There’s an air of excited commotion around Purity Ring’s Megan James and Corin Roddick when we connect to chat about their latest project, graves. The seven-track EP marks the first official release on the Edmonton duo’s own label, The Fellowship; a body of work produced with their most carefree, experimental touch yet. “We’re running around trying to get everything done before tour starts,” James says, laughing. “I just went to the plumber to get a bunch of steel pipe cut and threaded for light stands, and this afternoon I’m going to be painting stage backdrops.”
With stops in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton, Purity Ring’s first major tour in five years is a welcome return for their North American fans. A fresh project and upcoming tour has brought a renewed energy for the duo, having produced graves with a more playful and lighthearted approach than their studio albums. “I think it’s really healthy that we’re not overthinking this project. Feeling comfortable taking your art less seriously and more lightly is important and makes us feel like we’re better at music,” says James. “I feel like we’re entering a phase where our music feels more like an experiment. We’re more comfortable doing that now because we’re independent and really going for it.”
“I feel like we’re entering a phase where our music feels more like an experiment.
You can hear the experimentation in the EP both lyrically and on production. From the bright, sparkly dream-pop beat of the title track, the drip-drop notes of aquatic synth on “watersong,” to the delicate, emotive instrumental piano laden “xsalt” – the songs on graves form an eclectic and beautiful family. “I can’t wait til summer’s gone and passed us by. May the world turn and turn until you shine. But you know, you know I know that nothing’s fine,” James croons on “nthngsfine” in her sweet, fairy-like timbre. The juxtaposition of darker, melancholy lyrics with glimmering, atmospheric pop production has become a key element in Purity Ring’s identity thus far. Now, the band is on the precipice of what they are calling their “Nu Era.”
“The first three albums were like a trilogy that fit together and took basically a decade to make,” says Roddick. “I once heard that artists should reinvent themselves every 10 years and I agree with that to some extent. I feel like what we did on those three albums was great and now we’re sort of entering a second era for the band. This EP doesn’t feel like the start of that era, but more like the transition point. We’re testing the waters and having a bit more fun with things. Being a bit more playful and carefree with the creative process and the album we produce next is what we’re really excited about.”
Purity Ring kindly ask that all concert attendees wear masks at their shows.