It's been almost a year since PVRIS returned, broken mirror in hand, and found a new balance between ‘All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell'. Backstage at Slam Dunk, Lynn Gunn reflects on a crazy twelve months, and what's coming next...
Hello Lynn. On your first record it felt like you were constantly chasing something, but this time around, it feels more deliberate?
This touring cycle there's been more breaks, which has been nice so that we can recharge. We have a few more options to play with or a few more opportunities to pick and choose what we do.
It's coming up to a year since the record came or out or since we first started talking about it at least. How's the past year been for you?
It's been good. This whole record cycle has been a big learning and growing experience, as a team and as a band but also internally for me. Personally, a lot of it has been difficult, but it's also been good. We're all in a really good place right now. We're ready to take on whatever's next.
Do you have any regrets about anything you put out or said on that record? It's one of those albums where you're going through things in real time.
I don't regret it. I feel like it's hard to regret things that shape you so I'm proud of this record and I'm really glad I got all that out. I feel like we're through all of it, for the most part, knock on wood. Things will always come up and remind you of where you used to be, but I'm in a good spot, and I've figured out how to handle things a lot better. When we first put the record out, I felt so not ready for any of it to be heard but now it feels good, and it feels like a lot of it is real, which is nice.
Let's talk about ‘No Mercy' because out of all the tracks on the record, that's the one that's changed the most. The more you listen to, the more you see the story of what's going on.
You could look at it through the scope of what's going on in the world, or a really internal little one that's basically ‘throw it at me, I'll take it on'.
There's a lot of fury to that song.
Yeah, and I feel like a lot of people have that fury in them that, whether they recognise it or not, definitely comes out for that song. Sometimes it's not even anger it's just that defiant, ‘Yeah, come and get it'.
How's the live show changed over the last year?
It's a lot more dynamic. I'm hopping to and from three different instruments throughout the set which has been fun, and the boys switch around a lot.
Does it take some getting used to, going from being front of stage to behind the drums or on a piano?
It did for a second, just being confident enough to do it because I'd never played drums live or at all, so it was intimidating at first. I've gotten used to it, and I've got comfortable up there. It's kind of nice to hide for a second. Being up front is very exposing, so it's nice to be able to step away and pull people into that as well.
Especially when you're performing songs that are so personal to essentially a room full of strangers.
I had a meeting with a homoeopath and an energy healer. The homoeopath held up my birth chart and went super far into it; whether you believe in it or not I think there's something to it. She did this whole personality analysis where she was like, ‘Alright, you're an introvert being forced to be an extrovert, you are influenced by the sun, but you're forced to work at night. There's all these weird contradictions. Find a way to make your touring and your live show something much more soothing to your character and your wiring.'
That whole discussion made me try to find a way to make performing comfortable. It was really about sitting back and calming down a bit and being able to hide all of it on stage even though we're up front. I feel like I've gotten to a comfortable place on stage where I used to be terrified. It's just nice to realise that you don't have to be a certain projection of yourself, that other people expect you to be. If you're present with yourself, then that's going to be authentic to whoever's watching.
What do you want people to take away from a PVRIS live show?
Anything they want, but I hope it can make people feel something cathartic, or they can release something or realise something. Whether it's taking something or releasing something, that's what music's for, and I think that's the biggest thing.
Do you know what's next?
After Europe, we go home, and we get to start working on new stuff. I don't want to say too much, it's still very early in the process, but I feel like a lot of it is discovering a new perspective. Discovering how to live life and process emotions through perspective, through a different headspace and just looking at a lot of the similar topics or situations. I'm figuring it out. I don't have this impending doom on my chest anymore, so what do I talk about now? What do I feel now? I'm exploring all the other colours now which is nice. It's almost overwhelming though because there's so much freedom where I'm scared we'll go down the wrong route, but I always tell myself to follow your gut, follow your heart, just like with any record that's going to speak to people
No deadlines! For the last record, there was a lot of crazy stuff going on with the release date, just like with everything going wrong, but it's okay, everything unfolded how it was supposed to. I think if things had gone the way they were meant to I wouldn't have personally been ready, so I'm kind of grateful things happened the way they did.
Taken from the August issue of Upset, out now.
Featuring Death Cab For Cutie, Bury Tomorrow, As It Is and more!