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Interview: Purity Ring on their songwriting, production, and 'another eternity'.

Interview: Purity Ring on their songwriting, production, and 'another eternity'.

Since bursting onto the scene with their debut single, 'Ungirthed', Purity Ring captured the attention of both critics and fans alike, with a distinct electronic sound courtesy of Corin Roddick, combined with Megan James' signature haunting vocals - creating a sound like no other.

Originally a back-and-forth product between the two via the internet on their first album 'Shrines', their second body of work, 'another eternity', was an entirely different production process, with the two working together to create the cohesive body of work.

While in New Zealand to play Laneway Festival 2016, we caught up with the duo about their songwriting, production, and pop music…

"...the way a body fits in with the world, and therefore the mind, is a theme in my writing in general."

COUP DE MAIN: You named your latest album after lyrics from 'begin again'. What was it about 'another eternity' that stuck with you?
PURITY RING - MEGAN JAMES: It's kind of serious - it's a way that I think about a lot of generalities I guess, or the way I think about how the universe exists.

CDM: You've said that 'Shrines' was your first attempt at producing. What's the most important thing you've learnt about production since that point?
PURITY RING - CORIN RODDICK: I think I've learnt a lot more of how to structure a song based around the most important elements of it, and put focus on those things, instead of just layering tons of stuff on top of each other.

CDM: How do you know when a song is complete? Is there a certain feeling that you get?
MEGAN: Definitely.
CORIN: You definitely know when it's finished. There's nothing really that signifies that. Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks, or a year to finish something, but when it's done, we always know. It's kind of immediate.


CDM: You've worked a lot with Tallulah Fontaine, who does all your visuals. How important do you think the relationship is between your music and its visual accompaniment?
MEGAN: It's been really important. Definitely the reason we've used Tallulah was because we were both really close to her, and she understood what the ideas were behind the songs and visuals that we wanted. So, it was just really easy to - she was fast, she knew what we were going for, and she was going for the same thing, so it worked out really well. It was just an ideal collaboration really.

CDM: 'another eternity' has been described as a brighter, more open sound. When you're making an entire album, do you think about how the entire record will sound, or do you take it one song at a time?
MEGAN: Oh, one song at a time. I don't know if that's really possible to think about the entire album - maybe as a conception, like singular things, like themes. But even that comes at the end I think.
CORIN: I think the general sound of the album just presents itself naturally from the headspace that you're in when you write a bunch of songs in a row. Even though we think of each song as being quite different, because we just write them in the same era, they're always gonna fit together in a certain way.

CDM: Megan, you were recently reading New Zealand author Janet Frame's book 'Faces In The Water', which I've heard is amazing--
MEGAN: It is amazing!

CDM: Which is about her life in and out of mental institutions. Do you think there's something fascinating about other people's lives in terms of considering writing about other people's lives?
MEGAN: I think that mental health is really fascinating, and that book is the perfect example of how it is fascinating. Just 'cuz she's SO cognitive about all of her experiences, but it's like she's writing in the past. I just think... I don't know, I think that'll more influence my writing in the future than it has in the past I guess, but the way a body fits in with the world, and therefore the mind, is a theme in my writing in general.


CDM: You describe your music as “futuristic” or “future-pop” - what do you think is the best pop song that has ever been written?
MEGAN: Oh my god.
CORIN: That's really difficult, there's a lot.
MEGAN: There are a lot. 'Break Free' right now.
CORIN: By Ariana Grande?
MEGAN: Yeah. Love that song.
CORIN: 'Call Me Maybe' always comes to mind.
MEGAN: When you said best pop song--
CORIN: Yeah, that just always comes into my head. That song is, for what a pop song should be, is, all at once.

CDM: Ahead of the release of 'another eternity' you said you took too long to get back into writing after the first album. Have you been writing for the next album at the moment?
MEGAN: I don't know if I would say we took too long anymore. I kind of wish we took longer at this point actually.
CORIN: I think she meant before we started writing again.
MEGAN: Yeah, we always say we took too much time off, but I don't think I would say that anymore.
CORIN: <laughs> You don't think we took enough time off?
MEGAN: I wouldn't take more time off, I would spend more time writing than we did, I think.

CDM: Our upcoming issue features Grimes on the cover - do you have a favourite Grimes song?
MEGAN: I love 'Kill V. Maim'.

CDM: And the music video that just came out?
MEGAN: It's so good. 'Flesh Without Blood' is actually I think, my favourite though. It's very hard to choose, she has a lot of hits - it's kind of amazing.


CDM: You've said that, "The lyrics came from the same place, and I think we've both changed so much. We were really young when we wrote 'Shrines'. Not that we're old now, but you change a lot in your 20s.” How do you think your working process has changed as you've learnt more?
MEGAN: I think we've learned about each other as a process, more than anything. It's easy to write on your own - easier to write on your own than it is with someone else - so it's been more about learning about how we collaborate.

CDM: Are you more honest with one another? Have you learnt to collaborate perfectly?
MEGAN: Not perfectly. <laughs> But honesty - I'm more open than I was on the first song.
CORIN: I think the first album, we wrote it pretty separately from each other, and then we've just been working closer and closer together on everything since then, which I guess is a natural thing to do. I don't really know why, it's just happening that way.

CDM: If you were going to DJ a house-party with your friends, what are five songs you'd play?
MEGAN: I'd definitely play 'Call Me Maybe' and 'Break Free'.
CORIN: 'No Type'.
MEGAN: '212'.
CORIN: There's that song that's just called 'House Party' [by Meek Mill], it goes, <sings> "Welcome to my house party”>. Whoever that song is by.

Purity Ring's album 'another eternity' is out now - click here to purchase it via iTunes.

Watch the 'begin again' music video below…

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