Au Revoir Simone's Erika Forster embarks on her solo ventures with dream-like synth pop sounds
When dream-pop trio, Au Revoir Simone took a well-needed hiatus to go to school/have babies, band member Erika Forster did anything but take a break. In between learning mediation, and diving into several other new musical ventures, she began work on her first solo album. Shedding the restraints of 'indie', Forster explored with heavier beats, soul samples and sought inspiration in everything from the local bands in her native Brooklyn, to ‘annoying pop radio’.
It started off with just my computer and this one small keyboard and just using the beats of my computer. I found some websites that had the beats from these old soul records and that was cool too
Inspired by the visual arts, her first single, 'Six More Weeks' possesses a dreamy film like quality. Though the honyed vocals over synthy keyboards echoes the landscape of Au Revoir Simone, Spring is proving herself as a solo artist through her new sense of playful exploration.
Dazed Digital: You still play with Au Revoir Simone, as well as with the covers band, Girl Crisis; what made you decide to go solo?
Erika Spring: Girl Crisis isn’t exactly a band per se but it’s a project I do with a bunch of other local Brooklyn girls who are all kind of in the same scene. It started with Caroline from Chairlift and then Elizabeth from Class Actress. We sort of do it seasonally – it’s a really fun project.
It wasn’t that I wanted to do something by myself. Quite honestly, what I really love about music is being able to do these collaborative projects, but I was just not finding anybody who wanted to make the same kind of music as me around, so I guess it ended up being more of a collaboration between me and my producer. I was writing songs but I still got to have that element of collaboration and working with someone. I felt that my band was taking a break but I had all these songs and I wanted to keep making music because that’s what makes me happy!
DD: How does Erika Spring differ to Au Revoir Simone?
Erika Spring: With Au Revoir Simone I always had these two massive keyboards, so it was fun in the beginning of this project just being able to fit all my equipment into my bike basket! It started off with just my computer and this one small keyboard and just using the beats of my computer. I found some websites that had the beats from these old soul records and that was cool too, it gave me a really different sound to Au Revoir Simone; we used a lot of old drum machines, like 60s /70s, there sound is a little softer and sweeter so I was finding these other beats off of other peoples records were bringing a bigger energy to it. It’s been really fun. And also just to do something with no expectations and getting to play dive bars again and not really care what happens.
DD: Do you have more influences with your solo project?
Erika Spring: Absolutely. When Au Revoir Simone first started I was so obsessed with “indie music” and whatever that meant. It’s kind of limiting. So it was good to be able to really open up and listen to all other kinds of music, especially stuff that I’d been turned off to in the past; like aggressive pop music that’s really in your face. Now I feel for some reason I’m kind of into that stuff more. I’m using bigger beats and being more aggressive – ‘cos its fun! It’s more a question of what I actually enjoy and what makes me feel good. I’ve been working on this new project with a girl who’s really into trance music and meditation. We’ve been experimenting with making trance beats. I’m just letting myself have fun with music again.
DD: Who is your biggest inspiration?
Erika Spring: I would say two things. Pop radio, because I listen to pop radio and dance music a lot right now. A lot of its annoying but I feel like their producers are taking risks and really going against the rules which is something I’ve always been into, not following the rules of what a certain style or instrument is supposed to sound like.
And then also, just all the bands in Brooklyn right now that are really awesome. It’s just easier to be inspired by bands that you can see live. Blood Orange is a really good friend of mine and he’s just amazing to see live. Selebrities are really good, I got to play with them a bunch, Tezao, this band called Future Shuttle – they’re an improv band. There’s a lot going on.
DD: What are your plans for this year?
Erika Spring: I’m just finishing the mixes, and trying to figure out some good remixes to include as part of my EP, which hopefully will be out in a few months. I also only have about six songs that I play live so I’m trying to write some new songs so I can have longer set! I have one other song that won’t be on the EP so I’m thinking about releasing that digitally. I’m also singing on some electronic music with different DJs and stuff.
DD: You mentioned meditation, does that help too?
Erika Spring: Yeah, I’ve been into yoga and meditation and energy work for a while but this past year I’ve been doing transcendental meditation two times a day, I’m also learning Reiki which is this Japanese healing work. I’d say it’s helped me in all aspects of my life, not just in terns of creativity. I feel more able to listen to myself and trust my own instincts and have less anxiety about the whole ‘big picture’. When you’re doing creative stuff there’s a lot of unknowns. There’s a lot of experimenting you don’t know who will like it or if it’ll work. Meditating helps me to just trust it, it helps ease the anxiety that comes naturally with being a human being.
Erika Spring's 'Six More Weeks' is out now