Chvrches return to Edinburgh for Corn Exchange gig

Chvrches. Pic: Comp
Chvrches. Pic: Comp
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CHVRCHES have always been an aptly-named band: music fans and critics alike have kneeled at the altar of the Scottish synth-poppers since they burst onto the scene late in 2012 with first single Lies.

That utterly infectious slice of electro-pop paved the way for the enormous sea of hype that surrounded The Bones Of What You Believe, an absolute cracker of a debut album that not only lived up to expectations but actually exceeded them.

Tomorrow, the Glasgow trio visit the Corn Exchange, a gig which marks their first visit to the Capital since they played the Waverley Stage at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay last year.

“I remember being really nervous before we played the Hogmanay show,” says bandmember Iain Cook. “It’s not until you get up there and see the size of the crowd that it really hits you.

“There were so many people there and the nerves kicked in a bit. Once we started playing, though, I started to relax a bit and it was an amazing gig in the end.

“I remember afterwards I got absolutely hammered – as you do at New Year – so it was a great way to spend Hogmanay.

“We’re really looking forward to playing at the Corn Exchange,” he continues. “I’ve seen some amazing bands there over the years, so it will be great to play that venue.

“We actually played our first ever gig in Edinburgh at the Electric Cirus. It was at a Vic Galloway night and we played under the pseudonym Shark Week – so yeah, Edinburgh has always been a special city for us.

“As for the setlist on Wednesday, the majority will be taken from the album – but we’ll also play the new single, Get Away, and we’ll play the track we’ve just recorded for the Hunger Games soundtrack.”

The track in question, Dead Air, features on the Lorde-curated soundtrack for Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, which will be released later this month.

Asked how they came to be involved, Cook explains, “Lorde called us and asked if we’d like to be involved. We were just like, ‘Hell, yeah! It’s going to be such a massive film, so to have a song on the soundtrack is just amazing. It’s going to be heard by so many people.

“It was a great opportunity for us, and obviously we didn’t have to be asked twice by Lorde.”

The trio all come from diverse musical backgrounds: singer Lauren Mayberry is an ex-journalist who used to sing with indie groups Boyfriend/Girlfriend and Blue Sky Archives, synth wizard Martin Doherty was a touring member of the Twilight Sad, and Cook played with post-rockers Aereogramme in addition to writing music for film and TV.

“At the start of the band, it was just a studio project,” says Doherty. “We had no grand plans. It wasn’t until we put the demo of Lies out that we realised we should probably learn how to play it live.

“That was when we started to think that it might actually be really fun to have a go at this and to be a band, whatever that means.”

Lies made Chvrches one of the most blogged-about bands around and they had already built up a massive fan following before signing a record deal in January 2013.

“Something we learned from previous experience was not to let anybody hear anything until we were totally satisfied with the way that it sounded,” says Doherty. “We’ve all watched it happen too many times. A band writes one tune, gets excited about it, puts it online, people respond in a huge way, and suddenly they can’t keep up.”

Chvrches have enjoyed plenty of radio airplay for their catchy singles Lies, Gun, Recover and The Mother We Share, and Doherty says the plan was to write an album that you sit down and listen to from start to finish.

“I know there’s a lot of talk about the album being a thing of the past, and people just finding their favourite songs on streaming services or whatever, but this album was made very much with the listening experience in mind,” he says.

As for their unusual moniker, Doherty says they wanted something that was big and bold.

“We just chose it because it was big and bold, and just one word,” he explains. “And it wasn’t difficult to pronounce. After we decided on it, we realised it was more or less impossible to Google.

“It wasn’t until Lies came out that we came to this realisation,” he adds, laughing.

“There’s a girl called Amy who’s designed all our artwork. She’d already stylised the logo with the ‘V’ in it. It kind of felt natural just to go with that.

“Now, we don’t have to compete with anyone, which is cool. You don’t want to go up against that Jesus guy. He is pretty popular.”

The Bones Of What You Believe has sold over half a million copies since its release last year, but the band say they are in no rush to record a follow-up, and that it may take them up to two years to complete.

“You often see bands with a successful debut who get cocky, so they hash out something sub-standard and nobody gives a sh** again,” says Cook. “So we’re not over-confident, but pressure can work against you too.

“We’re not going to put out anything we aren’t happy with. That could take four months, it could take two years.”

“When the tour ends we plan to take a couple of months off and then get back in the studio for the new album,” he continues. “Nothing’s really been decided yet because we’ve been touring for two years solid now.

“I don’t expect there to be any drastic change of direction. We want it to sound like Chvrches.”

The trio are considering building their own studio in Glasgow for the album, which they will again produce themselves.

“Eventually, we’ll want to get other producers, but we’ll do the next album ourselves again,” says Cook.

“Laughing, he adds, “We’d drive a producer crazy, as we’re control freaks who’ve got the skills to do it ourselves. We just don’t see the point.”

Chvrches, Corn Exchange, New Market Road, tomorrow, 7pm, returns only, 0131 477 3500