Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES: “Music, Gender and Social Media” | Talks at Google
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Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES: “Music, Gender and Social Media” | Talks at Google


MALE SPEAKER: Good
afternoon, everybody. Today for the Talks
at Google series, we have with us Lauren Mayberry,
the lead singer of the band Chvrches, as well as the
rest of the band, who will be playing a
musical set at the end. Coming onto this scene– [APPLAUSE] coming onto the scene two years
ago with their song “Lies,” their subsequent single
“The Mother We Share,” as well as their debut album,
“The Bones of What you Believe” helped propel Chvrches
to the top five of BBC’S Sound of 2013, an
award-winning appearance at South by Southwest,
and a worldwide tour. Please join me in
welcoming Chvrches. Now most recently, I think
a lot of the audience was expecting to see you
guys at Outside Lands, but I hear there
was a little issue– LAUREN MAYBERRY: Don’t bring
it up, don’t bring it up. MALE SPEAKER: No? OK. LAUREN MAYBERRY: We’re
still quite sad about it, to be honest. MALE SPEAKER: From
what I heard, it was the airport’s fault, so– LAUREN MAYBERRY: Yeah. It was a catalogue of
disasters within an airport, and then there was quite
upsetting bit where me and Martin got on
the plane and could see everybody else at the gate,
but they wouldn’t let them on the plane even though we
could see them out the window. And then we sat on the
runway for 45 minutes while they offloaded
all their bags, but they weren’t
allowed in the pit. This is very upsetting. But it’s OK. We’re going to try and get
a show in San Francisco at the start of the next–
shh, don’t tell anyone. We haven’t figured out
exactly when yet, but shh. MALE SPEAKER: Well,
I think we’re all looking forward to it, then. AUDIENCE: Is this
live streaming? LAUREN MAYBERRY: No, it’s OK. We don’t know when. It might happen. We hope it’ll happen. MALE SPEAKER: All
right, so a year ago, you wrote an article
for “The Guardian” about the perils of
being a front woman in a band in the
social media age. Now, as a band born
on the internet, I take it that social
media and being able to communicate
with your fans is incredibly
important to you guys. But at the same time, this
also opened up some avenues for abusive comments well beyond
just normal musical criticism. Could you talk a
little bit about how you guys use social
media to interact with fans and the
experiences that led you to write that
article for “The Guardian”? LAUREN MAYBERRY:
Yeah, I guess for us, we came about getting signed
in a reasonably orthodox way. We didn’t go about
the traditional tour the UK for however many
years and then tour Europe, and so on. We came to a lot of
people’s attention because of online streaming and
blogs, and people just passing the songs to each other
on social networks. We operated unsigned
for quite a long time and it was just important for us
to use those things as a medium to communicate with people,
get them information. I grew up in the MSN era of
being on band message boards and street teams and things like
that, so from my point view, social networks for us are
like online street teams. There’s been definitely
overwhelmingly positive parts of that
for us, but because we oversee that
ourselves, I suppose when you’re logging to
do all those things, sometimes you get a little rape
threat over your breakfast, and that’s fine. [LAUGHTER] Well, it’s not fine,
I guess is the point. We posted this screen grab of
an example that we got sent, and it wasn’t even something
terribly, terribly offensive. I was like, this
is just generally the tone of some of this stuff. Please stop. And then “The Guardian”
gave us the opportunity to expand on it a bit. I think the response was
generally positive to us from people in bands or
people we meet at shows, but I don’t know if
it changed the world in any revolutionary way. But speaking about it is
probably quite helpful, and then figuring out that other
people actually agree with you and the world
isn’t actually just full of horrible,
abusive internet trolls. It’s good to know. MALE SPEAKER: YouTube just
recently changed its policy on allowing anonymous
names for leaving comments. You can now leave a
comment anonymously. I want to know your opinion
on whether that will affect anything, or is this
something that’s going to happen regardless of
if people’s names are associated with their messages? LAUREN MAYBERRY: So they
can now leave a message? MALE SPEAKER: Now they can
leave them anonymously. LAUREN MAYBERRY: I’ve never
actually left a comment on YouTube in my
life ever, so I’m like oh, that would be
a weird thing to do. [LAUGHTER] Yeah, I don’t know. I guess I was thinking
about this earlier, but for me, it’s about personal
responsibility, and then who is responsible for that? If people are posting
abusive things, who’s the fall guy for that? Is the social networks,
or is it the person, or should law enforcement
be talking about that? Who is responsible? I think where people
are allowed to be anonymous means that
they feel like there’s less of a fallout or something. I feel like to an extent, when
people are on the internet– no offense, because I know
you guys are the internet– [LAUGHTER] there’s a certain level of
where you’re removed from that, so maybe you don’t feel as
much personal responsibility or something. I’m not sure. I’m worried about that. MALE SPEAKER: You
also talk about one of this problem stemming from
kind of a lack of empathy on the side of the people
who are leaving the comments. Here at Google, we have
a very global reach, and I was wondering if there’s
any suggestions you have for either Google or really the
industry in general about how to promote a sense of
empathy in our applications. We’re really changing the
way that people interact, bringing it online, and
it’d be great to bring that sense of well-being that
we have in real life online. LAUREN MAYBERRY:
