Exclusive: Corin Roddick of Purity Ring talks us through his dramatic rework of "Applause"
For the first new track from Lady Gaga's forthcoming Applause Remix EP (Oct 1), Dazed premieres a skewed remix from Montreal-based duo Purity Ring that has all the drama of a gothic cathedral. Gaga's call for ovation is pitched down to a moan and up to a whimper, and splintered into innumerable pieces as the chorus is dragged down a mineshaft thick with bass. The result is a entirely new creation. We called Corin Roddick of Purity Ring to find out how the remix came about.
DD: Was remixing Lady Gaga an intimidating prospect?
Corin Roddick (Purity Ring): Yeah totally. That's why I did it. It’s such a challenge, not only to take a song that’s been so immaculately produced and try and put our spin on it, but also to even tread in that territory. I listen to a lot of pop music in my spare time, and I just thought the chorus was just huge and had a powerful delivery and melody in it. I wanted to see if I could just craft something around that in a way that it would make sense to me.
DD: So was the first step deconstruction? There's so much in the original production.
Corin Roddick: The first thing I did was delete everything but the vocals. With a remix I don’t think any of the original instrumental should be used, so I just listened to vocals on repeat and took it back down to a blank canvas – just acapella, to imagine what could be around it. From there I start kind of building basslines and chords around it, so I think some of the chord progressions and stuff I ended up using were totally different from the original song.
DD: How long did it take?
Corin Roddick: I chipped away at it for about two weeks. I didn’t think it would take that long but I kinda kept going over it again. I got stuck at a few points; there was maybe a period of almost a week where nothing really happened on it 'cause I was just getting frustrated, but that happens to me pretty much every time I’m trying to finish a song. I always hit walls.
DD: How long has this been in the works? Since before the single and video premiered?
Corin Roddick: No, I wasn’t allowed to hear the song until it was out.
DD: Okay, so they were being super secretive.
Corin Roddick: Yeah, unless I went to LA I wasn’t able to hear the song. So I was like, 'assuming I like the song– let’s do it'. And they ended up dropping the song early so I got to hear it and I was like ‘okay let’s do it’. We’ve been asked to do a lot of remixes over the past couple of years, but I haven’t done one in a very long time because they often just end up as a blog piece that gets quickly forgotten about. But if I’m gonna do a remix it might as well be for Lady Gaga.
DD: Do you know if it was a personal request from Gaga?
Corin Roddick: I think so. She included us on a playlist before, I think it was a Spotify playlist. I would think that someone of her stature controls every detail of her artistic output. I don’t see why you would have anyone remixing you that you don’t personally approve.
DD: You covered that Soulja Boy song “Grammy” earlier this year. Which Lady Gaga song would you cover?
Corin Roddick: Probably “Telephone”. It's my favourite Gaga song.
DD: What would you do with "Telephone"?
Corin Roddick: Probably just try and reconstruct it in our own twisted pop formula!
DD: What else are you up to at the moment?
Corin Roddick: We're working on a new record, which is going slow, but it’s going good. I’ve been working on a handful of other projects outside of the band for the past four or five months. I've been producing for some hip hop artists and singers, and I’ve worked with Evian Christ too. We were writing some stuff together for a couple of days, but nothing’s really come of it yet.
Lady Gaga's Applause Remix EP is out on October 1.