Chvrches’ second album Every Open Eye hones their electropop sweetness into a razor’s edge, and part of that sharpness comes from Lauren Mayberry’s unflinching feminism. In the wake of the record’s release, and substantial critical acclaim, Mayberry was interviewed by another outspoken feminist musician, Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker.
In the piece for Interview, Tucker and Mayberry talk about quite a few different things, but one of the most interesting is when Tucker asks Mayberry what she’s been reading. Oddly enough, she said no one has ever asked her that yet. Here’s her response:
That’s a good question. No one has ever asked me that in an interview, ever. At the moment, I’m reading a lot of non-fiction. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been traveling a lot — it’s easier to pick up and put down non-fiction stuff. I’ve been re-reading the Jessica Valenti book, Full Frontal Feminism. I’ve been reading Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates; I saw him on The Daily Show talking about it and immediately after that I had to order that book. Then The Daily Show ended, and I was very sad. I felt like I was weeping for a week. Anne Carson and Angela Carter are folks I hold close to my heart because they have such unique ways of telling stories. I think in reading a few sentences of text you can just tell the tone, and that’s something I love in prose writers, but in lyricists as well. That’s how I feel about you guys: I always can tell with Sleater-Kinney’s melodies or lyrics that it’s yours.
Another interesting aspect was when Tucker brought up Mayberry’s activism and asked if she’d ever consider politics. I’m glad she asked the Chvrches frontwoman this, because Tucker knows — as every good interviewer does — that Mayberry’s feminism is a central part of her identity, and therefore deeply relevant to her story. Here’s Mayberry’s answer:
Oh god. For me, I enjoy working with people. That seems simplistic, but whenever I’m distressed, angry, and want to feel like something can be done about something, it feels better when you surround yourself with people. I think I’d rather work with a grassroots organization than in politics. I’m not sure I’d be the best politician because I don’t think I’m good about tactfully tiptoeing around questions in the right way.
In that same vein, Tucker and Mayberry also get into the way that female musicians are asked questions about their family life and having kids that men are never confronted with:
MAYBERRY: I did an interview today with a reasonably respected British journalist and he actually asked me in the interview, “Do you think you’d like to take some time out of music in the next few years to focus on your personal life? I don’t know if you have a partner but have you considered how you would juggle children with touring?” I had never been asked that question before. I was like, “Well that’s not really your business, pal.”
TUCKER: Do you think a male musician would ever be asked that question?
MAYBERRY: Well, I didn’t want to scream on the phone at him. In my head, I was like, “I’ll find a polite way of getting out of it.” I figured if I was like, “Dude that’s incredibly rude, condescending, and offensive,” then I’m going to get tired of [being] that person who does that all the time. It’s inevitable that people are going to find out about my natural, god-given feminist rage. People are like, “Why are you angry all the time?” It’s like, I’m not angry. I’d like to think I’m a reasonably nice person, but unfortunately when those conversations come up, it does make me angry. It should make people angry. I did wonder in the interview if this guy was real-life trolling me.
Sadly, he wasn’t! From there, they get further into a conversation about internet trolls and the abuse Mayberry has faced online — something we also talked a lot about in our cover story on the band.
Read the whole Interview piece here.