Chvrches frontwoman Lauren Mayberry was the only woman to took the stage at Thursday night’s Alt 103 Xmas show in Indianapolis. Unfortunately, this trend is something she’s rather used to.
“Even when I was a teenager playing in bands, I can think of two other women in bands that I came across between the ages of 15 and 24,” Mayberry says backstage at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. “That is really weird and abnormal when you think about it.”
Following an appearance in Tulsa, Okla. the night before, Chvrches visited Indianapolis to headline a show that also featured performances from AJR and The Struts. Before their set, the Scottish synth-pop band sat down with NUVO music editor Seth Johnson to discuss a myriad of topics.
NUVO: What is touring in the U.S. like compared to touring in the U.K.?
MARTIN DOHERTY: It’s pretty similar. You have clubs, theaters, and then arenas. Because we’re the same size [in terms of draw] in both places, we have very similar experiences.
NUVO: I know you have a master’s degree in journalism, Lauren. What was it that initially sparked your interest in journalism?
LAUREN MAYBERRY: I didn’t ever properly work as a journalist. It was more just something I could do when I was in bands. When I was a teenager, I wanted to do investigative journalism or documentaries and stuff. By the time this band started, I was working as a production assistant on things. So it was more that [type of work] than music writing. I kind of hate music writing. [laughs] I hate doing it, and I hate it generally.
It’s interesting. We live in a time where you can say something on the internet, and it’s automatically fact whether it’s been checked or not. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be living in the world we’re living in right now. But yeah. It’s been interesting doing so much media stuff as a band. I feel like we look at it a bit differently. We actually know more about how the cogs are moving.
NUVO: You guys were recently on an episode of the Comedy Bang Bang podcast. I regularly write about comedy for NUVO as well, so I’m curious what comedy you’ve been excited about lately?
DOHERTY: I like Ali Wong. I’ve watched her Netflix specials. She’s really funny.
MAYBERRY: The Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee episodes are all now on Netflix. When watching comedy and taking it in, I don’t think about how it’s written and how it’s made. So it’s really interesting to learn about people’s processes. Because it’s still creating; it’s just really different from music.
DOHERTY: I like Larry David as well. He’s a genius.
NUVO: You worked with outside producers for the first time on your latest album, Love Is Dead. What went into the decision to do that?
IAIN COOK: It was really just the urge to try something different and expand our horizons a little bit. [We wanted to] see what it was like [to have] an experience working outside the three of us.
MAYBERRY: And I feel like you learn something from every kind of writing. You learn something different every time you do it. I would rather keep trying to progress in some way rather than feeling like you’re stuck in the same spot. Being in the same place can feel quite stagnant. I feel like we got a lot out of it.
NUVO: You made mention earlier of the times we’re living in right now, Lauren. I know that you personally are involved in a lot of activism efforts. Tell me about some of the groups or organizations you’re passionate about.
MAYBERRY: With the headlining shows we do in America or Europe, one dollar or euro goes to a local Girls Rock camp or a local music youth group. That’s done through an organization called Plus 1. They work with bands and coordinate everything for you. That’s been really cool.
Even if you look at a show like today’s, there are no girls in any of those other bands. I have not seen females in any other crew apart from ours. That’s not a slight against this radio station or a slight against those bands. It’s just the way that the industry is, and that’s a top-down bottom-up thing. So it’s really cool that we get to do a tiny thing for each city that we go to.
NUVO: I recently talked with Diet Cig, and a lot of our discussion centered around inclusivity at music venues. Is that at all an issue you’re conscious of when performing?
MAYBERRY: It’s difficult for you as a band when you’re on stage. You can’t see everything that’s happening, and you have to rely on venue security or other people at shows. I guess it is part of the same climate. Women or other minorities are made to feel like they are not welcome in certain environments, and that’s just because of a preexisting status quo. If you can do anything to chip away at those things, I think it makes a difference.