Yeah, I guess anything like that is probably
helpful, I think– trying to change the
tone of conversations. But in my mind, it’s
the stuff that we’ve received is just a more
exaggerated version of what happens in real life. It’s the chicken and
egg thing for me. Does that reflect society,
or does the society reflect– it’s kind
of hard to tell which. I don’t think that threatening
and abusive exists only online. People probably wouldn’t
say as much of that right to your face, but
then there’s a reason why people think it’s OK to say
those things because there’s a certain thread
throughout society that makes people think that’s fine. It’s not like the
only time ever I’ve had anybody say anything
offensive or sexist to me is in this
band on the internet. That happens to
people all the time. I was coming out of
a subway in Glasgow and somebody– it was
the last subway at night, and someone showed me
his penis and said, do you think you’re too
good for it, darling? Which is funny now,
maybe, but at the time, I was like 21 coming
home from work, and I was like, it’s not
funny when you’re there on the receiving end
of that, so to speak. [LAUGHTER] What do you say? I’m like 5’2. It was like 11:30 at night. He’s a massive guy and had
two other mates with him. What am I supposed
to do about that? Maybe he goes around
leaving horrible comments on the internet. I don’t know. Or maybe he’s busy
doing it in real life. It’s hard to say. MALE SPEAKER: It seemed
like– obviously, you chose to speak up. Part of the article was
that you’re not just going to “deal with
it” as a lot of people told you to do when you
wrote the article originally. What side of the problem do
you think stems from, say, other female celebrities or
other women in general just kind of dealing with it? Because I feel like people
wouldn’t tell you to do that if it wasn’t– a majority of the
people were just dealing with it, so to speak. What problems stem from that? LAUREN MAYBERRY: Well, I guess
the thing that was confusing for me was that most people
were supportive of what we were saying, but there was a definite
strain in the conversation where people were
saying that the onus is on us to accept it
and deal with it. That to me is just a follow up
from a victim-blaming culture where people are like, well,
it’s up to you to deal with it. It’s not up to those people
to not behave like that. It’s up to you to suck
it up and deal with it. I was like, it’s bad. It’s awful if that’s
happening to you when you’re using the internet in
a personal capacity because everyone has the right
to use the internet to seek out knowledge and do nice
stuff on the internet. I was like, this
is something we’re doing in the course
of our employment. So if I want to be in a band
and have a social network, then I need to accept that? I think that’s a pretty
confusing way to look at it. Also, I suppose
probably a lot people don’t want to talk about that
because I think it paints you in a certain light or
something like that. But for me, these are things
that we think personally anyway, and it’s
something you’re coming up against in your day-to-day
job and your day-to-day life. I don’t really
see why you should have to sacrifice doing
things that you would normally do in order to appease what I
hope is a minority of people. MALE SPEAKER: At least in
terms of the Google properties, we can detect and
delete comments that would be considered
abusive pretty easily. But at the same time, obviously
you wouldn’t see them then, and that would give you
some sense of relief. Do you think it’s only going to
encourage the problem if people feel like they can
leave these comments and they’re actually going to
be deleted before they show up? So that generates anger and mean
harboring feelings towards you on the side of the commenters. Do you think deleting
these comments would help fix the
problem, or is it–? do LAUREN MAYBERRY: I don’t know. I thought about it
a lot when we were trying to figure out
how to deal with it. I was like, yes, it
does make me feel better if I don’t see any
of these things. But then I was like,
the option then in order to not
see those things is to not partake in that part
of the job and not do that. I guess that always gets
guess my back quite a lot when people bring up the
freedom of speech thing. I’m like, well, freedom
of hateful speech– is that allowed? I think there is a
freedom of speech issue, but from my point of view, it’s
not the commenter’s freedom of speech, it’s our
freedom of speech to go about doing
what we’re doing. And in order to
do that, then you have to accept someone
talking to you like that. Yet whenever people
bring up the, yeah, but I can say what I want
because it’s a free world and I’m on the internet. I’m like, you’re free
to say what you want but not be a prick. I feel like that should be
like– you need to write that into the European
Convention on Human Rights. Freedom of speech, brackets,
but not if you’re prick. I don’t know. How do you change it? I think it’s great that
companies like yourselves are trying to make a statement
on something like that. But I feel like there’s
probably quite a long way to go before it trickles
down into actual day-to-day attitudes. MALE SPEAKER: You talked
about the story you had of experiencing this
in real life, as well. Would you consider these abuse
of comments online an evolution of catcalling and other
street harassment, or is this its own
separate thing? LAUREN MAYBERRY: I
think it probably evolves from the
same beginning point. That made no sense,
that sentence. They come from the
same starting point, I think, the same
kind of attitude that if a woman is
in a public place, then she’s automatically opening
herself up to these things. The distance created between
people on the internet helps people. I’ve never had anyone
say to my face, you think this is rape
culture– you won’t know this until I come around
and rape you, but they do it on the internet. If someone said that
