More than writing great songs, PVRIS have created a world to accompany them. Dark, brooding and electrifying, the series of music videos that accompanies every track from their debut album is a bold statement from a band who don’t know how to do anything less. As you’d expect though, it’s something they had to fight for.
“We are obviously on a label and you have to work with what they give you,” starts frontwoman Lynn Gunn. “We were initially only confirmed to do three videos with [director Raul] Gonzo but ever since day one, before we even got confirmed to do that first video, we were brainstorming ideas for every video on the record. Eventually we started cheating the system and sending videos to the label saying ‘we filmed this video guys, here you go’.”
They needed support, and they got it. “Gonzo is amazing, he can literally make something out of nothing. He was really passionate about what we’re doing and he was kind enough to agree to do every video for every song,” explains Lynn. “We’d just bust them out at every chance we got. We’re incredibly stoked we got to do all the songs, especially on the first record. We’re really excited for the future and to see what happens. We definitely want to go above, beyond and a little bit better. We want to make it evolve and grow. We have a lot of ideas right now for the next record, but we can’t give away too much,” starts Lynn. Less than four minutes in and she’s already teasing album two – if we didn’t know any better, we’d say PVRIS are very excited about the future.
In the end, the band had to do a video for every song on ‘White Noise’ because of “the mirror at the end of the video, and how it shows a scene from the next video. You can’t just end it right there because it’s already telling a story. It’s like reading a book, getting halfway through and then throwing it out,” explains Brian.
“A very scrambled but kinda cohesive book,” adds Lynn. “We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to follow through with all ten, so we kinda created a story as we went along. With the next record there’s going to be much more of a…”, she starts before interrupting herself. “I don’t want to give too much away, get people’s hopes up and then put some absolute bullshit out.”
“It’ll just be Teletubbies dancing around,” laughs Brian.
Despite the visual element at play with the creative process, it will never overtake the importance of great songs. “At the end of the day, it’s music first. That’s the focus but to be able to expand on that, create a completely different element to the band and then incorporate that into what we’re doing is really fucking fun and really, it feels great.”
The mirror has become an integral part of PVRIS’ aesthetic. From the front cover of ‘White Noise’ representing the self-reflective nature of the record as well as the distorted view you have of yourself through the video for ‘St Patrick’ where it acts as a portal to go from one thing to another to the closing shot of each video, teasing the next, there’s a constant reminder that there’s a bigger story at play. Lamps, televisions, hairdryers, baseball bats and umbrellas, PVRIS have threaded recurring objects throughout their narrative and it’s something they want to expand on alongside the community-driven teasers, giving fans a glimpse of what comes next. “I think that’s really cool and interactive. It’s something we want to really start to try doing more. Make it more interactive, make people think a little more, drop clues and open up their minds. We kinda did it with ‘White Noise’ but we want to expand on it. It’ll be fun,” they promise.
Between producer Blake Harnage and Gonzo, PVRIS have a creative team behind them that sets them up nicely for the next step. It’s a comforting excitement that means they can really start thinking bigger, “and the fact they’re so stoked on working with us and are passionate about it as much as we are, makes it really fun because they trust us and we trust them.” There are no disputes or petty power struggles, instead there’s nothing but mutual respect. “The two of them are like, ‘yeah, whatever you want to do. They’re open to ideas and working with what we want to do,” explains Brian.
“Their ideas are great too. They don’t mind if we have ideas and vice versa. I don’t think there’s ever been a point where Gonzo has said ‘let’s try this’ and I’ve been like, ‘Fuck no!’ It’s always something that really enhances and complements what we want. We’d come to him with a brief idea and he’ll completely go off with it, bring it to life and make it ten million times better. He can make something out of nothing. With ‘Holy’ we literally had a white wall and that was one of the most fun videos. It feels really good to have a sick creative team working with us. They really help bring everything to life.”
As for the future, PVRIS aren’t going to kill off their aesthetic and return, a la the 1975, doused in rainbows and tie-dye. “It’s something to be discussed but I think it’ll be expanded upon. The band is very dark and the music is very dark, especially on the next record. I’m not going to give away too much, but it’s very…” Lynn pauses. “There’s a lot of things I’ve been saying where I’m not sure if I should be saying them,” she laughs, before carrying on where she left off. “I think we’ll elaborate on that darkness a lot more but there will be new elements brought in for sure. It’s hard to tell right now but we’re thinking about it.”
Not that the band have much time to stop and collect their thoughts. After their UK tour, they head to Europe and the US for more of the same ahead of a summer of festivals and radio shows. “We don’t get our first break until August and it’s not even 100% that we’ll get that, something might come up,” says Brian. “And then I think we’re supposed to record in September or October. That’ll be nice,” insists Lynn. “We’ve got a cool spot picked out and for me, writing is really relaxing. It’s nice downtime. It’s hanging out with Blake and these guys every day. I’m definitely more excited to do stuff in the future now because I know how much we can pull strings,” she grins as the bold get bolder.
Taken from the May issue of Upset, out now – order your copy here.