Purity Ring formed in 2010 although it wasn’t until they released their first album, Shrines, that they made their mark on the music world. Within months of the album’s release they had become indie rock royalty, with Shrines widely recognized as one of the best albums of 2012.
The Canadian duo, Megan James and Corin Roddick, hail from Alberta, Canada, and previously played together in the group Born Gold. They began to experiment with electronic music with vocal accompaniment developing a dynamic collaborative process. “Our parts are well defined: Corin writes a track and Megan writes the vocal parts and sends back a demo.” Megan, an “avid sewer” also makes most of the clothes the two wear on stage and says she makes herself a new dress before every tour.
Such attention to the theatrics of live performance goes beyond concert costumes. “We’ve made sure we have a lot of visual aspects incorporated into the show. It is all an attempt at creating an atmosphere that is slightly unrecognizable and also familiar and interesting enough to watch for the entirety of the set.” And they don’t mean the usual pyrotechnics, fog machines and pulsing stage lights. “There is a lot more that goes into this than just lights. In order to enjoy the performance ourselves and feel like others would too we have developed instruments that light up when played.”
In addition to their packed touring schedule through Australia, North America and Europe this year, they will be playing at several festivals including Coachella. They plan to continue writing songs for their much-anticipated second album, and will be releasing several new tracks.
Check out the full interview with Purity Ring for The Music Issue 6
Indira Cesarine: How did you get started with music?
Purity Ring: We played together in a band called Born Gold, only as part of the live performances but we knew we’d do something together eventually.
IC: How did the two of you meet?
PR: Mutual friends, playing in multiple bands within Edmonton.
IC: How long have you been performing together?
PR: Two years.
IC: Do you collaborate on songwriting?
PR: Our parts are well defined, Corin writes a track and Megan will write the vocal parts and send back a demo. By the time we get together Corin has already done a lot of modifying to suit the vocal parts. Recording is the most collaborative part. A lot of important details are worked out in that stage but most our writing is done separately.
IC: What do you consider your breakthrough moment, artistically and professionally?
PR: Our first song, Ungirthed.
IC: When did you decide to incorporate lighting into your live performance, and what inspired that decision?
PR: From the first time we played we’ve made sure we have a lot of visual aspects incorporated into the show. It is all an attempt in creating an atmosphere that is slightly unrecognizable and also familiar and interesting enough to watch for the entirety of the set. There is a lot more that goes into this than just lights, but in order to enjoy the performance ourselves and feel like others would too we have developed instruments that light up when played. One simple and one that has become more and more elaborate, also a few other light additions that contribute to the atmosphere of the show. It creates a comfortable environment that we feel represents the music in a bit of a theatrical way.
IC: Is it true that you make all of the clothing you wear when you perform?
PR: A lot of it, Megan is an avid sewer, making Corin a number of clothes and always a new dress, every tour.
IC: Do you have a motto or words of wisdom you live by?
PR: Be where you are.
IC: What is it about music that you love?
PR: Being able to go somewhere else for a while, captivation and emotion.
IC: What are your current projects?
PR: Right now we’re focusing mostly on touring, once we finish up in the summer we’ll get to writing more songs for the next album.
Currently Corin is always writing, for Purity Ring and otherwise. Megan is making clothing and all other things cloth.
IC: Upcoming projects we should look out for in 2013?
PR: Certainly we’ll release a few more tracks throughout the year. Get into some exciting collaborations, and maybe a video or two.
IC: Thank you for being a part of the Music Issue!
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