“These songs are about listening with all the senses — skin brushing someone else’s skin, listening with memory, seeing the lenses we see through, slipping into something, being willing to embrace the invisible and unseen forces at play.”
Moons have passed since Erika Spring’s last solo release, but she returns with her trademark brand of introspective pop on a new EP, Scars, for Cascine.
Erika’s musical journey began as an art-school multimedia project, leading her to a love of the keyboard that would sustain and inform her career. That passion was the foundation of Au Revoir Simone, the key-driven synth-pop trio she helped form in 2003. Based in New York, Erika lived a complete musical life within the world of Au Revoir Simone, with a tenure that spanned four albums over the course of a decade. In 2012, Erika took the opportunity to explore her own musical output, releasing a self-titled EP. Produced by friend Jorge Elbrecht, the sun-bleached songs of her solo debut were received warmly by critics and fans — Pitchfork, for one, wrote that the EP “dances gracefully on the edges of past and present, of waking life and dreams.”
Erika has continued working on a range of projects in recent years, reuniting with Au Revoir Simone to record the album Move in Spectrums, and to make a series of live and TV appearances, including a spot on David Lynch’s revived Twin Peaks series. In 2016, Erika also joined forces with Jenny Lewis and Tennessee Thomas under the name Nice As Fuck, releasing an album together and touring North America.
She now revisits her solo project with the Scars EP, a collection of five new tracks set to launch this fall. Co-written with music partner Homer Steinweiss, the EP highlights the pair’s ability to craft expert and intimate pop music — a skill that Erika has cultivated over many years and projects, and that Homer has developed both as a producer (Monika, Paul Spring, Diane Birch, Holy Hive) and drummer (The Dap-Kings, Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse). The music of Scars is rich with layered vocals, keys, and percussion, effortlessly cohering to invoke a hypnotic calm.
Homer and Erika started working on the material for Scars during the summer of 2015, finding time to get together in the studio despite a number of twists and turns in their lives. Together, they experimented with a korg polysix, an old synth that belonged to Homer’s father. That instrument allowed them to create the woven staccato melodies that would become the backbone of the EP. These confessional compositions are meticulously constructed and wrapped in a serene haze, creating a dreamlike atmosphere that’s warm, yet wistful.
“Musically, the songs have a lot of texture and open space,” she explains. “I think Homer’s drumming mirrors that too — super precise, but human and rhythmically thoughtful. He curated all of my takes, often picking out what felt weird or wonky but drew curiosity. I played or sang and he acted as editor, playing back something that sounded new to me. Being seen for my mess-ups and embraced for them is partly why the theme of ‘healing’ feels so woven into the fabric of these songs.”
Emotionally, the making of the EP chronicles Erika’s journey towards motherhood. “I had a consciousness and anticipation of this huge transition hovering under the surface and coloring my thoughts and experiences at the time,” she explained. “so even if I wasn’t writing about it explicitly, the feeling is there.”
As the title of the EP suggests, there’s something bittersweet at play across Scars; hardship might have passed, but the vestiges remain. “We wrote the track ‘Scars’ around the time that I had an early miscarriage. The song came together so naturally at the piano, and the words just spilled out. They’re so clearly addressing that experience of loss, but I don’t think I realized it at the time. There was just a general intensity to life which hasn’t slowed down since having my son in November of 2016 — so trying to get a grip while hanging on to some of that hopefulness is part of the spirit of this song, too.”
The end result of the Scars EP is both an exploration of Erika’s interior, and an invitation to join her there. The EP releases October 5, 2018.For tour dates and more visit: www.cascine.us/artists/92/erika-spring