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Chvrches opens eyes toward life on road

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

Now that they’ve got a few hundred concerts under their belts, Scottish electronic trio Chvrches is getting into the swing of playing live shows.

“The live element has always been really important for our band. We were a studio project when we started, and we didn’t think we’d ever be a live band,” says Lauren Mayberry, the group’s singer, on the phone from London during a “quite gray and rainy” day last month. “But once we started doing it, we toured very extensively, and I think we learned how to be a band on the road.”

Those lessons helped shape the band’s second album, “Every Open Eye,” which was released Sept. 25 and debuted at No. 8 on Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart. The tour behind it hits Detroit’s Masonic Temple on Thursday.

Chvrches — pronounced “Churches” — was formed as “a writing project,” Mayberry says, not as three people coming together and deciding “let’s form a band!” Group members Iain Cook and Martin Doherty knew each other from working in various corners of the music industry in Scotland, and they came together to work on new music, reaching out to Mayberry to contribute backing vocals.

The three of them clicked, and Mayberry began writing with them, and eventually recording. They released their debut single, “Lies” in 2012, and the response pushed them to form a proper band.

“We probably would have procrastinated forever,” says Mayberry, who turned 28 this week. “It was good. It shook us out of our comfort zone, and made us do something.”

The band’s debut album, “The Bones of What You Believe,” followed in September 2013, and earned acclaim across the board for its synthpop sound and hook-laden melodies.

After touring behind the record for more than a year, Chvrches hit the studio in January and began crafting “Every Open Eye.” The band returned to Glasgow and settled into a daily routine — “it was generally very boring,” Mayberry says — and spent about three months writing and recording demos, coming up with 22 songs, half of which made the finished product. (Four additional tracks are included on various special editions of the album.)

Like “Bones,” “Every Open Eye” is self-produced, because as Mayberry says, “We didn’t believe anybody else could tell us what the band is or what it should sound like.”

Prior to joining Chvrches, Mayberry majored in journalism in college and worked as a freelance music journalist.

She has since called upon her journalistic chops to help fight the misogyny she’s encountered since entering the public eye, writing a 2013 Guardian piece where she slammed Internet trolls. It’s a battle she continues to wage, fighting back against hateful online comments made toward her that are of a sexual and violent nature and making the commentary part of the culture of her band.

“Should we start a conversation about those things, that is a good thing,” Mayberry says. “I don’t ever look at it as talking about it will ever change the opinion of the people who are making those comments; I don’t think we’re going to change those people. But I hope that by talking about, it will make other people who are on the receiving ends of those kinds of things feel less isolated.”



7 p.m. Thursday

Masonic Temple,

500 Temple, Detroit

Tickets $30.50