Music is a hugely important part of my life. The songs I love are a part of my everyday routine, they are the narrative to the best and worst of times. My taste in music is a big part of my identity, so it’s understandable that music goes hand in hand with my photography. Some days I can spend hours on my daily commute, working through admin and editing photos, so I can get through a lot of music sometimes!
This blog series is going to be an insight into the music i’ve been listening to recently, that’s accompanied and influenced my photography. It might be an artist, a genre, a soundtrack, an album, or even a single song that I can’t stop hitting repeat on.
So, here goes… Welcome to #1 of Stewart Barker Photography‘s Editing Playlists!
It only seems right that I start this series with my favourite band. When people ask me this question, it’s not one I take lightly! Because I love such a wide range of artists and genres, it is incredibly difficult to pick. But the music of one band in particular has been the soundtrack to the last 5 years of my life – which has been a period of immense change with some very difficult times. I first stumbled upon this band by complete accident in my final year of uni (way back in 2013). I instantly fell in love with their sound and haven’t looked back since.
CHVRCHES is an electronic pop band hailing from Glasgow, and although their music sounds punchy, vibrant and energetic, a deeper listen to the lyrics reveals some incredibly difficult topics and personal stories. The synergy between these two concepts is a series of proud, defiant and stoic tracks and albums. When I listen to anything by this incredible three-piece band, it brings up a lot of emotions and memories, but also reminds me of the strength i’ve needed to conquer certain obstacles in recent years.
In stark contrast to a lot of popular music currently in the charts (wow I sound like an old man), CHRVCHES’ unique brand of electronica and pop stands out like a beacon. One of the things I enjoy most about electronic music is the composition of the backing tracks – the effectiveness of complexity versus simplicity, and the layering and manipulation of sounds. CHVRCHES does this in a way that few other bands have been able to achieve, and puts equal weight on instruments and vocals.
The vocals, mainly provided by Lauren, are stunning. A delicate yet sometimes powerful voice, full of emotion that you can’t help but resonate with. One of the things I love about the vocals of both Lauren and Martin (who solos on a few of my favourite tracks) is that their amazing Scottish accents aren’t lost when they sing!
As you can probably tell by this point, i’m a big fan, and could probably write an essay on this band! I’ll save you all from that on this occasion, and tell you a few of my favourites from their work so far.
I listen to CHVRCHES a lot, but i’ve been playing them even more lately, as they’re releasing their 3rd album later this year, and have been dropping a few singles. From what I can tell, their new album “Love is Dead” definitely has more of a pop feel. It’s still very much them, just slightly lighter and more melodic, with incredibly catchy choruses.
I love the three singles from the new album so far, but i’ve been blown away by “My Enemy” ft Matt Berninger. Give it a listen and wait for the last chorus, where the duet between Lauren and Matt has an incredible 80’s electronica vibe. Like most CHVRCHES songs, focusing on the lyrics reveals an incredibly sad song, which I interpret as being about what a relationship could have been, but from an empowered stand point, on the other side of heartbreak.
From their previous work, you should definitely listen to “The Mother We Share” (their breakthrough single), “Lies”, “Recover” and “Bury It”. Special mentions go to “ZVVL” and “Afterglow” which I used to replay time after time.
I rarely say this, as it’s unusual for me to love a full album, but I recommend listening to both CHVRCHES albums cover to cover. I’ve put together all of my favourites in a Spotify playlist for you to check them out, so let me know what you think!