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Lynn Gunn: ‘The Rock Mindset is Never Going to Die’

American electro-rock band PVRIS’ vocalist discusses their new music, women in rock and the need to speak out on LGBT issues

Riddhi Chakraborty Jun 27, 2016
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(From left) PVRIS' Brian MacDonald, Lynn Gunn and Alex Babinski. Photo: Max Fairclough

(From left) PVRIS’ Brian MacDonald, Lynn Gunn and Alex Babinski. Photo: Max Fairclough

When PVRIS debuted their their first full-length album White Noise in 2014, there was no doubt they would stand out. The trio’s haunting synthpop/rock sound and comfortless music videos lent them a mysterious vibe that was hard to ignore. “I think our band has always done dark and moody stuff,” says vocalist Lynn Gunn over the phone while on tour of the American East Coast. “So in terms of visuals, we wanted the aesthetic to complement the music.”

Owing to their positioning, PVRIS– which also comprises guitarist Alex Babinksi and bassist Brian MacDonald– have drawn comparisons with alternative rock giants Paramore, CHVRCHES and The Neighborhood, while also amassing fans worldwide. “We never imagined having a reach that far out of the United States,” says Gunn. “It’s absolutely insane.”

What also makes PVRIS a success among their fans is their alternative rock leanings. “I think the rock mindset is never going to die,” Gunn states, adding, “It’s always something that’s changing and evolving, so it’s going to take on different forms and different styles.”

Symbolism and continuity have also played a key part in building the band’s appeal – for example, the use of a mirror on the album art for White Noise and in their music videos. “The mirror acts as a portal between the music videos. So we’re thinking in terms of something to connect one thing to the other [on the next record] but I don’t want to think about it too much and box ourselves in,” she says.

PVRIS have drawn comparisons with alternative rock giants like Paramore, CHVRCHES and The Neighborhood. Photo: Lindsey Byrnes

PVRIS have drawn comparisons with alternative rock giants like Paramore, CHVRCHES and The Neighborhood. Photo: Lindsey Byrnes

Now on the last leg of their current tour, PVRIS are ready to go back into the studio and add to the sound they’ve built so far. “We want to go above and beyond anything we’ve done before. Whether that’s changing the vibe or expanding on it and making it bigger and better, we definitely have a variety of ideas we want to try,” Gunn says about the follow up to White Noise, careful not to give away too many details.

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Apparently, the band spent a lot of time searching for the right studio to record the next album in. “We’d just been looking into old studios and old houses and places with a really cool atmosphere because we wanted a certain energy,” she says, adding that their hunt came to an end when they found a ‘haunted’ church-turned-studio in upstate New York. “We thought that it just worked out perfectly.”

The band’s latest track “You and I” has earned praise from Paramore’s lead vocalist Hailey Williams, who was glad to see another woman in the scene. Says Gunn, “I think if you look at statistics, there are absolutely fewer females than there are males [in rock]. But it’s something that’s rapidly changing right now… With girls seeing more women in rock and pop, [it] will gradually inspire more female artists.”

As a gay woman in the industry, Gunn is likely a source of inspiration to many. In the wake of the Orlando shooting on June 12th that targeted the gay community, Gunn feels that the only way to positive change is through discussion. “I feel a lot of people are really quick to shut [others down if] they don’t have the same opinion. They will automatically crucify you and not explain why. I think that’s the biggest problem: people don’t talk.” She is firm in the belief that a person’s sexuality should not define who they are. “At the end of the day it’s about who you want to love and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

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Watch the video for PVRIS’ track “You and I” below:

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