Your new album is called Love Is Dead. Can you explain the title?
"I know it’s a bold, somewhat theatrical title, but we wanted it to be jarring and have people ask questions, and provoke conversation around it. The same with the album cover - over the course of our careers a lot of people have been like, 'push the girl to the front; put the girl on the cover,' and I like that we finally did that, but we scratched my eyes out and put all these garish colours over the top. I like taking those things and turning them on their head…it’s an important provocation."
When people were saying ‘put the girl on the cover,' what was your reaction to that feedback as a frontwoman?
“For me personally, it was about trying to figure out the balance between having slightly more focus put on me because I’m the frontperson, which happens in all bands, but having that be because [I’m] the frontperson and not because [I’m] a woman, and not being treated like a gimmick.”
You’ve said in the past there aren’t many women headlining festivals. You just headlined Splendour in the Grass - do you feel the balance is finally tipping?
“[With] a festival like Splendour or Laneway Festival, they’re always more aware of diversity within their booking… [But] the problem starts at the bottom. I remember being a 16 year-old girl and going into music venues and just knowing ‘you are not supposed to be here,’ because people [weren’t] making it a space for [me.] We just sponsored a rock n’ roll camp for girls in Scotland, and we’re prioritising these kinds of things. Giving people resources in communities is super cool and important. But also, I wouldn’t be in a band if it wasn’t for women like Karen O and Shirley Manson. You see that when you’re a teenager and think maybe it could be an option for you in the world when most people are telling you it’s not. I guess I have them to thank, and I feel if we’re lucky enough to get to do this, then we should be responsible with that privilege.”
There seem to be some politically-charged songs in the mix, have you been influenced by what’s going on in the world?
"I think we’re all pretty aware, conscious people, but also empathetic people, and I don’t think you can live in the world we’re in right now and not feel affected by what’s happening. [The songs aren’t] overtly political…but writing from a personal perspective at this time, it felt natural to me to think about some of those things… the way people are treating each other, and what does that mean about us as people?"
What is one thing the band love about Australia?
"It’s such an easy place to be healthy. [That] sounds like a lame thing today but for people that live in the back of a van constantly… I’m like, ‘Oh, there’s fresh air and sunshine! You can be near the water and exercise and eat some f***ing avocado toast and have some crazy high-end coffee! It [has] a nice pace of life; everyone’s working hard but they know how to chill the f*ck out, and I’m down with that."
Love is Dead is out now. Touring now; chvrch.es/