Lauren Mayberry

Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry talks feminism and writer’s block with Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker

As one fierce woman to another, Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry sat down with Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker for Interview Magazine. Discussing the recent release of Chvrches’ much anticipated sophomore album, Every Eye Open, as well as feminism, writer’s block and coming of age as a band – this is one conversation that was never going to be dull.

Exchanging comments on the lead-up to releasing an album, Mayberry is clearly aware of the expectation riding on this second album. Traditionally this is the difficult one, and it seems that a lot of people have been at pains to remind her of that fact, “People ask us in every single interview if you feel like there’s a lot of pressure. I feel like I’d explode from answering another question about pressure.” Something that Tucker clearly sympathises with, concurring that removal from the industry spotlight is sometimes no bad thing.

“Sometimes it’s useful to have that element of people not knowing what you’re doing and not paying attention.”

Touching on the writing process, Mayberry confesses to keeping a notebook full of phrases and half formed lyrics, or “nonsense”. Though the music comes first, it’s clear that writing is Mayberry’s passion. Asked about her favourite writers and poets, the fact that she is currently re-reading Jesscia Valenti’s Full Frontal Feminism seems fitting. Advocating non-fiction for on tour, when it comes to narrative writing she says “Anne Carson and Angela Carter are folks I hold close to my heart because they have such unique ways of telling stories. I think in reading a few sentences of text you can just tell the tone, and that’s something I love in prose writers, but in lyricists as well.”

In terms of her own lyric writing, it does’t always come easily; “I remember at the start, there was a two-week period where I couldn’t get anything done. I would start writing something and then I’d be like, “I don’t like this.” It was two steps forward and one step back… Then, finally, the writing came really quickly, the record came thematically together, I hope. It just took ages to get started. I think I was over-thinking it.” She goes on to talk about her own stance as a writer, and writing from a personal stand point, feeling like she has found a more “assertive character” and the confidence to try new things on Every Eye Open. 

Already recognised as an assertive character, the interview touches on Mayberry’s outspoken response to sexism and online bullying. It’s a graceful and level headed conversation, but one that touches on the infuriating remnants of blatant sexism within the industry. And you get the feeling that although Mayberry won’t be losing her temper, she will not take it lying down. The same goes for online trolls. Torn between appreciation of the internet as the platform that launched Chvrches, and frustrated by the opportunities to blast and bully from behind its protective anonymity.

“Seeing people communicate about the band online has been amazing, but I think a lot of people spend a lot of time talking about what they hate rather than what they love. I don’t want to get trapped in that.”

What comes across most from Mayberry is a real sense of positivity. Though she is far from naive, she isn’t angry or angst-ridden. Discussing the new album she comments that “I’d convinced myself that I’d written some sadder songs on the record, which is some of the darker stuff we’ve written, but it’s also some of the most hopeful… I hope that’s what people take away.”

Read the full interview here.