Lynn Gunn shot from Spin City and now has thousands of fans spin her records. The 2012 Lowell High School graduate and her bandmates are on a months-long headlining tour of North America and Europe in support of their second album, "All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell."
The six-year odyssey has brought an increasing level of popular, commercial and critical acclaim for the band, PVRIS (pronounced "Paris"), which formed in Lowell while Gunn was still a student at LHS. That trajectory reached another milestone. PVRIS has earned a coveted spot at this year's Coachella Music Festival at Indio, California. The sold-out event, April 13-22, features dozens of notable acts, including Beyonce and Eminem.
Her bandmates, Alex Babinski and Brian Macdonald, are also locals, from Southern New Hampshire. The trio released their first album, "White Noise" in 2014 shortly after signing with Rise Records. That release was well received by critics -- one of which rated it 88 out of 100 -- and fans alike as it rose to number 51 on the Billboard Music Chart in September 2014. AWKOHAWNOH peaked at number 10.
Despite the numerous high-production videos, 250,000 adoring fans, and successful tour, 23-year-old Gunn remains grounded to her childhood roots.
"I do miss Lowell," she said. "I just visited there when I had a few days off." She reminisces about her times playing sports near the city's Shedd Park area and her many friends, some of which she maintains close relationships with.
"I hope to get back there some day and maybe play the Tsongas Center. I know that's ambitious but I don't feel we've even had our big break yet," she said.
And, as a songwriter from the Spindle City, it might be logical to assume that she finds some influence and inspiration from the city's most famous poet, Jack Kerouac. Not so.
"I am more into Sylvia Plath," said Gunn, born Lyndsey Gunnulfsen, who is the group's lead singer and plays guitar.
Their sound started out as metal but has transformed itself into alternative rock with an electronic backbeat. Some critics have described Gunn's lyrics as "dark pop-rock." This is a label that she embraces. "There's definitely some pretty dark, rock-driven lyrics and the hybrid sound serves as an umbrella for all our work."
"Don't need a metaphor for you to know I'm miserable," she wrote for "White Noise."
They are former winners of the Warp Tour music competition but have, ironically never played gigs in the robust Lowell club scene. Their success cannot be marked by any one event or performance. Rather, they were proactive marketers of their unique product; sending out samples en masse to industry insiders. The jobs and referrals started coming in. Eventually they were heard by someone from a major record label who forwarded PVRIS's recordings. After signing the contract, the band started working on their first album.
With the support and expectations of Rise Records, several videos were produced and a promotional tour was arranged to augment the release of the album. The videos are also dark, filmed mostly in black and white, with deeply emotionally themes like the ones in Gunn's lyrics and Plath's poetry. The overarching premise is the personal struggle between celebrating differentness while trying to fit in normally.
"I live in Brooklyn now but we are not really 'based anywhere'," she said. "The tour bus is our home base."
Currently the band is in the Midwest as part of the current slate of gigs, in the middle of which is the Coachella event. The closest they will come to the Merrimack Valley area is Portland, Maine on May 4. After that will be another round of shows in England, Belgium, France and Finland, where they hope to increase their profile, entertain loyal fans and garner new ones.
To learn more about PVRIS, check out their Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/PVRISBandMa/