Photo by Eliot Lee Hazel.

Exclusive Interview: PVRIS at Slam Dunk Festival

PVRIS’ career has been a whirlwind so far. The band grew from zero to hero in a matter of a few years, and, to the delight of their legions of fans, they’re now topping the bill on UK festivals like Slam Dunk and Reading and Leeds.

We caught up with vocalist Lynn Gunn and bassist Brian MacDonald at Slam Dunk North to chat all about evolving, festivals, and how to break into the industry.

CelebMix: How are you finding the UK so far?

Lynn Gunn: Good!

Brian MacDonald: Its been good, yeah. We had a few days off before starting the festival and we got to go around and see some cool stuff.

Lynn: Lots of walking, lots and lots of walks. I have to add it up but for at least four days our tour manager and I walked 20,000 steps every day around. There’s a little app on your phone that will tell you. We walked 20,000 for like four days.

CelebMix: You’re playing on the main stage later today – what can people expect?

Brian: We’re very excited, because last time we played was in 2015, and we played the outdoor stage, and now it’s a lot bigger so it’s going to be nice playing again. It’ll be good.

Lynn: They’ve just changed things around so the main stage is at an arena now, but we played the old main stage three years ago and it was a lot of fun.

CelebMix: Since founding a few years ago you’ve released two albums, toured non-stop, and gained a massive following. How have the past five years been for you?

Lynn: Like a whirlwind.

Brian: Big, it’s like a complete new life, but in a good way.

Lynn: Yeah, I feel like you grow up really quick on the road, a lot of good changes and a lot of growth, I think in all aspects of our lives.

CelebMix: You dropped All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell last summer – how was the reaction to that?

Lynn: Good, I think.

Brian: Yeah it was really good!

Lynn: People are singing it at shows so I think that’s a good sign.

CelebMix: How do you think this album differed to your debut?

Brian: I think in terms of creating the album we had so many more resources, so on the first record we were just stuck in a room, in a small room where we recorded and then this past record we got to go to record in a renovated church, in a beautiful studio and add a bunch of amps and a bunch of guitar and all that stuff.

Lynn: We just had a bigger workspace and a lot more tools to mess around with which was fun. The space being much bigger can definitely translate into the music too. And then I think just emotionally and mentally we’ve grown up over the years. Just natural growth.

CelebMix: Is evolving your sound something you consciously want to do with your music, or is it more of a natural progression?

Lynn: I think it’s just natural. I think people are constantly evolving, you’re never set in one thing and I think if your art is reflecting what’s going on in your life or any aspect of you I think it’s natural that it will evolve anyway – whether you intend it to or not.

CelebMix: You mentioned before that you had 40 to 45 songs in demo form. How do you decide what makes the cut?

Lynn: It was the same process of the first record, it had maybe a little less tracks, but it’s really just going through everyday and being like ‘Do you want to work on this one? Or this one, or this one?’ and you can just tell which ones you resonate with at the time, and which ones you don’t.

You just really have to follow your gut with it.

CelebMix: Were there any that you discarded and came back to? Or were you quite ruthless, once it’s gone it’s gone?

Lynn: There’s one or two I wish had made it onto a B-side or something but for the most part we’re pretty happy with what we decided.

I feel like we’ve outgrown some of them, but maybe we’ll go back to them someday.

CelebMix: You guys played the main stage at Reading and Leeds Festival last summer – how was that for you?

Brian: It was an experience, because we played The Pit stage two years prior to that, and it was like just crazy seeing people there. It was cool to have that opportunity to play the main stage is a big thing, so it was cool.

Lynn: I was going through some shit so it was a very scary thing to be doing, but it’s all good. It was still really cool that we got to do that. It was a learning experience.

CelebMix: As you’ve done it yourselves quite recently, do you have any advice for bands trying to break into the industry today?

Lynn: Patience. As ironic as that sounds because things did happen very quickly for us, but patience. And anytime something doesn’t work out there’s a reason for it and something else is coming through. Embrace the things that go wrong.

Brian: If people are talking down to you and telling you that you can’t do it, just keep going.

Lynn: Underdogs always win.

Did you catch PVRIS at Slam Dunk this year? Let us know @CelebMix!

Written by Faith Ridler

Faith Ridler is a UK based student, music journalist, and twenty one pilots aficionado. Follow her on Twitter @FaithLRidler!