to me in real life, I would be very alarmed
and you would obviously report them to the police. But if it’s on the internet,
then people are like, oh, it’s the internet. It’s harmless, it’s fine. I’m like, hmm? Is it? MALE SPEAKER: Either before
you wrote the article or afterwards, did you have any
mentors either in the industry or in your life that
had previous experience with something like this and
were able to help walk you through it, or is that something
that you think maybe the music industry or things in general
need to have accessible? LAUREN MAYBERRY: I didn’t speak
to anyone about it in that way. There’s always people I’ve
admired in terms of musicians and how they conduct
themselves professionally and things like
that, but I guess it would’ve been good if
there was a how-to guide where you could be like,
what was this? Like OK, scroll to that
page, and then oh right, OK. Just ignore it, OK. I don’t know. I guess that’s probably why it
was so confusing, I suppose, because we’re really
supportive of each other. I’m the only woman in this band. I’ve always been in bands
with very supportive guys, but I’ve always been the
only female in those bands, so people can
empathize with you. I guess it’s not as
threatening because it’s not directed at them. I don’t know. I’m not sure. Like, women experience
that on some level at some point in their
lives, definitely. So I guess maybe you learned
from the textbook of life or something. I’m not sure. MALE SPEAKER: Have you
found that these problems have stemmed from any specific
social networks in general, or is it kind of a
broad thing that you’ve experienced everywhere? Like, is it harder to be a prick
in 140 characters on Twitter? LAUREN MAYBERRY: Sometimes
they’re quite inventive, I suppose. [LAUGHTER] I would say the worst
one is Facebook. Which is strange to me, because
there’s technically more anonymity on Twitter
because you don’t need to use your real name. If your account
gets deleted, you can make another one
however many hours later, whereas I suppose
with Facebook, they want you to use your real
name if you do, I don’t know. That’s definitely where most
of the comments were coming in. And also because we
still had at that point the direct message
function on, which is another further
removal for those people. They’re like, we are
contacting you on the internet and it can’t be seen
by other people, so I can say it directly to
you, whatever I wish to say. Obviously, we figured out
how to turn that off now. So that’s much better. Even now, if you post– I think
I reshared an article that was on Mic website and
it was about an advert in “Sound on Sound” that
was advertising microphones. It was like a naked
woman from the side and you could see her
ass and stuff in it. To me, I was like,
that’s not– what’s that got to do with
advertising microphones? But it was a really
interesting article that the guy who used
to run [INAUDIBLE] and then underneath it, people
were just like shut up and go back to doing what you’re
supposed to be doing. I don’t want to read this. I want to come here
and listen to music. I don’t want– why are you
talking about this shit? It’s not relevant. I was like, that
article is about music. I think it’s relevant. But seeing it all kind of
unfold again, you’re like, I’ll let it go. That’s fine. I guess the good
thing for us now is that if people know
where we stand on it, they kind of self-police
a little bit more. So rather than us
having to go in and being like, ban user,
oh dear, and go through, people have more of a
discussion about it, so I guess that’s positive. But I don’t really know
how much that really changes people’s
minds about things. MALE SPEAKER: Do you do
you ever respond directly to these comments? Maybe in the beginning when you
first started receiving them, or do you generally
just try to steer clear? Basically, any advice
you’d have for people who receive these
sort of things. LAUREN MAYBERRY: I think it’s
a difficult line to tread, because my instinct tells me
that every time somebody says that, then if you
were threatened, then you need to go
in on the offensive and just call people out on it. But I suppose I’ve got
quite a busy day most days, and I also don’t have
a huge amount of time to troll through and be like,
oh great, that’s happened. What would your mother say? Things like that. I guess it’s just trying to
gauge it on a day-to-day basis. I think before we made
any comment on it, it was taking quite
a personal toll to constantly be the person
that has to be like no, stop it. No, stop it. It got to the point where
I was like, I’m just going to delete the
comments and ban the users, but you can’t ban people from
life, so that’s a problem. That sounds really totalitarian. I’m like, get them all
and put them in a bin, but I don’t mean that. MALE SPEAKER: In the article
you tread pretty lightly around the word feminist. You treat it as if maybe
there’s some connotations that you don’t want to
associate with yourself. You make a comment that you
don’t hate men in general. That you’re speaking
feminism in terms of equality for the sexes. Do you think that the term in
general has become unfriendly? LAUREN MAYBERRY: I think
the start of the sentence says, “I am a
feminist” because I am. And I feel like
all the caveats I put in after that were
to counter what people say to you when you say that. They’re like oh,
so you hate men. Oh, well, all
these other things. No, I don’t know. That’s just a
stereotype that has been made to discredit what
people are saying about it, I think. I have no problem identifying
as that because to me, it means somebody who seeks
equality between all people. It’s not about making
women better than men. A white middle class woman’s
agenda shouldn’t be about that. It should be about generally
society being a bit less shit sometimes. I think there’s loads of
great examples of people who are making something like
that more accessible to people. Because I guess for me, I
