Over the past eight years, Chvrches have built a loyal fan base and landed on a handful of rock charts with their catchy synth-pop tunes. But the Scottish pop-rock trio are just now celebrating their first Billboard Hot 100 hit with their new Marshmello collab "Here With Me," currently sitting at No. 79 on the March 30-dated chart.
While the Chvrches members (lead singer Lauren Mayberry, guitarist Iain Cook and keyboardist Mark Doherty) are excited to be celebrating their latest feat, what they're more thrilled about is how seamlessly the song came together. "Here With Me" also marks the band's first official feature, and Marshmello couldn't have given them a better experience.
"We were on tour at the time, so we would email versions of the song back and forth [to Marshmello] — the first time we met him was when we tracked the final vocal," Mayberry recalls. "It really felt like he was making room for our genre and we were making space for his; it wasn’t like we were trying to shoehorn each other in. It was a very respectful environment where everybody wanted to hear what everybody was thinking."
As the song continues to climb (it's also holding strong at No. 6 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart), Mayberry chatted with Billboard about how Chvrches and Marshmello came together, as well as the new freedom artists have to collaborate in today's musical landscape.
How did you link up with Marshmello?
We had some time off in London, we weren’t writing with any particular goal in mind. We had a rough acoustic version of the song but didn't think it would be a Chvrches song. Through people at our label and management company, [Marshmello] was the name that kept coming up. He was excited about the song the first time he heard it, and he said, “I want you guys to still be involved.” We were really confused, because when you think about Marshmello, you think about like, Selena Gomez. But he wasn't looking for an A-list name. He wanted a song he was excited about.
"Here With Me" is Chvrches' first official feature. How did being the guest act affect the release strategy?
There was less upfront hustle from us for promotion. It's not through Glassnote, our label in the United States, so we're not running point. [We expected] an artist like Marshmello would have more rules for the smaller act involved, but there was no one telling us what we could and couldn't say. [Marshmello and his team] very much gave us free reign to communicate with people how we wanted to communicate.
As a pop band, how does "Here With Me" fit with Chvrches' sound?
Our music is difficult to pigeonhole, which is an advantage. We don't need to fit into a pop blueprint. The industry has changed, and there's a lot more freedom than there used to be. It’s exciting that genre has been broken down so much; it means that there's less rules applied to people. It’s the Wild West: You can do what you want.
And it's cool that in this moment in music there can actually be some kind of mystery around something. We live in a world where you know everything about everybody. You see what people eating for breakfast on the Internet! [Laughs]
Do you feel like dance artists are the most willing to take chances on artists of other genres?
I think the bottom line for them is “Is this a good song? Do I like this person's voice? Do I like these people's approach to songwriting?” That, to me, is ultimately what it's supposed to be about — it's is not supposed to be this thing that was made from a label cross referencing like pie charts and graphs. I respect that a lot.
Is there someone that you’d like to feature on a track with next now that you’ve had such a positive experience with it?
I don't know. Maybe we're too Scottish to make a wish list of things we would like to do. Most of the time we think somewhere between the next two weeks and six months [Laughs].
We've been really lucky to collaborate with people that we have, Matt from The National on the record and Hayley [Williams] from Paramore. For us it's always about truly collaborating with people based on being excited about things. I feel lucky to have what we have, and hopefully we’ll keep finding things that make us feel creative, wherever those things may be.
A version of this article was published in the March 30 issue of Billboard.