Scottish synth-pop trio Chvrches have released only several singles and an EP before being hyped up as the next big thing on music blogs and among indie tastemakers earlier this year.

Fans here can see what the fuss is all about when the band play here as part of the annual St Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore at The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay on Jan 25.

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Life! can exclusively reveal that besides Chvrches, 14 other global acts have been confirmed for the indie music festival and these include other up-and- coming names such as Haim, a trio of sisters from Los Angeles, English post-punk band Savages and English indie pop trio Daughter.

And while he acknowledges the hype that has been surrounding his band, Chvrches co-founder Iain Cook, 39, says that he and the other members are careful to not let all the praise go to their heads.

“I think it is something we have been careful to safeguard against,” says Cook, who sings as well as plays the synthesizers, guitars and bass in the group. The group also include lead singer and synth player Lauren Mayberry, 26, and synth player and singer Martin Doherty, 31.

Despite the spelling, the band’s monicker is pronounced “churches” and Cook explains that the stylised spelling, using a “V” instead of a “U”, is to help music lovers find them more easily on search engines.

The band released their anticipated debut album, The Bones Of What You Believe, on Monday.

Earlier this month, online indie bible Pitchfork called their debut album one of the most anticipated releases this year, while the BBC featured them as one of the finalists in its Sound of 2013 annual listing of the year’s best new music acts.

Cook adds that the songs for the album were written even before the music press started taking notice of them.

“We were writing them in seclusion, when there were no pressure or eyes on us at all. That changed when people started hearing us and talking about what we did. We were careful to make sure that it didn’t affect us in any way, and that we were able to keep working away, ignoring all the other stuff.”

Still, he admits that he finds the acclaim from fans and critics “very exciting”.

“It’s quite energising to see that people are really excited about what we do. But we tend not to read reviews and bother too much about what people are saying about the band.”

Cook, who formerly played with Glasgow post-rock outfit Aereogramme, and Doherty, a university mate, formed the group in 2011, roping in Mayberry, who had been singing and playing music for indie acts such as Boyfriend/Girlfriend and Blue Sky Archives.


He is excited by the prospect of playing at the Laneway Festival in Singapore alongside acts such as fellow Scottish indie rock act Frightened Rabbit and rising American electronica act XXYYXX.

“It’s something that we have been watching individually for years and it looks like the line-up gets stronger and stronger every year and the guys who put it on seem to have amazing taste in music because there are always the coolest bands and the stuff that I’ve been listening to a lot of the time. So it’s great to be part of that, finally.”

The upcoming edition, organised by Chugg Entertainment, will be the fourth time the festival is held here. This year’s edition in January was one of the biggest indie music events in Singapore which drew 10,000 music fans to Gardens by the Bay.


Laneway has its roots in Australia: Its first edition was held in Melbourne in 2004 and it has since spread its wings to other Australian cities as well as Auckland, New Zealand, and Detroit, the United States.

Cook says that while parts of their music might be synth-heavy and feature samples, their performance on stage is as live as it gets.

“We tend to be not like other electronic artists in many ways because we are a rock band at heart. We like to be quite physical in a performance and not just turn up and press play and hope for the best.

“It’s a bit more a sweaty rock show than an electronic pop show or whatever.”

Book it


Who: Chrvches, Daughter, Frightened Rabbit, Haim, Jagwa Ma, James Blake, Jamie XX, Kurt Vile, Mount Kimbie, Savages, The Jezebels, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Vance Joy, XXYYXX and Youth Lagoon

Where: The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay

When: Jan 25, 2014 

Admission: $150 for standard tickets, available from EventClique ( from Tuesday to Thursday. Tickets will be available at EventClique and Sistic ( from Oct 4


This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on September 26, 2013. For similar stories, go to You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.