A year after stepping out as PVRIS’ main creative force for the release of their third album, Use Me, Lynn Gunn is showing no signs of slowing down. To tide fans over until the next era of PVRIS properly begins, the band released two new singles, “Monster” and “My Way.” Leaning further into the electropop side of their sound while employing the swaggering influence of dubstep, these singles marked a bold step in the band’s sonic evolution.

Later in the year, Gunn teamed up with League Of Legends to create the soundtrack for 2021’s world championship tournament in the form of the synthy, soaring one-off single “Burn It All Down.” With what looks to be a jam-packed 2022, Gunn considers what the past year has taught her.

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How were you feeling about going into 2021 off the back of Use Me and a year without much touring at all?

To be honest, I just felt happy to be healthy and for my family and friends to have stayed healthy during the pandemic. I am also so grateful that we were able to perform our livestreams and eventually make our way back on the road towards the end of the year.

Did the year turn out as you expected? If not, how did it subvert or supersede your expectations? 

I didn’t really know what to expect, to be honest. I’m not sure if anyone had any expectations. I was definitely open and accepting of whatever the future was to unveil. That being said, I truly didn’t think we’d do a full U.S. tour or get new music out, but we managed to successfully and safely execute that, so I am very grateful for that. 

2021’s been something of an “in-between” year for you in terms of your musical output. You’ve not had an album out, but you’ve not been completely quiet, having released a few new singles. Do you prefer working this way, letting fans hear bits of new music every so often rather than dropping a load of new songs and then waiting a while before you release anything else?

I definitely love the freedom of both of these options. While I love the outward space and quiet time that occurs between albums — I say “outward” because it always seems quiet from a fan perspective, but it’s very much the opposite on the artist’s end usually — I think there are also many moments in between that can be equally interesting, important [and] useful.

The in-between can be useful to gradually elude, introduce and transition in ways. As an artist that wants to continually evolve and experiment, sharing one-offs or singles in the moment definitely provides that freedom to do so. 

Has it given you more space to chill and breathe, or has your year still been similarly busy to years where you’ve released an album?

In some ways, yes. In others, no. It’s been quite a dance between the two, always. I’ve definitely remained working but also had much more time off the road, obviously. I think I will forever be haunted by a pressure to remain in motion, productive and work, no matter how much I strive to try to take time to breathe. [I] know time away is vital with anything, especially being a creative, but I’m constantly faced by how scary it feels to stop and do that out of fear that the world will move on or forget. I blame capitalism.

What have been your other personal and professional highlights of 2021?

As well as releasing “Monster” and “My Way,” collaborating with League Of Legends and Arcane, managing to put together and play the livestreams and completing a U.S. tour safely and successfully. Personally, it’s just been a highlight to know my friends and family have been staying safe and healthy in spite of COVID. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to see them a lot more since the vaccine. I’ve driven across the country and back three times. I feel like I’ve managed to improve my well-being, too.  I’ve had the time to improve my health, rest my body more and be in nature more frequently. 

Do you feel like there have been any disappointments or mistakes?

Of course. Collectively, I think we can all agree that the state of the world has been a grand can of perpetual disappointment. Personally, I think that those are always happening and will always happen, with anything and anyone. It’s just a matter of how I wish to deal with them or process them. Everything is a lesson and a way of steering me to where I need to be and who I need to be, what I need to focus on or grow from. That being said, healing and integrating those lessons take time.

In what ways do you feel like you have changed or grown over the course of the year?

I’ve felt more able to set boundaries, not settling [and] trying to be a better communicator with my friends, family and work. I’ve also noticed areas where I need to open up more and be more vulnerable. I’m working on that a lot.

How have you found adjusting back into the touring lifestyle after a while at home?

It was pretty easy, to be honest. In some ways, it felt like no time had passed, as far as performing is concerned. My voice feels like it has fully recovered, which was a big change and a pleasant new adjustment. I think the main thing I had a hard time with was remembering how to pack show clothing versus relaxed quarantine attire.

 What do you want to leave behind in 2021 and take forward into 2022?

Personally, seizing the day, planning more adventures [and] being out in nature more frequently. Professionally, more ventures and new heights, hopefully.

It feels like the singles you’ve dropped so far are leading up to something bigger. What can we expect from you going into 2022?

I can 100% confirm new music is in progress. I cannot say anything about the timeline yet. But there’ll hopefully be more creative endeavors, more peace of mind, more inspiration, some more road tripping, more touring!

This interview appeared in issue 401 (the AP Yearbook), available here.