"Doing music is sort of like having a split personality," explains Valentine Adams, one-half of New Zealand sister duo Purple Pilgrims. "You spend all this time in your room writing songs, completely in your own world. Then you tour those songs, and you're at a party every night. It's totally bizarre, but I think it suits our personalities pretty well. Raised in both New Zealand's isolated south island and the bustling streets and alleyways of Hong Kong by restless parents with deep roots in folk music, Valentine and her sister Clementine know a thing or two about contrast and have played with it spectacularly over the course of the last five years. In that time, Purple Pilgrims' spiritual folk songs have shed the noise and drone elements of their early recordings, clearing the way for the lush ancient futurist dream-pop of their debut album Eternal Delight.

Recorded in a shed surrounded by native bush and birdcalls on family property in New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula, Eternal Delight came together after three years spent performing throughout China, America, Europe and the UK alongside Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Gary War, and Ensemble Ecconomique. "After travelling, it was a total luxury to have our own room to record in," Valentine says. "We had no routine; we just laid down bits and pieces when we felt like it. Sometimes that would be a full song, other times just a texture. We knew exactly what we were making and what we wanted to say. The steps in between grew completely naturally, leading us as much as we were leading them." Without the city to distract them, they broke up recording sessions with river swimming, as Valentine puts it "sun drowning", reading and reflection.

Throughout the time they've made music together, Purple Pilgrims have played with the idea of light versus dark (another contrast reference), not just in music, but in their own visual arts practices as well. "We used to make very high contrast Xerox zines usually consisting of delicate liner drawings and romantic found imagery contrasted with the interesting textures a filthy lo-fi photocopier creates," she says. It's a contradiction they've always sought to articulate in their songs, a contradiction driven to even higher levels after a reading of iconic English Poet William Blake's seminal text The Marriage of Heaven & Hell. One line, in particular, stood out "Energy Is Eternal Delight".

After shortening it to Eternal Delight, they had both an album title and a theme. "About our album, that line is us thinking about life, energy and how we're all full of and made of it, and the idea that a garden is the perfect illustration of that," Valentine continues. "We were thinking about Arcadia, Elysium, Penglai and the idea of these very earthy paradises. They all have totally mythical, magical qualities, yet they're very much connected to this world. The idea of creating one's own earthly heaven in a garden seemed pretty profound to us after living on the 26th floor in one of Hong Kong's urban jungles. It's really about reconnecting with nature and ourselves through it."

Ten songs long, Eternal Delight, captures this through a mixture of silky synths, drum machines, subtle percussion, traditional Chinese instruments, and angelic vocal arrangements serving as siren calls to suspend disbelief and journey beyond the doors of perception into the depths afforded by imagination. "There is this kinda cool quote by John Keats, where he is comparing his writing style to Lord Byron's," Valentine says. "He says, 'You speak of Lord Byron and me - There is this great difference between us. He describes what he sees - I describe what I imagine - Mine is the hardest task.'" We fall into the latter group, and probably always will. [However], I couldn't disagree more with what he says about writing what you imagine being far harder. It's way easier for us to create characters and situations outside of our realities."

Although Purple Pilgrims recorded, mixed and produced Eternal Delight themselves, they called on Gary War for assistance with bass guitar and drum machine parts. "We're both kind of a "jack of all trades" and will do a bit of everything while recording," she elaborates. 'We used all sorts of instruments, wooden flutes, guzheng, etc. The percussion on 'Yes' is the sound of us slamming shut this wooden box that was in our studio. We use whatever's on hand." While broadening their instrumentation, they also played with solid song structure and freeform composition. "Every song starts out as a story. We just try to articulate the story through whatever sound we think is the most explanatory."

Along the way, they became fascinated with post-production and physical potential of stage performance, two areas they saw room for growth in. "We've both been really involved in dance since childhood," Valentine says. "It's mostly been contemporary and interpretive dance, but we've never mixed it with Purple Pilgrims. We've currently trying to find a way to harmonise the two. It's taken us this long as when we started performing as Purple Pilgrims, we both completely froze up and couldn't move if we tried," she laughs, before admitting that of late performing has become more natural to both of them.

Finally, what else did they uncover while writing and recording? "I think everyone has an epiphany, some breakthrough, in every creative process they undergo, and it's usually always something they can only recognise and utilize on the next thing they make, after the dust settles," Valentine muses. "We definitely learned a lot in recording this album, but our main philosophy in music remains the same: to never close our minds to anything or put ourselves in a box. As soon as one starts to identify fully with a certain scene or style, they begin to set themselves rules. We think this only results in the sudden death of anything interesting, not just for the listener, but for the maker themselves. You've got to keep things interesting, or what's the point?"

Eternal Delight is out now via Not Not Fun Records (BUY)