Purity Ring’s Front Woman Debunks The Canadian-Style Stereotype

When Purity Ring came on the scene in early 2011, it was if they had materialized from the ether: Who was the Canadian duo capable for these warped vocals, trap beats, and otherworldly synths? Were Megan James and Corin Roddick forest spirits or actual humans?
Well now it's 2012, and Purity Ring has grown from an unknown band dropping single MP3s to hungry bloggers, to releasing its excellent debut LP, Shrines — not to mention that great new remix of "Belispeak" with Danny Brown. Along the way, the band has become a must-see live act, and had countless others emulate its pitch-shifted pop. We caught up with Megan to talk about her thrift-loving style, Canadian stereotypes, and the difference between a beanie and a toque.

How do you pick out your clothes before going on tour? What items are absolutely essential?
"It's taken a long time for me to figure out how to pack right. I think I have it down but I still seem to always have a few too many things. Since we started almost two years ago, I've been wearing a lot bigger and more comfortable clothes that I love, so I don't have to feel like changing every time we arrive somewhere. Even a few hours in a car can make you feel pretty funny in just your skin, regardless of what is over it, but things I can stretch in are essential. I also always have something to dress up in, some crinolines for under it, and two pair of shoes. I always start with two pairs and end up coming home with at least four."

What music have you been listening to most on tour? What are your favorites albums this year?
"It is a feat for me to rattle off the things I listen to. I always answer Nina Simone, but I've come to really like the last Daughn Gibson album. And not really much else that comes to mind."

When we think Alberta, we imagine lots of flannel and hats with ear flaps. How would you describe Canadian style? Are the stereotypes correct?
"I think of that look and think farmers and a few other stereotypical things I need not mention. It is often seen as an appearance that is done on purpose, as it is in many places around the world. Although, rarely, I see some fine old gentlemen who've got that look down to a T, and I can't look away. That's always a nice treat."


What's the difference between a beanie and a toque? Is there a difference?
"No difference. One sounds cuter."

Do you get to do much shopping on tour? Where are your favorite places to shop?
"Always thrift stores — the real ones. I have just as hard a time finding gems in boutiques though. They're sort of the same to me aside from price range."

What's one cheap clothing item you've scored recently?
"A really nice leather parka-coat thing I got from my aunt in Australia. She bought it in the mountains somewhere along the Rockies and doesn't go there anymore. I got so lucky; I feel like a sleek little fox every time I put it on."


Your stage setup is part of what makes your show so fun to watch. How did you come up with the unique lighting design?
"We had a few initial ideas of what we wanted it to be like, but we had a lot of help from a company called Tangible Interactions in Vancouver, BC. We had to figure out a lot of unusual problems with them, but it's turned out pretty wonderfully. Also, lights for us is a very main topic of conversation. We're always thinking about them."

What are your favorite cities to play? Do you have a show you played recently that was especially memorable?
"Edmonton. It sounds absurd but almost my whole family was there and very many old friends. Corin's, too. It was pretty spectacular for everybody I think."

What's next following Shrines? Do you plan to tour more or get back in the studio? What can we expect for 2013?
"A summer and then probably more music. Right now, we're touring and will continue to through next year. We're working on building a studio in Corin's house. He just got a new kitty, Finn."

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