CHVRCHES recently released the song "How Not to Drown" off their upcoming album Screen Violence, which features The Cure frontman Robert Smith. The band now discussed the song with another Robert Smith collaborator, blink-182's Mark Hoppus, on Mark's Apple Music show After School Radio. Here's an excerpt:
Mark Hoppus: Your second single is "How Not to Drown," who has Robert Smith on it. How did that come about?
Lauren Mayberry: A man that you have known in your time.
Mark Hoppus: Yes, definitely. That's one of the highlights of my career was having Robert Smith on a Blink song, so I'm interested to see how it came about with you guys.
Lauren Mayberry: Our manager called us one day and was like, "Guys, I don't know how I've done this, but I've accidentally over-hustled something I didn't mean to." And he'd been talking to a friend who mentioned Robert Smith and Campbell, our manager, had said, "Well, maybe you could give me... Put me in touch with the manager, I'd love to pitch the guys, trying to get them on a tour support or something, years down the line."
Lauren Mayberry: And then he got an email from Robert Smith that was like, "Campbell, I heard you were looking for me." And he was like, "What? What's happening?" We're all like huge, huge Cure fans, our manager included, so we were like, "Oh, now, what do we ask? What do we say?" And then we just sent him some songs, and he's just so, as you know, so nice, and I was shocked... not shocked that he was so nice and open to stuff, but he has every right to be an ass, and a lot of his contemporaries are, and he has chosen to take the path to be just a really cool, nice guy who's still interested in music and still creating, and... If the band is over after this, I'm happy. I'm more than happy, I was-
Mark Hoppus: Have you seen his guitar rig that he tours with? It is a tiny, tiny Rowland student practice amp and a pedal board with six BOSS pedals, like the most basic, Guitar Center, I just learned how to play guitar, and my parents said I could spend $500 at Guitar Center. That's his whole setup. No, seriously, I'll text you a photo that we took when Blink played a tour with The Cure. Well, it wasn't a tour, it was a festival show, but yeah, I was just amazed, this amazing guitar sound, huge, iconic guitar tone is literally just a Rowland practice amp and some BOSS pedals, which just goes to show, it's not the tool, it's the carpenter.
Martin Doherty: He's a genius. I mean, I'm stating the obvious, but even now he was so... Every intricacy in the record, he stayed involved. Once he got involved, he stayed involved. He was... he had loads of comments on the mixes, loads of thoughts and loads of really great insight. And, of course he says, now that I've done the vocal, he could clearly hear that we had some tribute... Not... We're obsessed with The Cure. Disintegration is my favorite album. I wouldn't be in this band if it wasn't for his music. And we had this on "How Not to Drown," there was already this song... this guitar that sounded like Robert Smith, and he kind of sent a message and been like, "Do you want me to play on this? Do you want to just go to the source instead of trying to rip me off?"
Martin Doherty: And of course I just about lost my mind at that point, but he... I think my overwhelming memory from the collaboration was that we asked him and then we didn't hear anything for a while, and we all just figured, it's over, at least Robert Smith emailed us. That's the level that I was on at that point. And then on Halloween, no joke, we just got this email being like, "Here's my vocal. Let me know what you think." I'm not like brave enough to admit that there was tears in my eyes that night, because it was quite emotional. And this felt like such a special moment.
Lauren Mayberry: Like the dark lord has, has risen on this day. This is the most on-brand Robert Smith thing ever, to send a spooky demo just for the drama of it, is I've had this for a week, but they'll like it if I do it on this date.
Mark Hoppus: He probably waited for Halloween.