Taylor Swift is widely-criticized for staying silent on important social and political issues. Not alienating anyone means bigger sales, and synth-pop band Chvrches has a problem with that.
In their new interview with The Fader, the group believes people like Swift, someone with massive influence and power, has a responsibility to speak out on pressing matters, like the President, denouncing white supremacists and feminism. In Taylor’s defense, she recently posted support for the March For Our Lives movement, but that’s only scratching the surface.
Here is a copy + paste excerpt from the interview via The Fader:
I was reading an interview with a band recently who were saying something along the lines of, “You wouldn’t ask a footballer about guitar amps, so why would you ask a musician about politics?”
IAIN: Well, because musicians are real people in the real world.
LAUREN: When people say, “Stay in your lane, you’re a musician, so you should only talk about music,” what do you think songs are written about? I connect with music because what somebody has said has resonated with me in one way or another.
MARTIN: That’s such an idiotic argument. I might ask a footballer what his politics are.
LAUREN: Some musicians don’t have strong opinions, or they deliberately don’t have strong opinions because they want to try and sell as many records as possible. In this current moment, some people are gonna look back on that and look pretty fucking irresponsible and heartless. You wanted to sell X-number more records by deliberately staying quiet about things when you could make a tiny difference and lose… There’s certain massive pop stars who deliberately don’t talk about certain things, and that’s your prerogative to do so, but you’re only afforded the ability to do that because you’re at such a place of white privilege that it doesn’t touch you. I’m not gonna say the exact names, but I think we can all figure it out.
MARTIN: We’re not a political band, but we’re making music at a time where it would be so bizarre not to comment on this stuff. It is everywhere you look. How can you possibly make an authentic record right now that’s coming from a personal place or a genuine place, that doesn’t at least have an awareness of what the fuck’s going on around you? The idea is insane.
Lauren got flack five years ago for saying things about being a woman in the industry…
LAUREN: …which now would just be on a T-shirt.
MARTIN: “Flack” is definitely one way to put it. Iain and I had a particularly interesting perspective standing next to somebody that took the level of criticism that Lauren did. It was intense.
LAUREN: Not that we didn’t get a lot of props for it. We didn’t do anything terribly revolutionary, we just asked for equal treatment. It’s kind of mad that that was such a big deal. Writing an opinion piece about [gender inequality] got more attention than it would now because there’s so much more conversation, which is good.
MARTIN: There’s [some people] that maybe play into that now.
LAUREN: There’s certainly pop stars who are quoted as saying, “I’m not a feminist, I don’t hate men,” and then fast forward two years and their entire album campaign is about sisterhood and women and “feminism fuck yeah!” OK, but if that is your marketing campaign, then when an administration comes in that is systematically stripping away the rights of women, maybe it’s your job to say something. You can’t just make money off it and then not actually do anything.
With someone like Taylor Swift…
LAUREN: Your words, not mine.
MARTIN: Who was talking about Taylor Swift?
… I think you’ve got to allow people to evolve when it comes to their views on things like feminism — but as you say, if you’re profiting from it, it is strange to then stay silent on big issues.
LAUREN: Yes. Taylor Swift’s feminist turn, I don’t really care how you got there and why you’re saying it because you’re saying it to a huge demographic of young girls who can’t be reached by other people, so you talking about that is fucking powerful. I don’t really care if someone found out about it through the writings of Kathy Acker or from a Taylor Swift interview, ultimately it’s empowering young women, and it’s putting it out into popular consciousness. But, also at this point in time, when somebody says, “Would you denounce white supremacists who are using your music?” maybe that’s a morally conscious, correct decision to make. That’s the straw that pissed this camel off.