“We’re happy to exist in the future.”
On paper, Halifax/Montreal-based duo Purity Ring—comprised of drummer/producer Corin Roddick and vocalist Megan James—have turned heads adhering to the much-practiced Tao of the Hyped Band: first, have prior music experience in your respected scene (both touring members of then-incarnation of Canadian experimental-pop outfit Born Gold), then, drop a mysterious, chirpy song online (“Ungirthed,” on their Tumblr page), and finally, release a debut LP soon after on a major indie label (Shrines, on 4AD/Last Gang, this past July).
But Purity Ring’s X-factor is very much their music: a delicate balance of glossy, chilled synth-pop, complete with a subdued anxiety and nightmarish leanings (read the lyrics). Coupled with a dreamy live show,
few other artists concisely represent the emotional age of electronic music better than these two right now.
We recently got a chance to chat with Roddick, en route on Purity Ring’s North American tour with Young Magic, to discuss what exactly goes into (and comes out of) this promising new project.
There are certainly a lot of genres your music fits into, with even more labels people seem to be inventing to fit your sound. Do you ever want to be labeled as just say, Purity Ring, instead of being confined to “future pop”?
CR: We’re not really too concerned about having our music labeled. People seem to worry a little too much about genres. It seems like every time a new sound happens, everyone immediately tries to claim what genre it is and they won’t just let it be new music. We don’t so much mind the term “future pop” ‘cause it doesn’t really mean anything—it just implies pop music from the future. We’re happy to exist in the future.
The two of you have a background in instrumental training, but you’re by and large an electronic outfit. Why do you prefer with electronic music over traditional instruments? What do you feel you can do with the former and not the latter?
Electronic music really has endless possibilities of creation.
At times, I enjoy the sound of a guitar, but no matter what you play, it is always going to sound like a guitar. With the use of a synth, it’s truly possible to create sounds that no one has heard before. We both still enjoy playing traditional instruments from time to time, but electronic instruments give us the means to make the sounds in our heads.
What do each of you consider to be the most important part of your live show? Do any major changes come to mind compared to a year ago?
Over the past year, we’ve become much more comfortable with being on stage. To us, the most important aspect is creating a performance and connecting with the audience, as well as making the show a unique experience compared to listening to the album. Being electronic artists, it has always been important to make the performance interactive through the use of light and visuals.
What are you guys listening to these days?
These days, I’m most inspired by contemporary pop, hip-hop, and R&B. Not everything on the radio is worth getting excited about, but there are definitely a lot of amazing things happening in mainstream music currently.
Many of the best producers and songwriters in the world are working in mainstream music and the things that they are creating are very exceptional and forward-thinking.
Is there something you want fans and others to know about the band, something that hasn’t necessarily been brought up?
Nah—we’ve got nothing to hide.