dream analysis with dreamy duo purity ring

Get to know the Canadian duo making music that’ll have you floating away to your happy place.

by Francesca Dunn
02 March 2015, 1:04pm

Megan James and Corin Roddick of Edmonton, Canada are currently based in LA in account of it being better equipped for tour planning than their Alberta hometown. Having written 2012's Shrines while living in separate cities, they came together for their brilliant second album, Another Eternity, and found themselves with a much more varied sound. Out today, the LP is a completely beautiful journey in which hazy dream-pop synths hover over the sort of hip-hop beats that've led to collaborations with Danny Brown, their melodic creations interrupted on occasion by their own brand of dance music. With their mysteriously sensual and sometimes nonsensical lyrics, Purity Ring gently straddle genres in the most wonderful way. We meet with the twosome in London to talk chill factor, vivid dreams and surviving the apocalypse.

Firstly, how would you describe each other?
Megan: Well lately I've been assigning people a chill-factor percentage, with 100% being completely chill. Corin's chill average is like 50%.
Corin: I guess anything 90%+ is just too chilled though. Those guys would never get anything done. Megan seems quite chill today but I wouldn't like to give her an average.

How do you feel that your own musical skills have developed since the first album?
Megan: Corin's definitely better at producing now.
Corin: And Megan's definitely better at singing.

Sweet! Improvements all round.
Megan: Yeah, I think a lot of that could probably be attributed to confidence. It's a lot easier for me to actually admit that I'm a singer. I never did that before. It felt to me that I was just doing something creative - that singing was the same as writing or drawing. Just a form of expression. I think it shows. I think it sounds a lot more concise and certain in terms of what it is.

Does the record have a strong theme to you?
Megan: I haven't thought about it that much but people say that it's a lot more about hearts as opposed to other body parts. It's mostly just an escape from reality; we were trying to carve out these soundscapes - creating a place to go to when you listen to our music.

It's a lot more sonically varied than the last album…
Corin: I'm glad you noticed! With the last album we settled on a fairly specific set of sounds and atmospheres and tried to see what we could do with those; stretching it out to eleven songs with a different take on that same aesthetic. It made for a cohesive album without much range. With this album we didn't really worry about keeping a consistent sound from song to song. In fact, I tried to use different synths and drum samples for every song, which definitely gave each one its own personality.

If you could only use one effect on your sound, what would you pick?
Corin: It's a hard choice but I think the most crucial effect is reverb. I've used less on this album than before though; things are a lot more direct and closer - less washy than Shrines.

Your lyrics are very beautiful and poetic. Do you have a favorite poet?
Megan: I feel like I learned to write poetry through growing up really religious and reading the Bible, though that seems like a weird reference to have.

I totally see that with some of the language you use…
Megan: Yeah, though I tried to use less O and thou on this record! Whatever language I use, I just try to make it relatable because I'm communicating a feeling or emotion.

Your lyrics are all drawn from your diaries. Do you find it weird that everybody reads them via your music?
Megan: I've always been pretty down to share it… for the most part.
Corin: I prefer the idea of a dream journal. I think that'd be a great idea.
Megan: Yeah, there are dreams that've changed my life because I wrote them down.

Really? Like what?
Megan: You want me to tell you my dreams?

Megan: Well once when I was like eighteen, I had this dream that looked like Scotland or Eastern Canada with really bright green hills with a low, dim sky. I was in a metal birdcage but was running through this field towards a power plant and when I arrived there were just loads of slides.

And why did it have such an effect on your life?
Megan: I think the images and the colors were just so strong. I've not dreamt like that since but there are a few songs on the record actually that are like, verbatim dreams. Stranger Than Earth was a dream I had… it's really easy to make a dream poetic cause it's already so foreign. You can just turn it into a sort of idea or image that is somewhere you wanna be.

Have you had any particularly memorable dreams Corin?
Megan: He has a lot of sleep paralysis.
Corin: Yeah, that's probably the most memorable thing. I don't get it much these days but when I was in high school there was a period where I'd have it every night. You wake up and can move your eyes but your body is paralyzed. I'd feel myself touching my face but I'd look down and my arms were down by my side. It's a bit unnerving. I mean, I'm still down for sleep paralysis once in a while but reoccurring like that, it's no way to live!

Did that inspire any music or just confusion?
Corin: It probably has somehow but when I'm working on instrumental pieces I don't really draw from direct experiences - just something that feels good to me.
Megan: Our videos are quite dreamlike though, and even though a lot of our new music is really energetic and has a lot of strong emotions in it, it's ultimately still about sleeping. I try to make everything about sleeping.

Do you both get enough sleep?
Megan: I really do. So much.
Corin: I've actually been trying to regulate my sleep recently to maximize productivity.

Impressive! So, what do you think music will be like when we're old?
Megan: WellI think there'll always be pianos and guitars and drums.
Corin: It would be amazing though if we have totally new instruments and those are just considered strange old things - like how we see the lute or the clavichord or something.
Megan: I'll always have a piano, so that won't die for me. But I also feel like maybe there'll be nothing? Like, maybe there'll be an apocalypse and there'll be no digital music, only instruments. It'll just go back to square one.

Would you deal well with the apocalypse?
Corin: I'd do okay. It's one of those things where if it's gonna happen, it might as well happen in my lifetime because it'd be a cool thing to see.
Megan: Everyone thinks they're gonna survive the apocalypse though, but we can't all survive.
Corin:I'm not saying I'm gonna survive it. I just want to see it. I mean, who wouldn't wanna see the world end?

Most people!
Megan: My mom!


Text Francesca Dunn
Photography Eleanor Hardwick
Make-up Poppy France using Bobbi Brown

Purity Ring
francesca dunn
music interviews
eleanor hardwick