CHVRCHES joins Macklemore + others fight AIDS with awareness for World AIDS Day [Interview]

Photo: (Getty)

Photo: (Getty)

By Melissa Unger

The British synthpop band from Glasgow, Scotland is teaming up with Lifebeat and encouraging their fans to participate in the #MusicFightsAIDS campaign. Lifebeat drums up support within the music industry to educate America’s youth that AIDS is preventable. The #MusicFightsAIDS campaign seeks to raise awareness of the sharp increase (over 1,000 per month) in the instances of HIV among young people ages 13-24.

This latest statistic shocked CHVRCHES’ front woman, Lauren Mayberry. We caught up with her for Q & A to find out why the band decided to get involved in the #MusicFightsAIDS campaign and hear more of her new music.

 ACT: Why was it so important for you to be a part of Worlds AIDS Day and the Music Fights HIV/AIDS campaign?

LAUREN MAYBERRY: We have been really lucky that since we have started touring the states, we have been able to partner up with Lifebeat…it was even obvious to us to get involved with something like that because…people should talk about it [HIV/ AIDS]. And if there is a way of reaching young people on a level that doesn’t seemed forced upon them by like teachers or parents. The statistics that Lifebeat has are generally alarming, and I think it is really important to get people talking about this and have people not be uncomfortable about sexual health and thinking about it and about prevention in their day to day life.

ACT: What have you learned about the HIV/ AIDS since partnering with Lifebeat?

LAUREN MAYBERRY: I personally, before working with Lifebeat, wasn’t aware of the statistic specifically involving young people. The fact that so many people are infected on day to day basis wuth  new occurrences of HIV/ AIDS cases was quiet shocking to me. And like when Lifebeat shares those things with you in black and white, those things are really alarming. I think if you can shock people into being more careful and being more aware that is a good thing to do.

ACT: What do you think is the biggest obstacle when it comes to the fight on AIDS?

LAUREN MAYBERRY: In terms of young people, it is the fact they are not getting taught about sexual health properly. I was lucky enough to go to a school where we were taught sex ed and it was awkward and uncomfortable and horrible, but we learned about it, and we knew about it, and I guess not everyone agrees with that, but my personal opinion is that sex ed is completely 100% essential. Not equipping kids with the information and not giving them the facts is not going to make them not have sex. You have to give people all the information, so they can make informed decisions and if you don’t give them all that, how do you expect to have them make informed choices. And going into the adult world unaware of those things is awful.

ACT: So much of your sound is upbeat/ tempo pop, but with such poignant lyrics. Can you tell me how you go about marrying the two and which comes first for you as a group?

LAUREN MAYBERRY: We start with a beat or a sample or something like that, and then we’ll get an instrumental sketch of the song, and then the vocal melody, and put the lyrics on last. I think for us we never wanted anything to be too sweet or too pure or too syrupy. And the fact that the lyrics we write are not necessarily stereotypical pop song lyrics, I think it helps keep a balance between the light and the dark and I think that is always something that I have enjoyed in pop music things like The Cure. A song can sound really dark and have uplifting lyrics or sound really bright, but have really dark lyrics, and the juxtaposition of those two things are really cool.

ACT: Any news about new music?

LAUREN MAYBERRY: At the moment we haven’t been writing a lot of new material because we have been on the road a lot. We have been making notes of ideas here or there, but I think it won’t be until next year before we sit down and start writing new stuff properly. We have just been really focused on finishing the new album and releasing the new album and touring with it, but next year I think we will be a little more balanced with breaks for writing.

ACT: What would you like your fans to know about the AIDS fight?

LAUREN MAYBERRY: I would just want them to be completely aware of the current situation. Like no pussy footing around…no bullshit. Know the statistics of things that are happening to people their age that are like them, people who go to their college and go to their school that have completely similar lives to them. And know that HIV and AIDS is not a completely removed or an abstract concept, because it is happening to kids their age in America and there are ways of being completely safe and careful and still living your life to the fullest.

The #MusicFightsAIDS campaign kicks off November 29th 2013. World AIDS Day is Sunday, December 1st.

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