"How Not To Drown" finds Chvrches teaming up with The Cure's Robert Smith. For the Scottish band's Martin Doherty, the collaboration is a dream come true, as he considers the Cure's Disintegration and Pornography to be the two greatest albums of all time. He told Apple Music's Zane Lowe that when Smith told him and his bandmates he'd be interested in collaborating, they wondered if it would come to fruition.
Things then went quiet for a little while, then out of the blue they received a demo from Smith, "On Halloween, no less."
The song originated with a demo Doherty made called "Piano Drum Ting." He created it during a period of depression and anxiety when making music on his laptop was the only thing that gave him enough stability to get through the day. Smith and Chvrches vocalist Lauren Mayberry then added lyrics with a similar sentiment that explore the concept of staying conscious when you drown.
Mayberry said on social media that her lyrics find her reflecting on a time when she wanted to quit the band and disappear. "I felt like I was in over my head at the deep end and not sure how to get back," she explained. "But I did get back. And if you've felt like that, I hope you find your way back too. This is the chapter on what to do after they dig you up."