"When I’m stressed or not setting boundaries, things get bad." From keeping control of Pvris to chronic illness and a "very dirty" new record, a conversation with Lyndsey Gunnulfsen

Lyndsey Gunnulfsen of the band Pvris with smeared lipstick on the Louder cover

(Image credit: Tina Korhonen)

Lyndsey Gunnulfsen sits on a stool, kicking her legs and laughing. With her oversized blazer and slicked-back hair, she looks all business. But there’s a playful aura. “It’s been fun and different,” she says about her forthcoming mixtape. “The process has been really fun and really easy and cute.”

"Cute” and “fun” seem like two unlikely words to sum up the next era of Pvris. For the band's next mixtape, F.I.L.T.H., Lyndsey has pulled together a cast of female-identifying collaborators, including Tommy Genesis, Lights and Alice Longyu Gao, with tracks that she describes variously as "heavy, industrial… Trashy sounding… Very dirty pop". 

Lyndsey hasn’t quite finished F.I.L.T.H. yet, and is pulling late nights on tour to get it done. It’s a contrast to the more meticulously-planned Pvris albums of the past, and that process has led to a free-flowing feeling in the studio. 

PVRIS Lynn Gunn interview: FILTH, collabs and queer anthems - YouTube PVRIS Lynn Gunn interview: FILTH, collabs and queer anthems - YouTube
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“Every song I’ve had a section done and then I’ve sent it to the other artist and they’ve put their spin on it,” she says. “The whole feeling that I wanted to have was fun: low pressure, low stakes. I didn’t want to think too hard about it or be too precious. Sometimes you can access things better when you take that pressure off.” 

Pvris teased the upcoming mixtape with two singles, Burn The Witch and Oil And Water. They’re very different: Burn The Witch, featuring Tommy Genesis and Alice Longyu Gao, is an industrial, chaotic anthem. Oil And Water, on the other hand, is a lighter pop track. 

“It’s all over the place theme-wise, but production-wise it does all tie in,” says Lyndsey. As for what we can expect, she says that the other tracks have more in common with Burn The Witch

A portrait of Lynn Gunn with red gloves hooking her mouth with her finger

(Image credit: Tina Korhonen)

“There are some with a heavy, industrial texture, but they’re a little more melodic and with different progressions than Burn The Witch. Burn The Witch is very angry-sounding. Some are kind of fun,” – that word again – "and there are a lot of heavy guitars on it which I didn’t see coming, but I’m really excited about. The drums are really trashy sounding,” she says. 

I tried to tune out for a bit, but the more I was offline the more anxious I got. I was like, 'Oh my god, am I fucking up our career?'

Lyndsey Gunnulfsen

There’s also a lot of feminine messaging, whether that’s about empowerment or sex. She describes one track as “very dirty pop”, a territory Pvris has never ventured into before. By doing sessions outside of Pvris, Lyndsey found a fresh perspective, a space where she could make music without thinking too hard about where it would fit in with her oeuvre. She likens the process to a “punk EP” – not in terms of the sound, but in how it was made and how it taps into her first instincts. 

Lyndsey's approach to playing music started when she was young. She first picked up an instrument as a kid in Massachusetts, playing Hot Cross Buns on a little Casio keyboard, before getting lessons in the saxophone and recorder from her church minister’s husband. 

Her musical journey stayed on the same wholesome path for a while – jazz band, marching band, jamming with her brother and friends – and then she started going to punk and hardcore shows in her teens. She had found her niche. She formed a high school band and those formative experiences led to a metalcore group that would later be known as Pvris. 

They started playing shows and touring when Lyndsey was just 18 years old, and she dropped her plans to go to art school so that she could pursue Pvris full time. “My parents were like, 'OK, figure it out, get a job, if you can fend for yourself, do it,'” she says. 

She soon found a way to fend for herself, even if it took its toll. “We started touring pretty early and it never stopped and it just kept going. We ended up on some really crazy tours and did a lot of support for really incredible artists.”

Exclusive PVRIS Tee!

Lyndsey Gunnulfsen of the band Pvris hold the t shirt she designed exclusively for Louder

(Image credit: Tina Korhonen)

To tie in with Pvris' brand new mixtape F.I.L.T.H and our exclusive, first ever Louder cover interview, we've teamed up with Pvris mastermind Lyndsey Gunnulfsen to offer this exclusive T-shirt, personally designed by Lyndsey herself and featuring the hand-written lyrics to Oil + Water. Get yours via the official Louder store now.

Pvris released their first record, White Noise, in 2014, the band then formed of Lyndsey, Alex Babinski and Brian MacDonald. “A lot happened really quickly and very intensely," she says. "I didn’t feel ready for a lot of it. I was literally 19 or 20 years old." The second Pvris record, All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell, came out in 2017, to critical acclaim. 

Around that time, Lyndsey developed vocal issues that she had to navigate throughout a tour. “It was really difficult, but it was a great learning experience,” she says. “Each album, there’s been a new lesson and they’re all valuable and beneficial and good.” 

What's the one lesson she's learned over the years? “To chill the fuck out.”

But finding ways to chill the fuck out isn't always easy. 

In 2020, Lyndsey announced that she was the solo creative force behind Pvris and had been for a long time. While her former bandmates would join her on tour, she would be playing and tracking every single instrument herself going forward. Electropop album Use Me, in mid-2020, was her first solo venture. Its follow-up, Evergreen, was released in 2023, an evolved, clean record that balances between hope and despair, lyrically. 