learned about it through music. And then I figured out what
those people are reading and who they were
influenced by, and that’s how I got into feminist
literature and stuff. It can feel academic and
strange in that regard. I think the internet has been
really helpful for that, things like Feministing and Jezebel and
stuff making it more not even necessarily pop
culture-based, but just more conversational and hopefully
more representative of more peoples, because it’s
about your everyday issues. It shouldn’t just be in a
book in a library somewhere. MALE SPEAKER: What prompted
me to reach out to you guys in the first
place was an article I read in the January issue
of “Pacific Standard.” It’s about a
writer, Amanda Hess, who covers her experiences
with these comments. She talks about how she receives
these comments where people are threatening to come
to her house, which, if it had happened in
a real life experience, if you went to the
police with that, they would get a
restraining order. They’d take some sort of action. But because she received these
comments on the internet, the police brushed it off. They acted as if it
wasn’t important. They told her to get
back in touch with them if someone actually
shows up, which seems like there’s a lot of
room for something bad to happen there. Do you think as we transition
to more digital interactions that we risk losing some of
the standards and etiquette that we’ve built
up over the years and that some of the
safety might disappear as these things go online? LAUREN MAYBERRY: I don’t know. I guess that as
technology develops and society changes,
then laws need to adapt to cater for that. I suppose right now is
a pretty big gray area because if they’re
like no physical threat has happened upon you, then
what can the police really do about it? But then I just think it
adds to the people feeling more alone and more
vulnerable and more isolated. I suppose the thing with that
is even if– Amanda Hess, you can find her online. She’s very well known. But even if it was like a
conventional stalking thing, the victim still
doesn’t have– I think that’s what she
says in the piece. The victim doesn’t
have the anonymity of the person
that’s abusing them because they are the known
person whether they are a well-known person or
just– you don’t have to be a journalist or
in a band or whatever to encounter that kind of stuff. Something needs to
be done to figure out what to do about that,
but who knows what it is? I don’t. MALE SPEAKER: We’ll
try to figure that out. LAUREN MAYBERRY: Yeah, please. You guys in charge of
the internet, so go fix. [LAUGHTER] MALE SPEAKER: I’d like
to open the questions up to the audience. There’s a microphone back there. AUDIENCE: Hello. I feel like we spoke a lot
about policing and things, but even with police, bad
things still happen, right? Bullying in playgrounds, for
example, is physical abuse. We can police it as much as we
can, but the police don’t stop. Under the assumption
that– not an assumption, but this is emotional abuse–
being emotionally abused, the parallel would be
a physical body guard. As a celebrity, as
a well-known person, you have a body guard
who protects you as you move around
the physical world. Do you think an emotional
bodyguard for you on the internet is a
reasonable response? LAUREN MAYBERRY: I think that if
it existed, that would be nice, but it’s pretty abstract. I guess you have to
do that job yourself. I think it’s like separating
the personal anguish– sounds really pathetic, but anguish–
from the professional side, so trying not to make a
knee jerk emotional response to something, and then
just do the block user, go through that process. I suppose it’s more difficult
to deal with because it’s not like a tangible, physical thing. There’s no way of putting
somebody bigger in the middle because there really isn’t that. AUDIENCE: Thank you. LAUREN MAYBERRY: That
was a hard question. I wasn’t prepared for that. AUDIENCE: Hi, so I just want
to switch gears a little bit. But I had a question
for you guys. You mentioned at the beginning
how your band started off with the music blogs and social
media spreading your name. And even the way
you spell it, you did it specifically so that you
can stand out on the internet. How do you see the
music industry and bands that you see coming up
that are just starting out utilizing these blogs and
social media and the internet more so now, maybe, in the past? Do you see that
increasing given the rise of how many people are plugged
in in the digital age nowadays? Is that something that you
guys support and promote, or is it more so band
by band and however they want to spread their name? LAUREN MAYBERRY: For me, I
guess it’s a case-by-case basis. The blueprint that
works for one person won’t work for somebody else. I think certainly
for me, I remember being in bands pre
having a Myspace. That was quite
interesting when you didn’t have to put your
posters on Myspace. I guess you just promoted
it in different ways. I suppose now it’s kind of
unorthodox if a band doesn’t have a Facebook page
and things like that. I think those things
are definitely important tools for us to
communicate with people, but I’ve always been the
person in the band that runs social networks for
bands when I’ve been in them, and I tried just as hard
at the social networks for my other bands,
but they didn’t connect to people
in the same way. I like to believe it’s about
the content as well as the way that we pitched it. Generally speaking,
the music industry is probably having
to adapt a lot to incorporate all
these new technologies. I think for a long
time, people were just trying to sound like
the little Dutch boy with his finger
in the dam being– I don’t know if that
metaphor makes sense here– and then just saying no
to the progress because it was changing the way
the industry works, but I feel like you
can’t stop that process. It’s just going to happen. The way that labels
and things operate and the way that
even radio and things that will have to
