Last month, Erika de Casier dropped a remix compilation of her sophomore album Sensational and offered her North American fans something to look forward to in 2022: her first tour across the pond, kicking off in March.
On The Sensational Remixes, de Casier invited friends and respected peers to reimagine her songs, resulting in Mura Masa’s sulty, stripped-down version of her single “Polite”, a footwork-infused rework by Smerz, and a reggaeton twist on “Friendly” by rising Miami producer Nick León. This summer, we caught up with de Casier at Pop-Kultur in Berlin during her European tour to talk about her some of her musical firsts, the recording process of Essentials, and more.
What is your first musical memory?
Sitting in the car with my mom, listening to “The Police”. That was when I noticed music the first time, driving around and singing along to it.
And what was the first record you ever bought?
A 1998 ‘Absolute Hits’ compilation. There’s some Backstreet Boys, “All I Have to Give,” there’s some Faithless, “God Is a DJ”, N-Trance “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”
Who were the first artists to massively influence your style as a musician?
Tricky and Portishead was the first time when I noticed sampling and where I thought to myself: ‘Woah, it’s so simple and there’s so much space in this music, and it’s still so powerful.’ Very subtle and whispery and intimate.
Can you remember your first performance in front of an audience?
It was in a bar, I played in front of a crate of beer. And I just stood behind the keyboard and closed my eyes the entire time. I was so nervous. I just played a bit of keyboard and I was shaking. It was horrible (laughs). I didn’t even look at the audience, I think I didn’t even look up once.
What was the first track you wrote for ‘Sensational’?
It was “Call Me Anytime”. I wrote that a while back before lockdown. I was just in the studio one day and I had this synthesizer called Virus Indigo. The whole track is made entirely with that synth. I was just playing around, and I wrote the song just like in that one session with myself.
What was your first collaboration with Natal Zaks AKA DJ Central like?
Mostly because of lockdown, I was spending a lot of time alone. And when I was making music, when Natal was over, we would send things back and forth. It was a very intimate process. I think my songwriting developed in a way where I was more or less not afraid of saying what I wanted to say.
When did you first come up with “Bianka”, the character you invented during the making of the video for ‘Drama’?
I imagined this “Hausfrauen” [type], you know, like cleaning and cooking, and taking a bath, and then I ordered this wig online and once I got it, I tried it on and I was like, “Whoa – I feel like a completely different person.” And it gave me a new confidence that I don’t think I had before. I think she helped me become more extroverted. But I don’t think I’m going to take her onto the stage, I’m saving her for special moments.
And finally: when are the ‘Sensational’ club remixes dropping?
There’s going to be different remixes by different artists. My idea with asking all these different artists to do the remixes was to have a lot of different inputs and not just pick one musical scene.
Published December 07, 2021. Words by Caroline Whiteley.