Chvrches have spoken about the grounding experience of writing their fourth album ‘Screen Violence’ during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Scottish trio spoke to NME for this week’s Big Read cover story interview, in which bandmember Martin Doherty described the writing and recording process as “stabilising” in an otherwise uncertain year.
“Making this record was really good for finding something to centre you when it felt like the whole world was on fire,” said Doherty. He, along with frontwoman Lauren Mayberry and fellow multi-instrumentalist Iain Cook, made the record largely virtually, since they were stuck living miles apart during various lockdowns.
Additionally, per the album’s exploration of the intersection of human beings and technology, frontwoman Lauren Mayberry said her previous negative association with screens (the singer has been notably trolled online over the years) has shifted during the pandemic.
“It was horrible to have to only see people on screens – I’ve not seen my mum in 3D since Christmas 2019,” she said. “But I think, if anything, it made me more grateful because if this didn’t exist I couldn’t talk to you; we couldn’t have made this record and we couldn’t have spoken to any of our friends and family. It makes you think – are the machines evil, or are we?”
She also spoke of getting close to wanting to “pack” things in after the band’s third album ‘Love Is Dead‘.
Elsewhere in the interview Mayberry addressed the online abuse she’s suffered since the band’s breakout in 2013 – particularly with regards to her sex and fashion choices.
As detailed in the cover feature, Mayberry started to tone-down her love of bright make-up and ’80s-style dressing, which she employed ahead of the release of the band’s 2013 debut album ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’.
Afterwards, she decided to “make myself small enough” because then “I’ll be allowed; that will be satisfactory” in a bid to avoid negative perceptions and comments online.
But in the last few years, as NME‘s Rhian Day writes, “she has re-embraced her love of expressing her creativity in her aesthetic, as evidenced in the swathes of glitter that appeared on her face and the range of fun outfits she wore during the band’s last tour”.
Mayberry said: “We all love the ’80s, Cyndi Lauper and even artists like PJ Harvey use aesthetics as part of their creativity – surely that makes you more of an artist?
She added: “Why is it incredible when David Bowie does it but when a female frontperson does it, it’s because they’re trying to sell records?”
Chvrches shared their collaboration with The Cure’s Robert Smith, ‘How Not To Drown’ earlier this week, which features on the new album.
‘Screen Violence’ is released on August 29.