change because you can’t stop the internet now. It’s too late. A lot of good things
have come out of that. Without the
internet, we wouldn’t have been able to cover as much
ground as quickly as we have, and it makes it a lot more
democratic in some ways. If you have a certain
amount of technology, you can make things at
home in your bedroom and share them online. You don’t necessarily have to go
through that filter of getting the guy in the suit
to listen to it and sign off on it before
you can release it. You can self-release
on the internet. That’s pretty powerful. AUDIENCE: Thanks. LAUREN MAYBERRY: These are hard. I looked at the
sheet earlier, and I was like, yeah, that’s fine. Coming from left
field, I don’t know. MALE SPEAKER: I
have a few questions from some of the people
streaming this, as well. What are the most
effective actions you’ve seen men take to
combat misogyny online? LAUREN MAYBERRY: I think
that’s an interesting one because when men speak
to other men about it, I think sometimes I’ve seen
that be a lot more effective. Because when I talk about
it, people could be like, oh well, she’s saying
that because she’s a woman or because she’s a
feminist and blah, blah, blah, and
it’s personal to her and I don’t agree
with that argument. But it’s easier to
discredit me that way than it is to a man
who’s saying that you. For me, I’ve gone to meetings
of feminist groups in Glasgow and then been like, not for me. Because one of the
conversations was– it was a feminist book
groups at university. One conversations
was whether we could read books that were written
about feminism by men. I was like, that’s
completely backwards. I don’t want to sit here and
be a part of that conversation because it’s not a
conversation to be had in a room full of
people who already agree. It should be a conversation
that’s everyone’s having. I think if everybody
can be involved in trying to make society
a tiny, tiny bit less rubbish sometimes, then
that would be good. MALE SPEAKER: This is from Eric. Would you use something like a
spam filter that automatically labeled aggressive emails? And more generally,
what do you think about the role of technology
in reducing online misogyny? LAUREN MAYBERRY: A
spam filter is probably useful insofar as then you
wouldn’t see as much of it, but it doesn’t necessarily
deal with the root problem, because it’s a way of
you dealing with it rather than going to
where it originated and trying to stop it
happening in the first place. For me, technology
has been really useful because we’ve traveled
so much and it enables me to keep in touch with
people and work on the move. And the same way it
does for everybody– just simple tiny things that
make the day easier and better, and I think that’s a
really powerful thing. I don’t want to make it
sound like I’m poo-pooing the internet or anything,
because I’m definitely not. I don’t know about
technology necessarily, but what we’re talking
about the internet has definitely opened up a
conversation about feminism and misogyny– yes,
it’s probably spiked it a little bit, as well, but if
people are talking about it in the same form, then
that’s probably a good thing. I feel you should
grade all my answers. [LAUGHTER] MALE SPEAKER: We have
a music one as well. Where you stand on subscription
music services given that many prominent artists
have spoken out against them? What you think we could
do to improve relations with music creators? LAUREN MAYBERRY: That’s a
pretty controversial topic. I think that every artist
is completely entitled to have an opinion on it. For us, it’s more
difficult to be very strident about that stuff
because without streaming services and the internet,
probably people wouldn’t have heard as much
about our band. There was a gaff the other
day where the songs came off Spotify in Mexico, and
people got very upset. I’m like well, sorry,
go back and fix it. I suppose that’s weird in a
way because then you’re like, oh, well you don’t
have my album? You can’t just listen to it? But then it’s just a product
of the time, to an extent. I didn’t grow up in an
era where the musician was that prominent. I remember getting one– I’ve
only illegally downloaded one thing. That was during the
time period where you’d to leave the computer
on for like three days. [LAUGHTER] I remember having to
debate with my mom whether we would turn
the computer off, and I was like,
it’s almost there. It’s almost there. It was just because I couldn’t
physically get the song. I think it was like a Letters
to Cleo cover of Cheap Trick or something that was in the
film, and I really wanted it, but I couldn’t get it. I can’t relate a huge amount to
music streaming in that sense, but I guess it’s about
making all that stuff fairer on the artist, because somebody
somewhere is making money off of those things,
but it’s definitely not the people who make
the content that’s on it. I guess if there was a way of
making those streams somehow feeding the gain back
to the people who’ve paid in time and money to make
that because at end of the day, someone is trying to make
a living off doing that. I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know what to do. MALE SPEAKER: Audience question. AUDIENCE: I have a
question about what you see the role of the
rest of the online community is in combating misogyny. Because sometimes people say, if
you comment defending someone, that brings more
attention to it. Do you think that there’s a role
that everyone on the internet can play in defending women,
defending people in general, against these kind of comments? Do you think that
brings more attention to it in a positive
way, or do you think that hurts the
cause by recycling back the focus to those
negative comments? LAUREN MAYBERRY: Maybe I’m
an antagonistic person, but for me, I was like, the
ignoring it thing– like, when you’re a kid, and your
mom was like, just ignore them, I don’t think that theory works
here because if you ignore it, then people aren’t going to be
