“We’re like newborn babies with our new show…” hmv.com talks to Purity Ring
It’s been a whirlwind few years since Purity Ring’s Megan James and Corin Roddick dropped their acclaimed 2012 debut, Shrines which topped critic’s lists, was short-listed for the 2013 Polaris Prize (the Canadian equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize) and led to tour dates around the world. And now the synth-pop duo are set to unleash their much-anticipated sophomore release, Another Eternity, on March 3rd.
While their first album impressed with atmospheric soundscapes and thick layers wrapped around James’ gorgeous vocals, their new album is set to move the band in a more pop-tinged direction with crisper vocals and sharper beats. That could be because Shrines was made while the two were in different cities, emailing songs back and forth. For Another Eternity, James and Roddick hunkered down in hometown Edmonton to collaborate face-to-face.
hmv.com caught up with James and Roddick as they prepared for an ambitious world tour...
With the songs on the new album, it seems the vocals are more prominent and the beats are more cleaned up and open. Why did you guys move in that direction?
Megan James: “We had a lot of time off where we didn’t write anything at all, the year-and-a-half we toured with Shrines, so there is a lot of space between writing what we did with Shrines and starting again. We also did it all together instead of in separate cities, or a lot of songs we started together, and it was an entirely new approach and sort of like a new band, and that is one thing that made it easier to sound different. But also, it worked out well because we didn’t want to sound the same at all.”
Corin Roddick: “Well, we still wanted to sound like us, but we didn’t want to make the same album again or anything. Like you said with everything being more open and crisp-sounding, a big part of that is due to us being more confident in our roles in the band, and not wanting to hide behind as much effects and things that obscure the actual sound.”
MJ: “Yeah with Shrines it was like ‘Well that song works, let’s do another one’ and it was like that over and over, and with this record it was like ‘We are going to spend the next year writing this record.’ Everyone was more conscious and more self-aware for this one.”
Have you guys played any shows recently or played any of the new songs yet?
MJ: “No, we haven’t played since our last show with Shrines, so about a year-and-a-half. We really don’t know what it’s going to be like.”
CR: “We’re like newborn babies with our new show. It might take more than the first day but hopefully after the first week everything will be streamlined.”
Awesome! It seems like the live show is as important to you guys as recorded versions of the music.
CR: “The live show to us is really important. I’d say as much thought goes into it as the music itself. People come and hear the music in this other context so it has to be something that is worthwhile for everyone. Just being an electronic act, we feel it’s important that we try and create a kind of experience with the show and have it be something that is a bit more fantastic, fantastical than a regular guitar-drums band that you’d see. But to pull something like that off it requires a lot of coordination.”
Are you guys playing anywhere on this tour that you’ve never been before?
MJ: “I’m making a list of places that I want to go; Corin probably agrees.”
CR: “I don’t want to go anywhere that Megan wants to go (laughs).”
MJ: “We’re not really hitting those places on our first tour. We don’t really know what our shows are going to be like in Europe as we don’t have as much feedback from there as we do in the States and the UK. So we are kind of hitting the places that we have already done before, but we want to go to Russia, and we haven’t played Prague or Italy even. I’d love to play China.” (View Purity Ring’s tour itinerary here)
On the upcoming tour you’re hitting the road with fellow Albertans and friends, Braids and Born Gold (the act that James and Roddick were formerly in). How did that come about?
MJ: “Well, Braids just happens to be putting out a record soon and they need to tour anyways, so they asked if they could hop on ours, and we said ‘Of course.’ And Born Gold, we’ve always wanted to tour with them but for obvious reasons it wasn’t possible, and now it is, so that’ll be sweet. Born Gold is with us in Europe but Braids aren’t coming, and we start in Berlin and end in Bristol or Manchester.”
Purity Ring's new album Another Eternity is released in hmv stores across the UK on Monday (March 2nd).