RIGHT ON FOR THE DARKNESS
It's mid-December in Detroit, Lynn Gunn and the rest of PVRIS (Alex Babinski & Brian MacDonald) are preparing for tonight - 89X radio’s annual holiday show, where they’ll be performing in support of AWOL Nation and Metric. Asked if, indeed, “It’s so cold in the D,” the 21 year-old confirms, adding “How the f*ck are we supposed to make peace?” Despite hitting all the age cohort appropriate comic beats with seemingly easy attitude, PVRIS has worked hard to cover an incredible amount of ground over past two years.
Releasing their debut album White Noise in late 2014, the group hit No.1 on the Billboard's Emerging Artists Chart and then embarked on the near perpetual touring grind of a band ascendant. Late February sees PVRIS tour the US in support of Fallout Boy and AWOL Nation, followed by a sold out headlining European tour. Listen to PVRIS and you can understand. Under the guidance of producer Blake Harnage [Versa], the trio has managed that most rare alchemy – the fusion of pop hooks and world-weary pathos – in short, the recipe for arena ready anthems.
On their breakout single 'My House', Gunn sings: “It’s my soul, it isn’t yours anymore.” And we believe. We have a light (and heavy) conversation with PVRIS frontwoman Lynn Gunn.
ROGUE: PVRIS originally began in 2012 as a metal-core project Operation Guillotine. What compelled the change?
Lynn: We came from a much heavier scene. We felt boxed in, like we couldn’t stray from our sound, or do something different and be accepted. Blake Harnage helped push us - gave us the confidence we needed to make what we wanted.
How’d you start working with Harnage?
I met him years ago at a Versa Emerge show - he did all the programming in that band. I imagine he was taken aback by a 14 year-old girl asking him for advice about music production. He taught me about Pro Tools, Logic, Reason.
What’s been turning you on, creatively?
I’ve been reading a lot - Nietzche’s Genealogy of Morals, (Jungian psychologist) Stanton Marlan’s The Black Sun. Books about inner darkness - how to recognize it, how to find balance without getting too close. It’s like seeing a car crash, you can acknowledge it but still keep going. We have a lot of that in our music, though we’re generally happy-go-lucky as people.
You’ve been on a heavy touring schedule and you’ve seen your audience grow steadily. Any highlights from the past two years?
I did the math, we’ve been out for almost a full year since last January, in addition to some touring before. We’ve gone from a van to a bus. You travel, you go to remote places and realize 'people exist here, and they care' - it’s intriguing. There’s a level of sensory deprivation, though.
What’s been the most memorable experience?
I was asleep in the back of the van - we were driving through Arizona, nothing going on. All of a sudden I hear “what the fuck” - looked up and saw green lights coming from the sky - approaching the highway, almost hitting it, then blasting in the other direction.
Photography Lindsey Brynes
Written by John-Paul Caballero