"When you're cocooned up recording, the only people you see are the people in your band. It's very, very insular."
"We certainly didn't have a master plan that we were gonna make a record then end up on tour for two-and-a-half years," says Doherty, 33. "It's something we weren't prepared for at all. Being in a band is a super bipolar existence. Because when you're cocooned up recording, the only people you see are the people in your band. It's very, very insular. Then, one day, you flick the switch, and all you do is talk to people, all you do is see people, all you do is be out in the world. You're never home, nothing is particularly regular, you're never alone. It's difficult to handle."
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"Our only rule, if you want, when we started Chvrches, was that none of those rules would apply."
Growing up in Glasgow, Doherty always wanted to be a musician. When he started writing songs, he was "in the middle of a broody teenage phase, listening to Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, The Cure, and Manic Street Preachers". That moodiness carried through to his first ongoing gig, as touring member of The Twilight Sad. It was a welcome break from Doherty's "pretty soulless" freelancing work producing incidental music for advertisements, but the appeal was limited. "I was on tour all the time, but all I was doing was playing someone else's music," Doherty says. "Which, no matter how great that music is, eventually gets kind of old. I remember getting pretty despondent that I was never home, but didn't feel like I was getting anywhere."
At the suggestion of future Chvrches manager Campbell McNeil, Doherty began playing with McNeil's former Aereogramme bandmate Iain Cook. "Straight away, from those earliest sessions, we knew there was something very intense between us as writers. And then we met Lauren." With Lauren Mayberry — who was playing in the folky outfit Blue Sky Archives — joining as vocalist, they set out to make music unlike anything they had previously. "Playing in guitar bands, you have all sorts of rules about what you can and can't do musically. Our only rule, if you want, when we started Chvrches, was that none of those rules would apply. We'd do exactly what we wanted, whatever made us excited."
That was still the case when Chvrches set out to record their second LP, 2015's Every Open Eye, an album that furthers the sound of their debut with bigger choruses and more dynamic sounds. "We wanted to make a more confident version of the sound we chased on our first album," Doherty says. "Before you go in the studio, you have all these anxieties, worrying about outside influences, expectations, whether you can make a record as good as your first. But once you're working in the studio, you're relaxed, because that's your domain. If you go on tour for two years, playing the same music every night, you very surely come to understand what it is, exactly, that you like about the music that you're playing. By the time we made this record, we definitely knew who we were."