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Whether you know them from the impressive cluster of singles that flew off their 2012 debut album Shrines or because you couldn’t get Danny Brown’s ’25 Bucks’ out of your head, Purity Ring hit the futurepop scene with the kind of impact most bands can only dream of. Their sophomore effort drops March 3 and we caught up with lead singer Megan James to discuss all elements of Purity Ring’s artistry.

Hi Megan, how are you?


First off, congrats on the impending release of your sophomore album, Another Eternity. It’s very exciting. Were there any unique or new challenges in crafting a second album?

Ooh, that’s a broad question. Thank you for that! We decided to write this record together as opposed to on Shrines, we wrote everything in separate cities. So we ended up writing it in a few different cities, like whenever we’d get together. Mainly it was Edmonton, we went there a few times and I was there for a large part of it. Yeah, we basically had to learn how to write songs together. We did it with a totally new approach and I’d say that was- I guess it was challenging in the way where you learn a lot but I think it was really good for both of us and we’re really happy with how it turned out. But yeah, it was a lot more of a transparent way of working together and it was really, like, beneficial for how we could approach problems that came up. There’s a lot more focus on the songs, I think, because we were able to talk about each part and how it works with another part and move things around and make it more cohesive so I think that Shrines as an entire album was really cohesive, like an atmospheric sort of singular thing and I feel like Another Eternity is as well. But it has a lot more focus on individual songs and having a beginning and a middle and an end and being sort of formed and with clarity.

Right, because previously you two used that twin city independent writing technique. Even before your first album. Is that right?

Well I mean, the very first song we wrote was on our first album. From the very beginning, that’s all we did.


“I feel like the way that our art is feminine like that is the same way that I am in being like obsessed with bodies and expressing through that and it’s definitely a theme I think will come up in all of the work I’m attached to.”


It’s interesting then that you’ve transitioned into working so directly with one another. That is something that is very new for you guys. Do you think that’s something that will make the second album distinct in that sense even if it is going in a similar direction to the first? Like, adding another dimension to it?

Yeah, yeah! Another dimension is a really good way of putting it and I think it’s challenging to work with someone else when you’re making something as sensitive as and as expressive and, to me, as emotional as a song. I think we knew we wanted this record to sound different, like a progression, and that was one of the major ways we thought we could attempt to have it be what we wanted, I guess. It was kind of a more promising way to have it turn out in a way we’d appreciate. You know, so we could actually communicate about everything on it and like have a dialogue about what we wanted it to be the whole time. Although I guess we didn’t talk about that very much but it definitely helped with progressing. With how we work together and how to make the sounds sound different, for sure.

Consequently, have your influences changed?

Not really. I think Corin and I listen to pretty different music and always have. There’s a few major legendary records that we agree on and we agree on records for the most part. But he always listens to a ton of pop music and hip-hop and R&B and I’m kind of in another world. Like, I listen to a lot of really old music but honestly, there weren’t a lot of influences music-wise on this record. We didn’t even purposefully stay away from that, it’s just there wasn’t that much music last year to begin with. We’d never worked with ideas of what to bring to the table with other musicians we want to sound like. It’s not really a thing.

I noticed that while the cover imagery is really distinctive unto itself, it also has similarities to Shrines’ cover art in terms of the focus on a female figure and that broad sense of symmetry. Is there a reason for that?

Well, it wasn’t the artist who did the photography, but it’s the same artist who did the illustration. Like, the planet thing up the top. And then the illustrations on the back, there’s four symbols, they’re also on our Tumblr page or whatever.

I mean, I feel like the way that our art is feminine like that is the same way that I am in being like obsessed with bodies and expressing through that and it’s definitely a theme I think will come up in all of the work I’m attached to.

You just mentioned the four circular symbols on the back cover. Are they something that have added meaning to you or is it an aesthetic thing or whim of the visual artist?

She designed them but we talk a lot about them. They’re all thematically related to the album and the artwork. There’s another piece that I don’t think will be released until the record is. It’s the gatefold inside and it’s beautiful. It’s illustrations of cross-sections of genitals. *laughs* So it’s kind of obscured, you can’t tell what it is. It’s sort of cells and body parts. The symbols are derived from that artwork so it’s all interrelated.

That’s really cool too because lyrically, your voice is very sweet and almost haunting but when actually listening to the lyrics, there’s a visceral, overtly humanised element to it as well.

That’s my style and metaphor, for sure!

Are there any new collabs on this album that you can talk about?

No, there aren’t any, actually! We worked all alone the whole time, it was really nice. I mean, I love doing collaborations and I’m sure we’ll do quite a few more in our career but we didn’t feel that we needed to this time around. We had what we wanted already.

That must be pretty uplifting as an artist to be able to work as a duo and make a ten track album and not have that need for any outside additions.

Yeah, I guess a lot of people do that now. But I feel like the records I grew up with have nearly as many collaborations as records have now. And that’s kind of how I would like to do records. Like our collaboration with Young Magic, that’s one of my favourite songs. I don’t think anything is lost when you have collaborations, I just think it’s a thing that’s getting less widely done maybe. But I haven’t researched that so I don’t know if what I’m saying is totally true but yeah, from what you’re saying,it sounds like maybe a lot of people do.