like oh, they’re ignoring me because I’ve done
something really offensive. They’re going to think
that you’re ignoring them in an oh well, fair enough way. If people can be respectful
of each other, obviously, I’m not saying you should go
and be a horrible, awful person in return, because then
that’s just an eye for an eye. If people can call each
other out on those things, then that’s useful. Also, even in the last
year, 18 months or whatever, I’ve noticed loads more
stuff about feminism in the mainstream media. Is that a trend of what
people are writing about, or are they just more
willing to talk about it and more people are
thinking about it? I’m not sure. I hope so. But hopefully it
won’t disappear again, like feminism is the new
black, and then it’s gone. AUDIENCE: Thank you. AUDIENCE: Hi. You mentioned that you like
Feministing and Jezebel, and I see them sort of as a
more palatable or relatable form of feminism, especially
for our generation, which I think is changing a lot. What about them do
you really like, and how do you think people
can pull elements of that into their own content that
they’re creating online? LAUREN MAYBERRY: That’s
an interesting question. For me, people like
Jessica Valenti are really important voices
because she’s obviously very intelligent and has studied
the academic side of all this so she knows all the
theories and she knows all the texts that you
should check out. I think the fact that she’s
taking that and putting it in a real life situation, and
the tone in which she writes is really relatable, and
she’s talking about things that we’ve all experienced. I think Feministing
is really interesting because they talk about high
court rulings on things, but then they also
have opinion pieces on things that are
happening in pop culture and things that are being
talked about in the news. I think just having that kind
of dialogue is really helpful. It feels like a nice,
quite a useful community, rather than somebody telling
you things and being like, you think this. People raise questions and
accept comment in return. That just makes you
think about stuff. Certainly, when
I was growing up, I didn’t really
have a huge number of friends that would be
interested in the same kind of things. I think only within the
last few years really have I found as many
like-minded women. We make the joke that I started
a women’s collective in Glasgow to make more friends–
to make more friends who agreed with me. But I think that has been very
important because it’s just a thing we have where
we run live events and have a radio show and
podcast and things just focusing on women, arts, and
music, and things like that. For me, that feels
like a positive thing to do because otherwise, I feel
like I’m constantly thinking about the negative things–
the horrible things that are happening and constantly
happen on all levels. I want to try and change
the dialog in my mind and make it something more
positive and having people to talk to about that
is pretty helpful so you don’t feel like
you’re the only one. You’re like, is that fine? Am I overreacting? No, no, it’s fine. Yeah, community is key. MALE SPEAKER: Do we have
any more audience questions? AUDIENCE: Hello. So I remember a while
ago, a comedian once that there’s a strong power
in comedy in communication, especially when it
comes to tough topics. It’s something along the
lines of if I make you laugh, maybe you won’t be as
threatened or defensive. Sometimes I think about
that with music, as well. So I wondered if
you ever addressed these kinds of tough
topics in your music, or maybe you already have. Your lyrics are a bit cryptic. [LAUGHTER] LAUREN MAYBERRY: Sorry. When we write music,
for me, I just write about personal
perspective, whether that’s on
personal events that have happened to you or
a personal perspective on something that’s
happening externally. I suppose the lyrics
are pretty cryptic, so you probably can
tell from any of that. I guess the personal is
political to an extent. The political is
personal and vice versa. There’s probably elements
of that in the stuff that we are writing about, but I
don’t think there’s necessarily any anthems in
the same way there is on a Le Tigre
record or something. MALE SPEAKER: Thank
you for coming today. LAUREN MAYBERRY: Thank
you for having us. [APPLAUSE] We’re back. And this time, you guys
get to actually speak. So that’s nice. IAIN COOK: I don’t
have a microphone. LAUREN MAYBERRY: Ian never
gets– we don’t let him speak. IAIN COOK: Shall we? LAUREN MAYBERRY: Yes, we
are a band called Chvrches. [MUSIC– CHVRCHES, “RECOVER”] [APPLAUSE] LAUREN MAYBERRY: Thanks, guys. We are going to play
a couple more songs. I feel I’m not terribly good at
public speaking, to be honest. It makes me quite worried. So if there’s more vibrato in
the voice than anticipated, it’s just left over from that. IAIN COOK: Me, I’m just
looking for someone that will let me go
on one of your slides. [LAUGHTER] That’s all I want. If there’s anyone in this
room– and there’s more of you than I expected–
so surely, someone can make it happen for me. I’ve come all the way
here from Scotland. LAUREN MAYBERRY: In the name of
feminism, let him on the slide. [MUSIC– CHVRCHES, “GUN”] [APPLAUSE] LAUREN MAYBERRY: Thanks, guys. We’re going to
play one more song, and then we’re going to go. I need to rehydrate
because I’ve sweated a lot during this experience. [LAUGHTER] But it’s OK. It’s not your fault. It’s just psychology. But thank you again
for having us. Thank you for letting
people look us up on you, which has
been very helpful to us. IAIN COOK: One thing
is if you’re all here, who’s running
the internet? I’m kind of a bit
worried about that. LAUREN MAYBERRY: Thank
you for having us, and for letting us come and
chat a bit, stuff like that, because I think it’s really
awesome of you guys to do that and make it be less of a
marginalized thing, and thanks. [MUSIC CHVRCHES, “THE MOTHER WE
SHARE”] [APPLAUSE AND CHEERING]

