'We're very aware that the kind of music we play, you could just push a space bar on a laptop and karaoke about. But that's not really how we want to do things," says Lauren Mayberry of the Scottish trio Chvrches.
Mayberry, Iain Cook, and Martin Doherty are very aware of how they want to do things. Chvrches' story is a mixture of natural evolution, social media buzz, and cautious control.
The three were veterans of a variety of guitar-based bands before beginning to write together in 2011. Cook, 38, played guitar in the post-rock band Aerogramme; Doherty, 30, was a touring member of the shoe-gazey Twilight Sad. Mayberry, 25, played and sang in a series of indie-rock bands beginning when she was 15. She also has a law degree and a master's in journalism (her thesis was on images of femininity in the music press).
In Chvrches (the spelling of the band's name was intended to make it more searchable), they make bright, immediate electro-pop that could go hook-for-hook with M83 or Robyn, but also with the gravitas of occasional tourmates Depeche Mode. Although the band records in its own basement studio in Glasgow, the songs have grand, soaring dimensions and a catchy, radio-friendly sheen that began attracting attention from the start, when a blog posted their first song, "Lies," in spring 2012.
"At the end of the day, this is a band that was born on the Internet," Mayberry says. "By the time we got to actually signing a deal, we knew the kind of band we wanted to be, how we wanted to write, how we wanted to come across, what stuff we would and wouldn't do."
On the strength of the superb singles "The Mother We Share" and "Recover," the trio has been touring nearly nonstop since spring - they played Union Transfer and the Firefly Festival in June, and they return to Union Transfer on Wednesday - all before their debut album, the excellent The Bones of What You Believe, arrives Sept. 24.
"We were very aware of the fact that hype can be a curse and a blessing," Mayberry says. "If people talk about you a lot and you don't have anything to back it up, then people are very smart: They figure that out very quickly. I think it was very important for us to be aware of that stuff, but also just block it out enough that we could continue to make the record and work the way we'd been working before that, just three of us in a basement studio, and concentrate on finishing and not get distracted."
Mayberry admits her academic studies led her to be cautious about how the band could be portrayed in the media: "We just try to come across as genuinely as possible. We're not in the business of seeming deliberately hip or cool; we're just three folks who just wanted to be in a band. On paper, we're not really the kind of people who should be in a band that's getting the kind of attention we're getting. That's pretty weird. I don't know how we bucked the system, but somehow it's happened. We've kind of lucked out."