Interview: Purity Ring

Lights and music.

From the start, Purity Ring have involved so much more than just sound. They’re an all in, immersive experience with their live shows known for creative lighting, which moves in sync with the music.

The Canadian duo of Megan James and Corin Roddick has been performing as Purity Ring for almost six years. This month they’re set to bring their huge homemade lighting rig and handmade costumes to St Jerome’s Laneway Festival.

We sat down with Corin to chat all things performance and get a closer look at one of the most interesting acts on the scene. 

So your second album has been out for about nine months. Now that you have had a bit
of time to reflect, has the response been as expected? 

We’ve been so busy touring, it’s not often that we get to look back and reminisce. The shows have been amazing, so I guess that is where it shows itself. Once we put music out, we don’t really go back and look at it again because we’ve spent so much time making it. But I’m definitely happy with what we made. 

There was a two-and-a-bit year gap between your albums. Will we have to wait that long for your third? 

I would like to not disappear for as long as we did last time, but it is hard to say. Just because you never know how long it takes to write an album.
I think we will take as much time as we really need. It could be anywhere between a year and a half to five years (laughs). 

Let’s go back to 2010 and talk about when you formed Purity Ring. Many people perhaps consider a purity ring as having some religious significance. How did you choose the name? 

Honestly we just needed a band name (laughs). We only had one song we were putting out and we didn’t even really know if we were going to become a band or anything. I had heard of what a purity ring was and thought the idea of it was pretty funny and interesting. And I just liked the sound of it as well. It just sounds nice to say; it is easy to say. So yeah we were just like: “yeah sure.” We didn’t really think about it too much. 

I think it’s good to not obsess too much about band names…then they just get overthought. I think as soon as people are actually familiar with the music, they don’t even think about the name anyway. I just think band names are pretty silly in general, so you might as well embrace the silliness of them. 

How did you decide you wanted Purity Ring to become an all-encompassing sensory experience, rather than music alone? 

The very first show we played in our hometown – I think we had only written four songs at that stage and played for like 15 minutes – we built various hanging lighting structures that were covered in cloth. And they were all connected with the music as well, so they would pulse and light up. Even then Megan was designing the clothes as well. From day one we’ve just wanted to try and do something interesting and different, if we can. 

Megan makes all your costumes, and you seem pretty handy in your ability to build things (like your lighting rig). Do you guys have any other hidden talents? 

(Laughs), um, mmm. I don’t know about that. Probably…but probably best to keep that hidden. 


You can catch Purity Ring at St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in February.


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