Good Witch/Bad Witch
In the basement of a Soho bistro, young Canadians Megan James and Corin Roddick look happy to have found a chair each. Their European tour ends tonight, after visa cock-ups that meant a missed train from Paris to London, a late sound check and now this, another interview in an endless line formed by those who’ve heard debut album ‘Shrines’. Megan – porcelain doll-like, less blemished than her 24-years, even, and button cute – looks particularly beat. As Purity Ring’s saintly singer, it’s Megan who writes the lyrics she’ll angelically recite on stage in an hour or two, and ‘Shrines’, for all its abstract vocal hooks, rather fittingly seems to explore sleep above anything else. “I think it’s more a reference to dreams… and rest in general,” she says. “I’ve been learning how important it is to take time out. That’s been a big deal for me.” I mention that her current career choice isn’t too conducive to R&R. “No, there isn’t much rest right now,” she laughs, “but I’m not thinking about Purity Ring when I’m writing lyrics. I don’t think that what we’ve been doing together should influence what I write. These are just things that I think about everyday, regardless of what I’m doing.
“I write about a lot of the same topics,” she continues, nursing a raspberry lemonade. “A big one is… the body, and the separating of them, and coming together of them… but not sexually,” she hastens to add.
Megan’s sudden coyness isn’t unfounded. To us her absurdist lyrics are just that, but they began as diary entries that weren’t necessarily meant for prying eyes. She admits to never having had any ambitions to become a singer, but when Corin asked her to put vocals to his burgeoning electronic project, reaching for her journal felt strangely natural. And lines like “Drill little holes into my eyelids/That I might see you/That I might see you when I sleep” haven’t been doctored for our amusement: “She just takes the line exactly as she’s written it down and puts it in the track,” notes Corin.
“In a sense, I’m always writing songs,” Megan ponders. “But before Purity Ring started I was never writing for a musical project. I just wrote lullabies – I’d just walk down the street and sing a song and write it down.”
And if what you’d written down felt a little too personal, you simply leave it be, right?
“No. I usually go through and find the things that I like best, and they’re usually the most meaningful and the most personal. There aren’t limits in that respect. I think it’s easier for me because I feel like nobody understands it the way I do. Maybe they do, but it is quite cryptic.”