Categories: Arts Music Pop

Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry finds new depth on ‘Love Is Dead’

Like a once-ugly duckling suddenly noticing its graceful swandom, Chvrches frontwoman Lauren Mayberry was startled to hear how much her voice had matured on “Love Is Dead,” the trio’s latest third album. On sinister synth-rock tracks “Graffiti,” “Forever” and the duet “My Enemy” with The National’s Matt Berninger, co-producer Greg Kurstin practically frames her panoramic pipes in an iridescent rose window of gothic sound. “When we first started Chvrches, I wasn’t a professional musician by any stretch; I had day jobs and just sang in alternative indie bands,” she says. “But Greg understood that my voice had developed to the point where we could try those experiments.” She’ll push it even further at Outside Lands this weekend.

What did you learn about yourself, making “Love Is Dead”?

I used to think more about technically hitting all the notes and needing to sound like I could actually sing. Whereas now, I feel like the bit where your voice cracks or does something strange so you can play it like an instrument — those are the moments where you express a lot more emotion. Somebody said, “A singer should sing to serve the song, not themselves.” And that’s something I’m really conscious of now.

Kurstin is Adele’s go-to collaborator. What did he teach you?

What’s so cool about Greg is, he has this history and this language, and he understands big pop in a way that we don’t. But he also has this jazzy, alternative side, so one of the main things we learned was not to be so precious about everything. So this is the record that sounds the most live, in a lot of ways, because he would tell us to just jump in the booth and record a take. He said, “If you’ve got an idea, don’t waste time perfecting it or quantifying it — if it’s a sound you like, just get it down.”

You live in New York now. Have you gotten into the busy urban vibe?

Well, I’m not a coffee drinker, so I feel like I’m missing out on a huge chunk of New York right there. When you start singing, they tell you to stop all the caffeine — no caffeine, no cheese, no anything. Basically, all the stuff that’s good is bad for your voice. But we’d take the subway to our little writing studio every day and tinker around on synths and stuff. But New York is where I discovered soup dumplings, and now I go to the gym because I eat them. I wouldn’t eat them on a first date, unless there’s someone in your life that you’re comfortable with…

Like your reported boyfriend, the actor Justin Long?

Uhh… he enjoys soup dumplings, too.

Where: Lands End Stage, Polo Field, Outside Lands. Golden Gate Park, 30th Avenue at Fulton Street, S.F.
When: 4:55 p.m. Aug. 10
Tickets: $150 to $375 (per day); $345 to $795 (VIP)

Tom Lanham
Published by
Tom Lanham

Recent Posts

More than 10,000 customers affected by power outage in parts of Mission, Bernal Heights, Noe Valley

A power outage that appears to have been caused by a downed power line is affecting areas including the Mission…

1 hour ago

City maps out clogged storm drains, urges residents to help keep them clear

As the rainy season approaches, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission announced it's launched a new program to help identify…

2 hours ago

Prop. 10’s failure proves rich, corporate landowners will do everything they can to control us

This year, housing affordability in California hit a historic 10 year low, with three out of four state residents unable…

12 hours ago

Struggling with the responsibility to reduce our ‘foodprint’

Tomorrow is a chance for San Franciscans to express gratitude, not only for generous plates of turkey or Dungeness crab,…

12 hours ago

Negotiations drag on for unionized veterinary clinic workers

Contract negotiations are dragging into the sixth month for San Francisco veterinary workers who earlier this year attempted to set…

12 hours ago

Women say ‘pink tax’ in SF transit all too real

Women are sick of feeling unsafe on Muni, and they’re also sick of paying for it. While that’s not necessarily…

12 hours ago