PVRIS’s Lyndsey Gunnulfsen marks her anticipated return and continues her trailblazing streak with the release of brand new singles, Anywhere But Here and Animal.
Since 2014 the producer, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has built a career full of acclaim and success, thanks to her genre-defying sound which has traversed elements of alt-rock, pop, electro, and more. Since the release of PVRIS’s previous record Use Me, Gunnulfsen has been able to take full creative control of the project’s sound and visuals, as previously she was faced with a lot of internal “resistance”. Thankfully, she’s now fully realising her potential with this newfound artistic freedom. As a result of this, the songwriter has penned two of her most exciting tracks yet, Anywhere But Here and Animal.
1883 Magazine caught up with the multifaceted artist to discuss the new tracks, signing to Hopeless Records, the forthcoming 2023 UK tour, and more.
Let’s chat about your musical journey so far, you were 19 when you wrote your debut album, White Noise. Now, at 28-years-old, how do you feel your latest tracks Animal and Anywhere But Here represent your growth and where you currently are as an artist?
I think first and foremost the fact they’re being released together is a really big step forward and a really big statement on my part, I hope that translates outward. It’s really meant to showcase the range and variety that PVRIS’s music has now, instead of just being limited to one type of scene or one kind of space. A lot of the time it gets pinned as one thing when there’s really a whole spectrum within our discography. The intentions with these songs were to showcase that, it’s something I’ve always been expressing and really wanting to share with listeners but we’ve never had the route to do that. I think this time around we finally have that control.
Your last album, Use Me, saw you take the reigns as the sole creative force for PVRIS’s sound and visuals. Gimme a minute and Dead Weight from the album are two key examples which signify this. So with this in mind, how liberating did writing these two new songs feel?
Definitely. I think the last time around there were a lot of setbacks and cancellations, especially behind the scenes there was a lot of resistance at all ends. Circumstances, worldwide just with the state of the world but also internally. It definitely feels like we’re stepping out of that and coming out stronger.
Could you tell us about why you chose to write about the theme of escapism on the tracks?
The tracks are more so about personal control than a career. Anywhere But Here is about how a lot of people are having to take the time to process this loss of safety and security that the pandemic created, we’re all still feeling that. The reality of everything being fleeting, to me that’s really scary, it eliminates these places where I would daydream or typically go to seek comfort. It’s that feeling of wanting somewhere to go to feel safe and realising you no longer know where that is. ‘Animal’ is about the amount of time everyone was spending on their phones during the pandemic and how much our identities can get really skewed or limited to what others want to pick up and project onto us based on our online persona. That also happens in personal relationships, so this was about challenging the identity that others place on you, whether that’s someone in the spotlight or a family member, it’s about breaking free from that. Pushing the other person to free their mind in realising things can change.
I love the line in Animal: “Two-sided like a Gemini, somebody you don’t recognise. Don’t tell me that you know me” – You’re a Pisces do you relate to the personality traits of your sign at all?
Definitely, I’m Pisces and a Gemini rising.
Wow, I’m a Gemini.
I think Gemini’s get a bad reputation. I think sometimes Gemini can be really innocent and very serious at work but when you get home you’re really goofy. I have a few really awesome Gemini in my life.
Apparently, Pisces are meant to be the most sympathetic according to the personality traits of it all.
Somebody did my Birth chart just based on the big three. They told me “Your Taurus moon saves you from your Pisces. Your Gemini is really great for artistic exploration and your Pisces is really great for feeling that and digging in yourself to express. The Taurus comes back to keep you stable.” Always on the edge and not off of it (Laughs).
From one woman to another I find your openness about health, sexuality, and the music business, very inspirational. Why do you think it’s important to be transparent and open about these topics in your music?
I don’t really like the term role model as I’d rather be taken with a pinch of salt than a beacon of anything, but I do think it’s incredibly important to be transparent and let people know you’re a human being. For me whenever somebody else is really vulnerable and if they share anything in that vein it really grows my respect for them, it really makes me feel less alone.It helps to really see myself in them and vice-versa. Hopefully, by sharing my story anybody reading or connecting to it can feel like they’re not totally alone.
You had to postpone your UK & EU tour till January 2023 due to some unforeseen obstacles. How does it feel that the tour is fast approaching and what’s one thing you are most looking forward to about the shows?
I’m excited that it’s coming up. I think that with these new songs coming out too it will really put some more energy behind those shows making them feel like the bigger moment. Those shows were postponed for so long, they were meant to be for another album so we’re kind of rebranding it to this dual release that’s happening right now. I’m very excited and personally love being in the UK. I love being in Europe. I love the architecture, I just love how old everything is and I think everyone is a lot funnier.