100 thoughts on “Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES: “Music, Gender and Social Media” | Talks at Google

  1. I've seen this band twice and seeing them again in October in Tempe. Great band! It sucks women on the Internet whether in Tech, Music or Business have to put up with all the idiot trolls.

  2. Lauren , never care . . . about what some hiding coward is saying on the internet. People can say WHAT EVER they want , REGARDLESS of how you feel . And REALLY . . . Just how fine are they that they care to go OUT OF THEIR WAY , to attend to your business. You are special! Just keep killing them with good music !

  3. and what if I find myself in love with you? You're so sweet, beautiful, with a great personality and a beautiful voice! Please do read comments because far away from all the bullshit, there is this person telling you that you're awesome 🙂

  4. Why would you say anything negative to Lauren? She is the raddest chick. Adorable, talented and super intelligent. Also awake. Dream wife <3

  5. I think I find big holes and problems in most forms of feminism. There's a chunk of decent people who are feminists that I can get behind because they're not delusional, but in most forms its controlled chaos that may eventually lead to somewhere good that I generally cannot stand for. It's "reverse" intolerance in a sense.

  6. Ok how in the hell did the announcer, dude in the green shirt, get in that position? Surely there HAS to be somebody in the Google ecosystem available who can speak better? He's like a robotic idiot.

  7. Maybe you should grow a thicker skin? I think CHVRCHES are wonderful. And you are a captivating young woman. I do think you are brilliant. But your views on anonymity on the internet are very poor.

    Stay off the internet if you don't like negativity. xx

  8. Freedom of speech is exactly what it says, FREEDOM OF SPEECH. No one has the right to regulate speech. Period. PC culture is wrong.

  9. She is absolutely spot on. People think they have this automatic right to a slice of pie because they listen to Chvrches, and she's female, so she's an easy target. Fuck That. Strongest human I have seen in quite some time.

