“Can you teach me how to do a Scottish accent?”
It has always been a weird dream of mine to hang out with a bunch of Scots, for the simple reason that the Scottish accent is my favorite one. I remember reading Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting out loud because it was written in Scottish dialect, so the only way ye would be able tae git whit was going aen was if you wair tae read it oot lood. Ken whit ah mean?
“Ehm, I think that’s what we’ve been doing this whole time,” Lauren says.
“If you don’t have it, you don’t have it.” Martin says.
“I think it’s in the vowels, really. Isn’t it?” Iain asks.
“That and you have to watch a lot of Trainspotting” Martin suggests.
Now comes my moment.
“I deid wotch Trainspotteng, and I’ve even reid the book oot lood. So am I doen ae geid job?”
They all react. Violently. I can’t even make out what they’re trying to say. Martin says something about me being more Shrek than anything. Iain is trying to be nice about it. Lauren starts laughing saying that it’s a bit of an antipathy of a Canadian person (I think that’s what she says, at least).
Real life Scots laughing at my Scottish accent. Dream come true. What makes this moment even more surreal is that the Scots happen to be CHVRCHES, my current favorite band.
I show them a picture of myself with the three of them, and ask them if they remember when it happened. They all make guesses, and conclude that it must have been in April 2014 at the Glass House in Pomona; the night of a Lunar Eclipse.
But no. It was earlier than that; more than a year, actually. March 2013 at The Echo, during CHVRCHES’ first ever US tour. It was at a venue just a bit smaller than 70s Bistro that fit 300 people. Their album “The Bones of What You Believe” would be coming out in six months still, and the band was a bit rough around the edges. Lauren wouldn’t talk between songs and look awkwardly to the side while she sang, and technical problems abounded.
Since then they’ve played every major music festival, have become Radio One’s favorite band, gotten to the top 20 of both US and UK Album Charts and have even been featured in the ‘Music Now’ section of The Rock N’ Roll hall of fame. Oh, and they’re in the soundtrack to some small movie called The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One.
“We actually talk about this a lot,” Iain says, “we try not to focus on these things and instead on what’s directly in front of us. Because otherwise these things can kind of get into your head a little bit. So we try to deal with things on a day to day basis.”
“We didn’t ask to be this. We didn’t ask to be famous. And then all of a sudden you’re out there and people are telling you what you can and can’t do,” vocalist Lauren Mayberry adds.
Lauren Mayberry. The overnight sensation who didn’t want to become an overnight sensation. The word I’ve heard most used to describe her by fans during this tour is “elusive”. I’d replace that with “shy.” The minute she gets out of the airport she creeps into the van, and the minute the van gets to the hotel she glides straight to the elevator. She’s mastered the art of putting on her headphones and looking out the window, and is that person at a party who will always talk in hushed tones to her friends.
When Lauren does get worked up, it’s a tour de force. She makes faces, she does sound effects, she even recreates conversations jumping from one persona to the other. At one point they make fun of the questions they get asked the most during interviews and Lauren powers through the standard “why CHVRCHES with a V” question in less than ten seconds: “wellwereallylikethesoundofthewordandthoughtitwasaptbutrealizedsoonenoughthatthere werentanyURLsavailablesowejustchangedthewayitwasspelledbesideswequitelikethewayitlookswithav”
It’s like a one woman show. Pretty amazing.
She argues with Martin about the ethics of playing R Kelly during the DJ set. I ask her if she doesn’t play Michael Jackson as well because of the crimes perpetrated against children. Lauren the law graduate violently objects.
“In Scotland you have ‘guilty’, ‘not guilty’ and ‘not proven’. R Kelly is guilty! Michael Jackson is not proven. Besides, I’ve learned that most of the people who abuse have been abused as well. So I have a soft spot for Michael Jackson, who was obviously abused.”
I tell her she must get Rachel Leigh Cook comparisons a lot. “I’ve actually never gotten that. But I’m pretty sure I look like most women of my type anyway; petite girls with bangs who were obsessed Sonic Youth and then soon after realized that they were into Feist. But Rachel Leigh Cook isn’t bad. I quite enjoyed Josie and The Pussycats, with her and Tara Reid and… that one girl. What’s her name. She was in Death Proof.”
“Yeah, it starts with an R also. She was in Kids. She was also in that Danny Boyle movie, Trance.”
The subject changes but Lauren raises her hands up, deciding to stay in focus. “No. No. I can do this.” Midway through the new conversation she exclaims, “Rosario Dawson!” We then try to figure out the name of Cook’s love interest in She’s All That, though she shrugs, says “hackeysack”, and loses interest in that one pretty quickly.
We geek out about Fugazi and Sonic Youth, and shriek like teenage girls when the topic of Sleater-Kinney reuniting is brought up. She talks about feminism, and explains its four different waves and where Gloria Steinem and Riot Grrrl fit in, exactly. Lauren is a staunch feminist, and earlier this year she wrote a very affecting article about online misogyny, which garnered a lot of support from her peers including Grimes and Paramore’s Hayley Williams.
“I think in the long term it’s been a really positive thing for us and it’s helped us connect with a lot of people in terms of just agreeing on the basic principle. Hopefully it takes you to a place of smarter discussion afterwards. It’s been really nice for me especially, because I’ve always felt those things and I’ve never not said those things in the course of my work. I think it’s nice just to know that that’s spread so widely that people can’t say they don’t know that about us now. It’s really nice when we do signings or shows and people say that they’ve read it and they agree with it. That for me is really powerful because a lot of the time when you’re in the receiving end of those things you do feel isolated and marginalized because that’s what they want you to feel, and I think if people have any kind of solidarity in that stuff it’s pretty great. I have a website, and we have a podcast where we talk about these things.”
“Cool. What’s the site called?”
“TYCI.” “What does that stand for?”
“Tuck Your Cunt In.”
Apparently Touch Your Cunt In is Scottish slang  . It’s a sort of a female version of “man up” or “grow a pair”. On their homepage they simply define themselves as “A Collective Run by Women”. They have a blog, a zine and a podcast where they talk about gender issues, pop culture and creativity.
In the middle of all this, Martin Doherty raises both his hands. He commands us to listen to the song playing on Finders Keepers’ sound system. “Can we just stop a bit to recognize the genius of this song?”
It’s Bill Withers’ Lovely Day, and Martin starts singing along. By the time Withers gets to “and I know it’s gonna be– a lovely daaaaayyyyyyyy” Lauren chimes in. Then everyone else sings the back up “lovely day, lovely day, lovely day, lov-e-lee day” together. We are happy in the haze of a drunken hour. I can’t wait for tomorrow. It’s going to be a lovely day.
 I may be completely wrong because I Googled this term and all I got were porn and sex advice sites