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Purity Ring on Crafting Costumes for a Tour, Building a Label and Their New EP ‘Graves’ | Musical Stories + Interviews | Orlando

Purity Ring – the duo of Megan James and Corin Roddick – are halfway through their 2022 Land Voyage tour, and every night they perform tracks from their first three albums and the new one Fallen down mini-album, released on their new label, The Fellowship.

Fallen down has been years in the making; the band had been sitting alone on the title track for eight years. The track was originally slated to appear on their second album, in 2015 another eternitybut it didn’t feel right at the moment.

In October 2020, James went to Roddick’s to work on the music, and he released the first version of “Graves” they had done. She had forgotten the track after not hearing it in years, but something clicked when James heard it again. It was then that the duo decided to build an entire EP around it.

“I don’t know what happened, but all of a sudden he felt ready. We changed. The music changed,” James says. “It was a better time now to release it than then, for some reason.”

As their Fall 2021 tour was postponed due to the pandemic, Purity Ring decided to delay the release of Fallen down so they can tour with these new tracks. They opted for a mini album rather than a full record, as they didn’t want the pressure of trying to make it extremely cohesive.

“It was kind of like each song was on its own, rather than trying to make them one another,” James explains.

Like Purity Ring did Fallen down, they had no idea how they were going to free him. Although they released three albums with legendary indie imprint 4AD, they decided to release it themselves. (It’s very on-brand for the duo. Prior to their time with 4AD, early Purity Ring songs were self-released, and they always had their own studio.)

“It’s very true to the nature of Purity Ring. We really want our art to be as ‘about us’ as possible,” says James. “It’s always been very important to us – to be self-sufficient and independent in every way possible.”

This includes sewing her own costumes for shows. One of James’ favorite outfits on this tour is a curtain jacket filled with head-to-toe ruffles, inspired by his dream bedroom. She has already made a second one for the tour.

“That’s what I do. I love to sew. I love to make clothes,” says James. “It was one of those things where I didn’t know how it was going to go, and it looked better than I thought.”

One piece, referred to simply as “the dress”, is a voluminous, ethereal white dress with cloud-like sleeves, with lights tucked under the skirt. It is made from 65 yards of taffeta and took four days to make.

The dress was inspired by the lyrics to the track “Rubyinsides” from Purity Ring’s 2020 album UTERUS: “If I could, I would let you see through me.” James explains that she wanted something that would illuminate and be transparent.

The lighting for the dress would inspire the stage lighting for the Land Voyage tour, but the reference to “Rubyinsides” was the album’s only reference for the clothing.

“Other than that, most of the clothes I make for the stage are like, ‘Would I be comfortable? Does it look good when we’re dancing? Can I wear it every day and wash it?’ Because it’s summer and there’s a lot of sweating,” laughs James.

As they wrap up their Land Voyage tour, Purity Ring is asking fans attending the shows to wear face masks to ensure the duo can complete the tour safely alongside their team – and their audience.

“Let’s take care of each other,” James said. “You’ve taken something out of this music that’s important to you, and I care very much about finishing this tour safely.”