    Keyboard fucking Warriors. Oh the fun I would have if I met some of you cunts face to face

  10. oh a feminist…starts off seeking equality, few years later….>>>> TOTALITARIAN

    Never fckn fails ending up that way…NEVER

  11. Is it just me, or there really are not that many of such CONVERSATIONS about US, and OUR behavior on the Net? Appreciated it very much, thanks!

  12. I think everyone at Google must be tone deaf to social nuance, despite their purported inclusiveness. Why would they not seat the rest of the band and include them in the conversation? Lauren is definitely including their input by using the plural in her answers and seems very nervous compared to the other interviews I've seen when she had her band mates sitting alongside her. You can tell it's really pissing them off. It would help defuse the weird creepiness of the guy in the green shirt. What a tool.

  13. What's stopping Trump from blocking leftist speech because of how many problems it causes in society? We all know who is least innocent on the political spectrum, be careful what you wish for.

  14. >tylerthecreatorhowthefuckiscyberbullyingrealscreencap.jpg

    LOL at these soft serve bug people being this fucked up over mean tweets.

  15. 09:10 I think it's best to delete the abusive comments, because that would prevent the abusive comment culture we have from expanding. If kids see so many abusive comments from a young age that they think saying those things is normal and acceptable, then they will, too. If those comments are blocked, they will assume it isn't normal or acceptable, and they won't. Also, the people who post the abusive comments won't get the attention they want for it, and give up or comment on a smaller website. I think I can speak on behalf of most women and say that it would make us feel safer and less anxious if we did not see those kinds of comments about other women as often.

  16. wondering if my comment gets deleted as inappropriate
    unlike in real life situations, one can ignore, delete, block or ban the abuser more easily. I find it kind of sad that my favorite artists get down the social justice path these days just because the lead singer feels threatened by internet comments.

  17. Thanks Lauren and sorry the interviewer was so bad. Google couldn’t you at least chose someone that was capable of listening and reacting to what she say?

  18. For the 'Love of God', Shut up and Sing!!!……. WTF?!!?….. There was Bjork before You!!!……Yay internet!!!….geeze!!

  19. The interviewer seems to be so awe-struck by her elfin gorgeousness that he is a state of near-paralysis. Either that or he's an android.

  20. THIS: 10:26 – As for the interviever, if you want her to talk to you, maybe you should try to talk to her…just an opinion..

  21. I feel SO BAD that Lavren has to answer those idiot questions. She is so disappointed, you can see it in her personality. I=Sh=uch a shame that people these days only seem to live to drag other people down. Lets lift each other up, yeah?!

  22. I am so damned enchanted with Ms. Mayberry…what a bright, engaging, beautiful Lady! WHEN in SAN FRANCISCO!

  23. SHE NEEDS TO HAVE HER OWN SHOW! (I know this is stolen from Sarah Silverman's character on "Monk," but DAMMIT!)

  24. Issue by issue, point by point, this gifted, humorous, impressive Lady has, if not changed my mind, at least opened it further. Well done!!

  25. OK – I'm not going to lie – FIRST -she drew my attention because she is so damned adorable – THEN – I heard "The Mother We Share." 'Nuf sed about that. NOW – I listen to the content of her character being poured out like fine wine with that wispy Scottish brogue….

  26. LAST COMMENT! The 2nd audience member asked a question similar to what one expects from "Reggie" on "The Late, Late Show With James Corden."

  27. I can imagine a huge Scottish guy saying, "Do ya think yer too good fer it, darlin'?!" and it makes me snicker.

    Seriously, though, people need to realize that it's just a small part of the human population who is always going to do and say mean shit. Just like in real life, then yes, you DO have to deal with it because you can't change human behavior!

  28. People say just ignore tit, butt it is on l'Internet:: Just pas uff::
    – Heegbarg Logo Programmierschule Messer im Briefkasten!
    – Sonnenstudio Problem: Geschäftsführer nicht im Gebäude, Adresse bekannt, Sicherheitsdienst würde kommen, Preisliste nur zum Abschreiben, Problem: 6ex eben
    – EKZ Thalia sehr großzügig, hatte aber Geld
    – Aldi Sasel: Tschuldigung, ne' Bunte oder so
    – Sonst: Weltenwechsel .oo, Gefahr: .oo
    – (..) but my addiction to success, i make me Sorgen
    – Heilbutt: leider noch da
    – my feelings oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  29. The following book occurred during this time:
    – Calendar
    – something music but woodstock (Phila)
    – something programming i think not of: gimp 2 from leide Rheinwerk computing because of ausschneiden (Scherenschnitt)
    – Auto Atlas Österreich

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