What’s one thing you couldn’t live without on tour?
My laptop. I could go without anything else but my laptop is essential for making music or writing – pretty much everything.
Your last single was in collaboration with Bad Suns earlier this year. You’re not shy of collaborations having previously worked with Amy Allen and producer JT Daly. How do these collaborative projects positively impact your overall songwriting skills?
I try to collaborate as much as I can even if it’s non-PVRIS related, I live in LA and there are so many talented songwriters and producers it would be a disservice to my artistic brain to not study that and be able to learn new tricks and tools from people, even to witness how other people work adds more tools to my tool belt. It’s been a long journey of trial and error, but a great time for self-discovery. Even if nothing comes from a collaboration there’s always one thing I can take home from it.
Have you learnt anything in these collaborative efforts that you’ve then taken onto your PVRIS songwriting sessions?
Mainly Working with JT Daly, he is really nurturing to you as an artist. He kind of feels like a wizard underneath your wings as you’re trying to fly. He is really great at knowing when to make you feel safe and heard but also when to push and challenge you. One of the biggest things I’ve learnt from him is when you feel like you have a verse or chorus idea, he is always willing to challenge it and make something better, forcing you to not be so precious about your ideas that’s something that’s really hard for a lot of artists including myself. It’s so important to challenge everything you do even if you love what you’ve made. When you start to challenge things you can take the chains of your creation and turn it into something better or confirm you’re doing right.
Having delayed the album and given yourself and the band the time to create more earnestly, How do you feel it has strengthened the new music you’re set to release?
This was the first time I got to really sit with an album and take the time to understand what I want to say, or what I want it to look like. It’s just how I want it produced, it sounds the way I wanted. It’s been a really nice period to catch up on thinking and processing the last 10 years. I’m really grateful to of taken that time and had that space to explore more whilst getting back on my feet. I’ve relearnt who I am and rediscovered parts of my creative self whilst also developing new ones.
Can you tell us a bit about the decision to join Hopeless Records as your new home?
There was a period last winter when I was feeling lost and really did not know if or how I wanted to proceed with music, I was calling people and getting everyone’s two cents. The guy we ended up signing with at Hopeless Records was really supportive and opened my eyes to better opportunities. This gave me a better picture of what it was I wanted to do and I began to feel seen and understood. This was before there was any talk of signing with them. Since then we carried on talking until we had the conversation of signing with them – they’ve been so supportive. It’s been a really great experience. Everything I’ve wanted to try as an artist they’ve always gone above and beyond to make it happen. I’m so grateful, it’s a really different experience compared to the last album.
That’s so lovely to hear and obviously, we’re so glad you didn’t ever stop!
I never wanted to give up. I just had to take a second to understand how to progress forward to really showcase the range that PVRIS’s music has, I needed to not be limited and be able to communicate that. It was do or die for me. Showcasing everything was that important to me, expressing everything.
Even in these next two songs, you can definitely hear the range in each song. Can you tell us about the music video shoots, how long do they take and what other visuals inspire them?
Both the ideas as I was working on the songs in the studio, Anywhere But Here came first. When I work with JT Daly we print out images that inspire us and we look and them whilst we’re working. At the time I had a lot of images of open green fields, and water, really beautiful nature scenes. There was definitely a colour palette that mixed with this sad-dreamy type of feeling which stemmed into the video concept. Animal then built the theme between the two. They sit beside each other If you watch them in order you start to find little connections – it’s like a little easter egg hunt pointing towards future stuff that will be coming as well.
What’s one thing you wish you’d known when you were 19?
I really wish my career had started later. If I had known myself better and felt more confident in what I was making that would have been nicer. I would tell myself to take my time and tell myself that everything is happening how it’s meant to. Don’t stress about where you are or where your career is yet explore it and don’t be feeling guilty for wanting to explore.
I think that’s a message that will resonate with a lot of people right now.
There’s such an emphasis on youth especially in entertainment and music, for me personally I listen to a lot of older artists now. Artists are in their 30’s / 40’s I think taking the pressure of age and putting more value on older artists is very important. I think I’d also tell my 19-year-old-self things are going to be ok when you’re a little older, you don’t have to do everything at 19 or in your early 20s.
What’s one thing you’d like your fans to take away from your new releases?
I hope they feel seen and heard and whatever weird feelings I’ve had the hardest time describing I would never wish those feelings onto anybody but if they are experiencing those – to know their not alone in that. I would love for them to take away that PVRIS is many things both sides of PVRIS are very important and we will do both sides justice moving forward.
Finally, what can fans expect from this new era?
A lot more colour, more humour, and more fun.
Anywhere But Here and Animal are out now. Follow PRVIS @thisispvris
Interview by Moe Noble