Lauren Mayberry: 'We have a responsibility to speak out for what we believe in'
- Claire Sawers
- 7 August 2019
As synth-pop trio Chvrches return to Scotland to play Edinburgh's Summer Sessions, Mayberry discusses fame, criticism and lost luggage
The former Around Town and LGBT editor of The List is in a hotel room in Romania, doing press interviews on the phone, while her bandmates Iain Cook and Martin Doherty do the same down the corridor. Lauren Mayberry left her job at the Scottish magazine around a year after her band Chvrches started getting big and has been touring the world ever since, living in New York City when she's not on the road.
On their way to play a festival in a 15th-century Transylvanian castle, the airline has lost the band's luggage. 'We went on a tragic team trip to buy clothes – the band that shops for emergency pants together stays together!' she jokes. She's hoping their bags will show before they go on stage tonight. 'I've had a wedgie since yesterday,' she confides.
The band are playing Latitude festival after Romania, then returning to Scotland for a Summer Sessions outdoor concert in Princes Street Gardens before dates in South Korea and Hong Kong. Will she be mobbed by fans when she's back in her home country of Scotland, I ask?
'It'd be different if Scottish people were dicks', she says. 'But people are always super nice. Actually, one of the most Beatlemania moments I've ever had was in a chip shop in Glasgow. It was around 2.30am a couple of Christmases ago and I was with some friends. We decided to leave the pub and get some chips. People went nuts in there! By and large though, fans are very cool if they recognise me.'
Mayberry has had more than her fair share of uncool reactions too, to put it mildly. Death threats, rape threats and accusations of 'selling out' have all been levelled at her over the years — a recent online beef came when the band expressed disappointment with Marshmello, their collaborator on this year's single 'Here With Me', for working with artist Chris Brown, who pleaded guilty to assault after hospitalising his girlfriend Rihanna.
'There are definitely times when I go into the mindset where I just wanna fuck it all off,' Mayberry says. 'Dealing with that kind of stuff is tiring, and can be depressing. But for me it's important that we stay consistent; we have a responsibility to speak out for what we believe in. Taking a stance can also make me feel galvanised and really energised. We are lucky enough to have a certain amount of privilege and it would be profoundly ungrateful of us to not use that for something positive.'
The band have a long track record of supporting feminist and LGBTQ+ causes, and last year Chvrches sponsored Girls Rock Glasgow, a community summer music school facing closure after its funding was pulled.
'A friend in Glasgow sent me a link and we were really psyched to be able to get involved. I was very lucky and had supportive parents growing up who could afford to buy me instruments. Girls Rock is a local project that will make a big difference and really empower girls. I'm obviously not in Glasgow right now, but I look at their Instagram and try not to cry at how cute it is.'
For August's concert, Mayberry says fans can expect tracks from latest album, Love is Dead, plus hits from the previous two, Every Open Eye and their debut, The Bones of What You Believe, with a live drummer adding to the mix. 'There's a bit where we play "Never Say Die" and I leave the stage and leave the boys to do this big proggy ending. I get to stand in the wings and look out at the audience going crazy. I love that bit.'
Chvrches play Summer Sessions, Princes Street Gardens, 11 Aug, 6pm, £38.50–£61.85.