Anyone who truly loves the sound and potential of the synthesizer has doubtless encountered the sound of CHVRCHES by now. The Scottish trio, coming up on the 10th anniversary of its first album The Bones of What You Believe, has been making high-quality electronic pop that has conquered the most rockist of charts and fans with sincerity and sophistication. They have that very rare gift: an ability to play you something you’ve never heard before that hits with the impact of a lifelong fave.
After triumphant shows over the years at Exit/In, Marathon Music Works and the Ryman — and multiple appearances at Bonnaroo, including one following their latest LP Screen Violence — the band heads back to Nashville to headline the sixth annual OutLoud Music Festival. If you’ve seen the show Heartstopper on Netflix, you’ve already felt the tremulous majesty that CHVRCHES craft, and in the service of queer PDA. It’s awesome, and indicative of the arena-size synth pop that they’ve been perfecting over the past decade. The Scene spoke with frontwoman Lauren Mayberry recently via Zoom about her band’s upcoming Music City return.
Playing Saturday, Sept. 17, at OutLoud Music Festival
That’s very kind of you. We obviously love both of those bands and take a lot of inspiration from that time period in general, but I guess it’s always been about merging those sounds with the rest of each person’s musical tastes also. On Screen Violence, the guys were talking as much about The Prodigy as they were about Brian Eno or My Bloody Valentine. A lot of this album sonically was informed by horror scores, which is a different space of the ’70s-’80s landscape that we hadn’t dipped into too much before.
This album was definitely the strangest recording process we’ve had, because everyone was separate for so much of 2020. I think in a way, though, that was a good writing exercise and gave everyone space to experiment and then come back to the group. Lyrically, I think that separation was helpful so I could really take the time to think about the stories and the narrative.
It’s been really lovely to be able to tour Screen Violence and see how those songs have resonated with people — especially since we weren’t even sure when we were making that record whether we’d get to tour it at all. So we’re really just in that headspace at the moment.
This era really has been blessed by the legends. It was really incredible to work with all those people — artists we really admire and who have really informed the work we make. The Grace Jones show will be really special. I just have to make sure not to act like a weirdo backstage because she doesn’t need my fangirling in her life.
Thank you. I feel like Screen Violence really did marry together all the influences we all have in a way that feels really cohesive. I like that I can hear everyone’s personality on this album.
Working with Dave was so great. He’s been incredibly kind to us, and obviously a band like ours owes a huge debt to Eurythmics. I don’t think we would have made an album like this one if we hadn’t had that experience with Dave. For me especially, he was so encouraging and really pushed me to think about the whole process of making an album and a concept and advocating for a vision.
It’s always really fun to see your creativity be used to tell a story inside someone else’s creative vision, and we’ve been so lucky with certain syncs in recent years. It’s amazing that songs can get this whole other life now, outside of album cycles or campaigns.
That would be fantastic. A girl can dream!
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