I think that’s right but you also just mentioned those old albums you listen to and I’m sure you get asked this question a lot, but what are some staple records or artists that you always go back to and listen to?

Ughhhh. Should I be shameless or cool?

Be shameless, it’s alright. This isn’t a judgemental environment!

Okay, I know that Corin and I both agree on Björk’s Vespertine that one is, like, legendary. What else? Regina Specter’s second record is great, it’s called Soviet Kitsch [it was actually her third]. I will always love that record. It’s hard because Corin and I would answer this question so differently but Joni Mitchell is someone I really love. No one else can really do what she does, I think. She’s like the one and only singer harpist and Ariana Grande was amazing last year. There were a lot of really good songs on that record. But she had guests on that record. That was just a good record. A lot of artists on major labels, or pop stars, will have collaborations on their record and there’ll be like 15 or 20 songs and like, I would love for that many people to hear our music but I don’t feel like I need to collaborate all the time. The indie world does a lot more bold styled singular records.

I think in that scene too you get a lot of solo people who become very solitary when creating and put out a singular piece of art. Sometimes anyway.

There’s definitely a divide in how music is put out and received between those worlds. It’s interesting too because they’re getting closer and closer together.


“I think my idea of time is carried throughout all the forms of art and craft that I make…I definitely have an obsession with time”


Yeah, it’s interesting and all very positive because it’s essentially just different means to creative ends but speaking of creation and merging worlds, you mentioned a while ago you wanted to get into fashion as well. How’s that going?

Soooo into fashion. *laughs* I’ve been doing a lot lately, actually. I have a few plans to do some small releases of my own stuff, like five of a piece or something on like bigcartel or something like that. And then I want to make costumes for the stage show this time around. Last time we just wore casual clothes but I think we’ll have more wearable pieces that are interactive this time. I have a lot of plans for costumes so I have a lot of work to do.

What did you think of Andre 3000’s whole jumpsuit project that he was doing on Outkast’s last tour?

Wait. I don’t know if I saw that. Can you fill me in? Maybe I’ll remember

Well, because he had concerns about being a bit of a sellout in doing a reunion tour, he would wear a unique black jumpsuit at every show with an oversized dollar tag that had a different message on the front of it.

Okay, that’s not my style. It sounds like it might have been really cool but- *laughs*. Okay, so I just made a costume for our music video for ‘Push Pull’ and I’m not into wearing a lot of words unless it’s something that I feel needs to be said or I want it. Basically, I’ve just made a body suit and I’ve hand sewed strings of fringe all over it. I don’t want to make a whole bunch of different costumes, I like clothes that are simple a bit. They just have one thing and they’ll suffice for x amount of months or years, you know? Like, one pair of shoes, one dress. Very minimal things. I think I carry that through with costumes. I’m sorry I can’t relate to that other concept.

I was just curious as to what you thought of that kind of thing. It’s interesting that you talk about a kind of timelessness to your fashion because I think your music and lyrics are kind of constructed the same way like that.

Yeah! Actually, that’s a good point. I think my idea of time is carried throughout all the forms of art and craft that I make. I don’t know. I definitely have an obsession with time, like, I like a style of poetry that is fairy tale-esque and fairy tales last forever or they will or I hope they will. They’ve lasted a long time so far.

Your stuff is fairy tale in the original Grimm’s fairy tale sense. There is still something very dark underpinning a lot of it.

Yeah, I feel like everything has that to it. I can’t not write like that because it’s in everything.

Last time you guys were in Australia, you were performing at Meredith. I don’t know if you remember being there.

I remember that, it was so beautiful.

I noticed that your live performance then was really close to sounding like what you put on tape and I was wondering if you intentionally sometimes skirt away from more comprehensive production or alteration to ensure that aural similarity to the recordings while you’re on stage?

I mean, it’s hard not to do that with electronic music. For the most part, we don’t write our songs with live instruments. There’s one song on the record Sea Castle that has me playing the piano and Corin took it apart and recompiled it to make the track and that’s the only live instrument on the whole record so it’s kind of like why would we have a live show that has live instruments? Other than that one track on this record, there are none. It’s not hard to get the live show verbatim with the record when it’s like that.

I guess I meant more in terms of your vocals.

I guess with the vocals, there’s effects on them live, for sure. But I don’t feel like that with the vocals because I always feel like they’re very different on the record. It is a lot more flawed and I don’t always sing right on key. It’s definitely got a lot more mistakes in it and I feel like it does but I am the most critical.

A lot of people here would love to have you back and Aussie tour plans have been teased a little bit following the release of the Begin Again single. Could you please tell us a bit more?

I could tease a little more. We don’t have any set dates for Australia but Australia is on the schedule for this year. It’ll come. I don’t know what season it is there in September.

It’s Spring at that point.

Okay, so we’ll come before Spring at that point but I don’t have dates.

Well, congratulations on the album and good luck with the sophomore album and really looking forward to listening to it and checking out that genital-ey gatefold.

Oh yeah, I love that artwork. Great interview. Thank you so much, that was great.

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