Glasglow to record it.

How would you say it’s more refined?

It’s still what we do, but not really top 40s pop, you know? I think of us like a rock band, not really the sound, but just the energy of that.

How did it feel like to be back in the studio after all that touring?

We did like 355 shows in the course of 3 years. So, obviously, things are gonna be different! We wrote really well, and it feels like we’re a tighter group now and I think the touring really helped us creatively. It feels like an entirely different dynamic.

But, we were nervous too – like, we didn’t know if we could still work together. We didn’t talk too much before entering the studio though, we just went in, got to be ourselves after like a 6 weeks break, and it turned out to be a good feeling, reassuring. It felt familiar.

Was there a theme for the current album? How was the songwriting process like?

It comes from a dark place, but you’re still looking forward, still optimistic and hoping for change. Lauren’s the one who writes the lyrics, stuff in her personal life, like in “Leave A Trace”. Most of our songs start the same way, we record pieces in the studio, and it usually starts with a beat. We get most of the ideas for the chorus from that beat. Lauren maybe writes the lyrics after we have the basis of a song.

I thought the most memorable one we wrote was “Clearest Blue”, it was great, effortless, and I like how that comes across in the song as well, that energy and momentum. It was very much collaborative.

For tickets, line-up and more info, head over to singapore.lanewayfestival.com.