By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 2007
Fusing together various styles of dance music, Purity manages to create a slick, high-energy electronic sound that also has the raw intensity of rock music. Their sound represents what pop music SHOULD be like: ultra-catchy, yet with a strong edge to it. The group originally signed to Tommy Boy Records in 1997 and opened for Depeche Mode on their 1998 European tour. After being away from the project for many years, Jill Stark and Florence Briggs are BACK with new Purity music. They have a single out, “Liberation (so alive)/Driving Me Insane,” as well as an album’s worth of material written. In an email interview, Jill tells us more about the return of Purity.
How did Purity come together initially? Had the members been involved in other musical projects previously?
“The original line up of purity were 3 people. We had all been in other bands previously to this. I wrote and produced the tracks at the time and was with Icy in a previous line up. We advertised for a 3rd member and that is when I met Florence … the cliched advert in a music press publication and then meeting in a bar playing tracks with headphones on. This time round it is just Florence and myself, and now Florence is writing and producing as well.”
I’ve read that you got signed to Tommyboy after being heard through your website. In what year would that have been? What are your thoughts on the way the web has evolved since then, both in general and as a promotional tool for musicians?
“Now you are asking – it was 97…the whole web thing was really fresh then. We were ahead of things in the respect of having our music on our own web site and being heard. US record labels were wise to looking for new bands on line but the UK companies were way behind at that stage. When we got out touring and had releases out, we had huge amounts of feedback from people on emails, which was a very new thing at the time and we were aware some people were unable to buy our records in certain countries where there was meant to be distribution in place, so to an extent it gave a power shift to the band being more “in the know” of what was going on.”
What made you decide to reform and put out new Purity material now? What have the members been up to in recent years?
“I have dabbled around in various bits and pieces – writing music for photographic exhibitions and art installations but I was dying to write more energetic tracks again. Florence was really up for writing something as well so we decided to give it a go. Also, electronic/dance music is giving signs of being really exciting again. Pendulum really hit a spot for me.”
Can you describe your studio set-up? Are there particular pieces of equipment or software that you feel are key to your sound and/or creative process?
“I use Reason with Pro Tools and a lot of outboard fx with a Mackie 32/8 desk, I changed over from a massive amount of physical synths and samplers to having all the soft version in the computer. So from a room full of equipment to a laptop and mixing desk. It’s just how it works best for me….a sort of a mixture of physical units combined with soft synths. Florence uses Logic in its entirety…the fact we don’t use the same set up can cause a few problems though transferring files and sounds etc.”
What made you choose then name Purity?
“When we chose the name, there was a real snobbery in dance music where you had to be heard using the correct sounding snare or kick sound at the time which became very boring … brought about by the purists in dance music. We broke all the rules on that, so it was a 2 fingers in the air type of thing. We believe in using whatever sounds works for what you want to achieve…..”
I’ve heard bands with single word names complain about it making them more difficult for audiences to find in web searches. Do you feel that this is an issue at all?
“We haven’t experienced any problems….”
What’s in the immediate future for Purity? Are you working on a new full-length release? Any touring plans?
“We actually have around 17 songs written, so we have more than an albums worth. We will probably put it out in the future. No touring plans at the moment but we are open to offers!!! We will probably do a few gigs in London.”
What music are you currently listening to?
“I still love full on drum n bass like Pendulum so their new single, a bit of NIN, Muse and I’m really looking forward to the Chemical Brothers new single. Florence has been listening to Hot Chip, Bloc Party and Smashing Pumpkins amongst others.”
To hear Purity’s single go to http://www.myspace.com/purityuk Tracks – Liberation (so alive) and driving me insane. Soon to be available on itunes.See all interviews →