If you were to think of the biggest breakthrough band of the last five years, PVRIS would likely be the name that comes to mind. Forming as Paris in 2012, then changing their name to PVRIS the year later under legal pressure, the Massachusetts trio seemed to break into the scene out of nowhere with their critically acclaimed, worldwide smash debut White Noise. The album catapulted them into the spotlight, and since then, PVRIS has been the name on everybody’s lips. Now, they’re back with their second album All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell, ready to prove that their success wasn’t just a lucky break.
“You have to enjoy it, not be scared of it; that’s the main point, having fun recording with your best friends”
‘It’s been three years since we did White Noise, so we were really nervous and excited to get this out,’ explains bassist Brian MacDonald. ‘We’ve been writing on the road non-stop since White Noise so we were really stoked to finally get into the studio to put it all together.’
There was certainly no small amount of pressure on the band to deliver with their second album, but PVRIS did their best to shut out that pressure and just make the album they wanted to make. ‘I tried not to let it cross my mind much,’ MacDonald admits. ‘We wanted to make an album that we like and that we’re happy with, otherwise we’d have just been walking backwards really. If you zone in on thinking “everyone liked the last one, so we’re going to make sure we make one that they really like this time” it can cloud the vision of what you want to create. You have to enjoy it, not be scared of it; that’s the main point, having fun recording with your best friends.’
It’s ironically this kind of aversion from sticking to the norms and making something that everyone is going to like formulaically that has made PVRIS so popular to begin with. Their music doesn’t fit neatly into rock, or pop, or any strict genre, and this experimentation with sound is no more evident than in AWKOHAWNOH.
‘With the first record, we were recording in a small spare bedroom, and our producer had us in his house in Florida, we had to make do with what we have. With the second record, we recorded in this big church in New York, with this abundance of amps and other tech. We were like kids in a candy store with it. It was amazing, we were able to try out new things and go crazy with it. I think you can hear that change in everything on the album, lyrically, musically, it felt like a huge natural progression.’
“lyrically, musically, it felt like a huge natural progression”
At the heart of it all, PVRIS works as well as it does because of the closeness of its members, and their shared responsibilities in the writing process. ‘Lyndsey (Lynn Gunn, vocalist and rhythm guitarist) is the main writer, but I’d describe what we do as laying the foundation, and then me and Alex (Babinski, lead guitarist) come in and we decorate the house so to speak and add our touches to it, make our input. Lynn is such a genius, and a great person to work with, and is always open to changing up the writing process for different things.’
Sometimes that can make things chaotic, but that’s when PVRIS seem to thrive as writers. ‘It’s kind of all over the place because the writing for every song is different, but we like it like that, because it stops you from having a set way of song writing. It just happens the way it happens which is really cool.’
From the way Brian speaks of being in the band, it all comes across as a very organic process, even down to the marketing side of things. ‘It’s all organic, even with the singles. We knew that we had to release ‘Heaven’ as a single, but other than that we just picked the songs we wanted when we needed a single and put those ones out. There wasn’t much thought behind it, it just happened, and people seemed to respond well to that.’
With the new album out, PVRIS are incredibly eager to show off the new material to their overseas fans on their upcoming UK tour this month. ‘We’re so excited to play all of the new songs. We love the UK, it’s one of our favourite places to play, and we’ve got some new shows in store that we’re stoked for and can’t wait for people to see.’
All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell is out now via Rise Records.
WORDS: JOSHUA SOUTHERN