Bewildering and fulfilling. Believe.
Turning heads with her debut record Essentials, Erika de Casier is twisting 90s G-funk and R&B into something fresh and refined. We caught up for a breezy chat about life in the digital age, a subject that proved ironic when our recording equipment backfired mid-interview. Not to worry though, we re-established the line of communication and nothing essential was lost – there’s a metaphor in there, somewhere.
Hi Erika! Thanks for speaking to us. How was your morning?
Thanks for having me! My morning was great.
You’ve lived in a myriad of places – The United States, Portugal and Copenhagen. What makes a place feel like home?
Let me think… For me a home doesn’t have to be where you’re from or where you live permanently. I guess what makes a home for me is where you feel you belong, a place where you can relax, feel safe and just be. Also, wherever there’s a cat!
Fair enough! So Essentials has been out in the world for a bit now: how have things changed for you?
I get more gigs for one, which is a lot of fun. It’s been so great to release something that people have such nice things to say about. Makes me really proud and motivated to keep going.
So, if you had to boil down the essence of your music in a few words to a new listener, what would you say?
Right now it’s good melodies, pleasing sounds and whimsical lyrics.
Speaking of lyrics, we’re fanning over these lines from ‘Good Time’: “When you put your phone down, you seem surprised to see me look you in the eye / don’t write it in a message, just say it to my face”. Tell us more about your dynamic with social media.
I try to spend as little time on social media as possible. My Instagram is a space where you get a sense of me and that’s it. I don’t feel the necessity to always share my opinions and views. I’m a fairly private person and I feel that if people listen to my music and look at my visual artwork and aesthetics they’ll get a pretty good sense of where I stand on things.
“It’s hard to imagine that you can find real intimacy without being together in the same room. Reading each others body language, hearing the tone of each others voice, being present, talking, touching. You know?”
If you do seek for it, how do you find intimacy via the phone?
Other than making plans to meet someone, I don’t feel that I seek for it via my phone.
What about in online communities?
As far as I know; you can get to know each other through online communities, for sure, but it’s hard to imagine that you can find real intimacy without being together in the same room. Reading each others body language, hearing the tone of each others voice, being present, talking, touching. You know?
We know! Anything that online communication can offer, that real life isn’t able to do?
To quote ‘Photo Of You’: “Let me take a photo of you / keep it forever / you know you look so good / aha, can’t get enough of you”. What are your thoughts on immortalizing moments in your life?
I tend to get emotional over certain moments, wanting to keep the moment and return to it whenever I want. But I guess the beauty of a moment is that you can never really get it back, not even through a photograph. A photograph can never fully grasp the moment. As for ‘Photo Of You’, it’s actually about taking a picture of someone and sharing it without consent, which is a whole other conversation.
To my interpretation, I find some of your songs focusing on self-liberation or ‘putting yourself first’ – would you agree? What does empowerment mean to you?
I don’t know if I’d use the phrase ‘put yourself first’ as my life motto. If someone else is struggling you should probably put them first. What I would rather say is; ‘love yourself’ :). It’s about feeling comfortable in your own skin, respecting and accepting yourself.
Hear the soulful, G-funk inspired sounds of Erika de Casier on October 17th at s105. Free entrance for subbacultcha members.