Chvrches is a three-member band from Scotland that plays in the synthpop and indietronica genres. The band members all led very different lives before meeting and forming the group: Iain Cook (who plays on guitar, bass, synthesizers, and does vocals) played for two different bands and wrote music for film and TV. Martin “Dok” Doherty (who works with synthesizers, samplers, and vocals) was a touring member for The Twilight Sad. Cook and Doherty had met and befriended each other seven years prior to forming Chvrches at the University of Strathclyde, and although they went on separate career paths for a little while, Doherty eventually joined one of Cook’s bands, Aereogramme. Lead vocalist (also on synthesizers and samplers) Lauren Mayberry also attended the University of Strathclyde much later than her bandmates, where she earned an undergraduate law degree and Masters in Journalism before becoming a freelance journalist, and had joined several local bands. The trio first got together as one when Cook was working on an extended play for one of Mayberry’s bands, Blue Sky Archives, and had been planning a new project with Doherty. After working on the EP, Cook invited Mayberry to make some demos for them, and the three soon began recording sessions together. These sessions were very popular, and so Cook, Doherty, and Mayberry decided to form a band together. They thought “churches” sounded cool, but switched out the “u” with a “v” so as not to get mixed up with any actual churches. And so Chvrches was born!
Chvrches’ style is mainly influenced by pop/rock music of the 80’s, listing their favorites as Cyndi Lauper, Kate Bush, and The Cocteau Twins; they also love Whitney Houston, and have mentioned a desire to cover a few of her songs—Mayberry especially loves “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay.” Despite the rock heritage, guitars are very rarely used in their songs. In particular, Chvrches has been praised for having a “clean” sound, with precise instrumental work courtesy of the older and more experienced Cook and Doherty, and Mayberry’s expressive voice and open, direct lyrics providing the emotional backbone. Brilliant yet accessible, the trio provides the perfect complement to each other’s talents, making for a powerful, passionate sound.
Chvrches albums are The Bones of What You Believe and Every Open Eye, in addition to extended plays Recover EP, Chvrches EP, Gun (Remixes), and Under the Tide EP. They have toured throughout Europe, the US and Canada, and Japan, playing for festivals like Lollapalooza, Firefly Music Festival, Summer Sonic, and many others. They have also opened or provided supporting acts for other artists, including Chew Lips, Two Door Cinema Club, and Depeche Mode. The band is still based in a Glasgow basement studio, and maintains firm creative freedom and control of their works, even writing everything on their group’s Facebook and Twitter accounts themselves. To fans’ dismay, Lauren Mayberry will not accept marriage proposals via tweet, even if they ask nicely. She will share her beef and chorizo chili recipe, though.