Early this year I was in need of hearing a new sound. I had always thought my playlist was sort of tedious. It’s not like the music was dull, obviously, or it was no longer compelling to me in particular, which certainly meant I have to give other musicians, of any genre, whom I had never discovered before a close listen.
At that time, I had heard about PVRIS, a band from Massachusetts through my Twitter feed on which members of my favourite bands, including Hayley Williams, Blake Harnage, Sierra Kay, Tay Jardine, also actress Chloë G. Moretz, had tweeted about them. It was pretty much a roar; a positive uproar. I can tell I didn’t find it particularly through the mainstream media just yet.
For some reason, that “small-town” hype got me wondered whether the band was that mesmerizing as a newcomer band. It wasn’t until a month later in mid-February, during a random clicking on YouTube, that I got to watch their official video of “My House”, a single from their debut album, “White Noise”. I didn’t care if it might be late for me to discover PVRIS, but I was instantly hooked! Original music, honest lyrics, almost-trippy videos.
As a female-fronted band, like many others, PVRIS often gest compared to another female-fronted American rock band Paramore. Some claim “they’re a Paramore wanna be” or “they sound just like Paramore”. While it’s true that a Paramore gig inspired PVRIS frontwoman Lynn Gunn when she was in 7th grade to form the band, people really need to stop comparing every female-fronted band to Paramore and every female vocalist to Hayley Williams. It just goes to show your lack of musical savvy. In fact, both bands are powerful and outstanding beyond their own incredible music, with a very talented and empowering frontwoman who stand out in what is still a mostly male-dominated scene.
PVRIS is a trio consisting of lead guitarist Alex Babinski, bassist Brian MacDonald, and vocalist Lynn Gunn. Lynn also plays rhythm guitar while jiggling on stage, hitting high notes, and soothing fans with her ultra creamy voice. Besides a musical ace, the long-haired with shaved stripes girl is also a creator of some rad drawings. Just as she describes herself: “art maker for the eyes & ears”. She makes it into my “people who are cooler than me” list. But obviously there’s more to it.
Lynn is a 21-year-old feminist who’s openly gay. She has been together with her girlfriend, Alexa San Román of Love, Robot, for about three years. She boldly shares her other-than-straight sexual orientation: posting photos of her and Alexa with captions like “here’s some gay for your day”, tweeting something worth your “aww”-ing about her, writing “Eyelids” for her and with a recording of her voicemail at the end of it. Incidentally, the track “Holy” is her mind calling out a religious person who objected to her being a homosexual.
Having been reluctant to discuss her sexuality before, Lynn is now convinced that sharing it publicly is something she needed to do. She’s fully aware that many people today, including those her age, are still being taught to be ashamed of their true selves for others’ comfort, and are struggling to accept themselves. Lynn wanted to change something for someone whom she thought would need it.
As a teenager, she had no one who’s gay to look up to. She didn’t want to do it because she “wanted to be a role model”, but because she was happy to help and empower other person, which is an extremely important thing for her. Hence, when someone mistook it as “shaving her sexuality in people’s face”, Lynn made it clear – where she shouldn’t have – that it’s all about being open about it, whatever your sexuality is.
At the same time, Lynn refuses to be acknowledged simply for her courage to stand up for gay rights. Music is of the highest priority to her, and she realized this is the reason where she is now; if it could be a platform to speak out on behalf of the voiceless, then it’d be amazing for her:
“But I don’t want that to be our defining factor over the music – the music and the art of it come first and foremost before anything. But if I can be there for someone or help someone come to terms with being themselves, that’s something that’s very important and I’ll always stand behind it.”
The US Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage on June 26 was especially a breakthrough to many, undoubtedly to Lynn. She praised the legal right on stage, holding the rainbow flag with her band mates and giving a powerful speech before CVLT, fans of PVRIS.
PVRIS are currently in Australia supporting Circa Survive on tour after headlining the biggest US and UK music festivals, such as Vans Warped Tour and Reading and Leeds Festival. With such an early start, PVRIS are quite a phenomenon: winning the APMA for Breakout Band and the Kerrang! Award for Best International Newcomer.
They’re totally busy ruling the world of rock. Their expanding wings will continue to beat, flying them to even farther places. Such a bright future is waiting to be picked. Hopefully, this would get Lynn to keep on roaring for what she stands for, along with the music of PVRIS, empowering people to respect themselves and others for who they are.
Dini Febriani is a newly-graduated girl who is currently starting her new path and super pumped about it. A natural born rebel, according to her horoscope. Find her mussitating at @finidebriani.