Heading to London’s Lovebox? Or Germany’s Melt!? Well, do us a favour and make sure not to miss the Canadian duo you probably won’t have heard of but you definitely should have, Purity Ring. In the last month they’ve killed it at Bonnaroo festival, wowed viewers with a Boiler Room session and kept New York’s sodden festival-goers smiling at the Downtown festival. If that wasn’t all, they’ve just nominated for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize, the not-for-profit organization that rewards creativity in the music biz. Behind the buzz and the hype are Toronto-born and bred Megan James and Corin Roddick. The sound itself is dark and mysterious but kept the right side of pop with Megan’s haunting yet catchy vocals. There’s a little auto-tune, some home-made instruments and a whole lot of head swaying to be done. We spoke to the good looking twosome about making their own clothes and their best gig.
How did Purity Ring come to be?
We are teenagehood friends. We met mutually through playing music in our true hometown city of Edmonton. Corin was a member of a band that is now called Born Gold and began producing his own compositions during a 5 month long tour of the states with them. We lived in different cities at the time and still do, so our band is and always was a long distance endeavour. Aside from recording and touring.
Tell us about your unique instrument- choice can you tell us a little bit about this?
We started out with a strong initiative to make our live show something intriguing, as we couldn’t very well play the way we wrote, separately. We began with building a midi instrument of sorts that Corin could hit with drumsticks, his previous instrumental vocation. We set up a backdrop stand and a standalone drum that Megan would hit for emphasis in a few select songs. Corin has now developed the midi instrument into an array of crystal lamps that light up and sound when he hits them, the drum still stands, and we play beneath a sea of these hanging lights that react with different behaviours throughout the set, bringing a mood about that feels interactive with an audience. All of it is about letting people in and making our set seem like a welcome sphere of quizzical and familiar imagery.
Megan, can you tell us about the clothes you make for the band?
My previous vocation was among other things; sewing. I’ve been making clothing for a long time so naturally I would continue to do so. At one point I nearly succeeded in having my entire wardrobe homemade. It takes way too much time to keep that up but I happily continue to sew and wear and in the future hopefully share with more than just Corin and close friends. I mostly make fairly casual clothes for others, and a lot of dresses for me. As our live show progresses I’ll have a lot more to say about the way my clothing will also be a part of our visual atmosphere in a show, for now it’s just a comfort.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
That’s an extremely difficult question to answer, there are more than 100 amazing shows to choose from, but I must say, whenever it is asked one of the many memories that race through my head is Madame JoJo’s in London. It was our first show in the city and it filled out and felt like a wonder of experience for everyone who came. After I learned a bit about the history of the venue, and there was glitter everywhere from the night before I thought ‘oh this will place is a little bit magic,’ It came through as such. A lot of the time shows become a blur after touring for so long, but that one sticks out.
Download a track from Purity Ring here. Purity Ring will be playing at Lovebox music festival alongside Azelia Banks, Goldfrapp and D’Angelo. Get your last minute tickets here and keep up to date, here.