Chvrches are fast becoming the best best-loved little band in the world.
The Scottish three-piece have recently returned from Asia and Australia where they have been making even more international fans with their impressive and increasingly confident, powerful live shows, and spent a couple of weeks well-deserved R&R before returning to the stage for a brief European tour that kicked off in Dublin last week.
The show at the Olympia was another example of both their meteoric success and huge potential, the iconic theatre shaken to its rafters by Chvrches’ 80s-influenced synth stabs and teeth-rattling bass, as Lauren’s delicate and direct vocals wove through the mix as they played tracks from their debut EP Recover, and first album, The Bones of What You Believe.
Before the show, Iain and Martin were relaxing after having just flown in from Glasgow and spoke to Gazette Music about the band’s meteoric rise to fame.
“It’s an amazing feeling, we don’t take any of it for granted,” said Martin. “It didn’t just happen, we put the work in, we toured everywhere, put in as much effort as possible. The shows are getting bigger because people are connecting with the songs, and when they come to see us live, they don’t leave disappointed, and that’s really important for me.”
“On the first proper tour we had of America, when we were on the east and west coasts, it felt like people were connecting with it, and that felt amazing,” said Iain. “We just finished a touring festival in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, and when we got to Singapore, the reaction was overwhelming, we’d never been to that side of the world before and it was amazing.”
Chvrches have also become synonymous with great cover versions, including Haim, Arctic Monkeys and most recently, Bauhaus. They performed a version of Janelle Monae’s Tightrope at the Billboard Women In Music event at the end of last year, with Janelle in attendance giving her blessing to their take on the song.
“We were invited to honour Janelle [at the Billboard event] and they asked if we would mind doing a cover of one of her songs. If we reverently cover something it’s never going to work – it’s about having fun with it, and taking a few risks. But we need to draw a line under the covers, and they get more exposure than we think.
“We had to retire our Prince cover (I Would Die 4 U). We were playing it for the whole first six months we were touring, and then only when the gig had gone really well. Then we ended up at First Avenue in Minneapolis, and we decided to retire it there, on the stage where Purple Rain was filmed.”
Since their live debut in July 2012, it has been a non-stop upward trajectory for Chvrches, garnering acclaim for their live shows and climbing the bill at the festivals they have played all over the world. But creating new music is high on the agenda, something that can be hard to do on the road, as Martin explained.
“Concentrated periods of downtime is important to us where we can create new music. Some artists find a way to [create new music while on tour], but I’ve never been able to. It’s a different mindset. I need to know I have a period where I don’t have to do anything or be anywhere so I can concentrate on the music, otherwise I get really stressed out.”
“As it’s going to be festival season soon, there are a few gaps inbetween, and hopefully we can get our heads in gear to get ready to write,” said Iain. “But everything will wrap up in September and we’ll be able to approach the new music 100%.”
And, ahead of their Olympia show, Iain summed up the band’s ethos as they prepare for another US tour and festivals across Europe throughout the summer.
“The most important thing for me with this kind of life is to live in the moment, and not look too far back or too far forward, and just enjoy where we are at.”