Lyndsey Gunnulfsen of the band Pvris poses for a portrait in red gloves with two other gloved hands grabbing her back

(Image credit: Tina Korhonen)

In the process of making it, Lyndsey tried to reassess her relationship with social media. 

“I tried to tune out for a bit," she says. But instead: "The more I was offline the more anxious I got.” 

In an industry that prioritises streams and clicks over real engagement, she panicked. “I was like, 'Oh my god, am I fucking up our career? What’s going on?' That constant stress of not existing online was a really crazy, heady thing to wrap my head around,” she says. 

A lot happened really quickly and very intensely. I didn’t feel ready for a lot of it. It was really difficult, but it was a great learning experience

Lyndsey Gunnulfsen

The answer was finding a middle ground and think more deeply about why she was posting. “Even when I was taking a picture of something or trying to remember something or going out and doing something, I really tried to think about my intention,” she says now. “It’s crazy to wrap your head around the way that your wiring and instincts are almost designed for social media.”

It’s clearly a topic that affects Lyndsey a lot. She’s been a working musician for her entire adult life, and promoting her work is essential to keep a roof over her head. 

“Every artist that I’m friends with, when we catch up and see how we’re doing, the biggest thing is that management and the label are on our asses about TikTok. I understand that it’s the reality we are in, but I feel like it’s really distracting from actually making shit. It doesn’t always translate to real-life sales.” 

While she worries that stepping back will impact her career, by removing herself from the online world, she can reconnect with music and her hobbies. “I do a lot of linocut stuff," she says, laughing. "I’m really bad at it and they come out really shitty.” 

Lyndsey Gunnulfsen of the band Pvris poses for a portrait in red gloves

(Image credit: Tina Korhonen)

Underpinning Lyndsey’s chaotic, decade-long career in Pvris has been her chronic illness. Lyndsey has Crohn’s disease, which can often impact her ability to tour and take care of herself on the road.

“It’s a tough reality out there. You can’t [shit] on a bus, most of the time you can’t get into the venue until a certain time so you’re waiting, or you have to find a public restroom somewhere. Not everybody will let you use it,” she says. 

Given the opportunity to be honest about her illness and her relationship to her body, Lyndsey lights up. She’s generous with sharing the gritty details, giving fans a chance to see their own experiences reflected. “My stuff gets worse if I’m stressed or not resting,” she says. “Typically when I’m stressed or overworked or not setting boundaries with timing, things get bad.”

It’s crazy to wrap your head around the way that your wiring and instincts are almost designed for social media.

Lyndsey Gunnulfsen

The band’s sound and creative output has evolved over the years, but Lyndsey’s vision has stayed consistent. The main goal is “finding new ways to contextualise rock instruments,” mixing and matching rock with electronic sound. She's lost some fans along the way and gained some others. That process is natural, says Lyndsey, but she still cares if people like the music. 

“I think that comes down to wanting to feel seen and understood. I try to tune it out,” she says. “You have to hope that whoever is meant to resonate with it will. Whoever doesn’t that’s OK too.” Now, she feels like she’s found her people. As a gay musician with a predominantly LGBTQ+ fanbase, Pvris shows often feel like a safe space for her fans, no matter what the music sounds like: “It feels like a really cool community.”

Lyndsey Gunnulfsen of the band Pvris poses for a portrait in red gloves with two other gloved hands holding her face

(Image credit: Tina Korhonen)

Next, she says, she wants to play the trumpet. Maybe the flute. The harp, too… It's a sense of play – of fun – that's alive and well in Lyndsey. “I have worked with so many amazing writers and producers and I have so many people to learn from and establish a toolkit. There’s a lot of really good lessons and friends made from that,” she says. 

“It’s beautiful. Music is really cool. You can’t be afraid to make a bad song or have a bad session with somebody. Sometimes you’ll go in and you’ll be like, not feeling it, you want to go get ice cream? Then you have a new buddy for ice cream.”

She says that, while she always had that sense of play, “there are expectations and pressure from coming up in a certain scene that sounds a certain way and expects you to produce, write and deliver everything in a certain way.” 

While she felt pressure, she says, “deep down I just wanted to play in the sandbox and have fun.” 

To have fun, she says, she needs to tune out those judgmental voices in the scene. She wants to make more music, potentially developing this mixtape into an ongoing series with different volumes. She’s found a rhythm working with other women, and would like to work with a revolving door of different artists: “I’d love to bring in whoever wants to play in the sandbox. 

"We’re going to make so many cool sandcastles.”

Pvris' latest single The Blob is out now. Their new mixtape F.I.L.T.H arrives this summer via Hopeless Records. Head to the Louder store to pick up an exclusive Oil And Water T-shirt designed by Lyndsey Gunnulfsen

Pvris t-shirt

(Image credit: Future)
Marianne Eloise

Marianne Eloise is a contributing writer to Louder where she has interviewed everyone from Pete Wentz to Taylor Momsen. With over a decade of experience in both online and print journalism, she writes about music, disability and culture for The Cut, the Guardian, the New York Times and more. She is also the author of the essay collection Obsessive, Intrusive Magical Thinking and creator of the Emo Diary fanzine series.