Taking homage to a trilogy of Ep’s ‘Onna” is set to be one that speaks the language of its Japanese meaning: ‘woman.” The Ep itself consists of 5 tracks with a remix by Toby Kid called, “Pop To The Head.” ‘Fly Away’ and ‘Warrior’ (taken from the Ep) have seen visuals that depicted genuine aspects of ‘Erika’s” personality and world. For instance:  ‘Warrior,’ as you will find out via this interview featured genuine friends and people she knew, they were not actors. These friends/acquaintances used real life fears and experiences to bring to a video that creates an even more startling account of scenarios featuring them with war paint - and vivid facial expressions, alongside genuine emotions. ‘Fly Away’ which sees ‘Erika” dressed in a kimono is as you will find out via the interview not a traditional Japanese story - but an insider into the kimono, which is designed to restrict the woman’s movement. The video represents some of her background and was very important to her.

‘Erika’ has taken to the road on an acoustic tour that led to Cirencester, Bath, and Perranporth; and had her performing to as little as 8 to 9, and then to a room full of 50. These small intimate settings have allowed her to manifest a number of followers who will enjoy the intimacy that comes with performing within these kind of environments. Her ‘Onna” Ep is seeing itself in windows with vinyl copies being found, and has even had radio- play on a Surrey radio station; so to find out even more about Erika I suggest you read on with this interview and tune into to the retrograde station.

 C: In a few words, who is Erika? 

 I am a DIY Artist, I have musically come in many shapes and sizes and each release I'm getting closer to where I'm meant to be.

 C: Your new Ep ‘Onna’ has the Japanese meaning of woman and is claimed to be about feminism, out of your own words what actually is reflected in your Ep besides female empowerment

 I have written an EP and called it Onna, meaning woman in Japanese. It is the second part of a trilogy of EPs. I wanted this EP to pay homage to all the quiet women who make the world turn. The mothers, daughters, sisters that aren't celebrated by society - women who are quiet, some may feel they have no voice. I was one. I have to sing my way out sometimes. Track to listen to: Fly Away Bird.

 C:  It’s said that you recorded the Ep in Latvia, why did you choose to record it there?

  I was on the road with MIKA a few years ago, there I met a band called, Instrumenti - they supported Mika in Riga. We became friends. I love their music and asked if they fancied writing with me. In the end we didn't write - but they ended up producing some songs I had already written, it happened completely unplanned and organically.

 C: You also used a variety of instruments like; organs, pianos, tap shoes, boom whackers, and more in your Ep, have I missed any? Did this all contribute to a unique sound? What came from using these instruments in your songs? 

Ha ha... yeah there was a lot more probably, I couldn't actually write any more, it already makes me look like such a wanker. But the truth is there were moments when we would just walk around the studio hitting things and shaking things to find the right sound. It was such a fun way of recording. I've always wanted to record with tap shoes and one bit in Kryptonite we added those shoes but that dream hasn't quite fully been satisfied... but I’m sure it will on the next one. Growing up I was a shit tap dancer and in a way recording with them is getting my own back on them and telling them they haven't beat me!! 

 C: ‘Warrior’ taken from your new Ep and directed by Nina Balascakova has the actors covered in war paint as the video wears on and their strength grows, does this reflect tribal colours, meanings, can you just explain the idea/message behind the video?

 I love directing videos, when I write I see pictures so it makes sense for me to come up with video ideas and I absolutely loved directing. The people in the video weren't actors they were people I know, they were all lovely to help me out and tell me, the camera, what their fears were - it was quite an emotional afternoon filming but cathartic too. The paint is whatever you want it to be.

 C: ‘Fly Away Bird” trapped behind a cage, bird imagery on your kimono, Japanese style movements was ‘Fly Away Bird’ a story?

  It's not a traditional story from Japan if that's what you're getting at? The kimono doesn't only represent my background, but it's designed to restrict the woman. To not allow her to run away, they are heavy and you can only take small steps, this, with the story of the song was important to me.

 C: What captivates you so much about the Japanese culture you seem fascinated by it

 My mother is Japanese; I have never lived there (3 months was the longest when I was little and forgot how to speak in English). I try to go back every year and every time I'm there it feels like home. UK is my home, as is Japan. I don't feel fully comfortable in either or fully at home in either. I suppose because I spend most of my time here, I feel that the imagery I pull would be more from there. Maybe if I lived in Japan more of the imagery would be British?

 C: What was it like working with artists like ‘Mika,’ and Bastille?’ Do you learn anything from these experiences? Who else has stood out for you with their music and work?

  Working with MIKA was incredible, I went to some countries I never imagined I would go to and met some lovely people. The thing I learnt the most really was observing all the logistics & production and how many trucks and people it took to put on a 2-hour show. My background had always been bands and never really thought of props and a show until I toured with him. Dan from Bastille was lovely, it was brief meet and the song I ended up singing on with him and Ella Eyre was complete by fluke. They played it to me and being a lover of 90s dance I sang Free over the top and him and producer Mark Crew were like go on then.... sing it.

 C: You also do fashion and collaborations as well, it seems there’s no limit to what you do, the Velcro idea is it still popular? 

 HA! - I'm not the talented one when it comes to fashion; I'm the idea one. I have an idea and take it to a clever friend. I don't use the Velcro idea for every show - the first time I used this was for my last EP - Onna-Bugeisha that came out in 2013. I like to move forward so I may bring the Velcro and beads out if it's in a place I haven't played before. What I'm working on at the moment is making a conductive dress that I can play as an instrument. Something un-techy and un-assuming, just a dress, something to make people inquisitive about whether it's that making sound or not.

 C: In terms of your tours and fashion work, what is instore for us next?  Any new designs or shows in the pipeline?

  So at the moment I'm working with avant-garde/sax/tech-wizard, Sam Topley. I commissioned her to make me a pompom that works as a trigger, triggering sounds from a laptop, which I play in a song and pass to the audience. We are working on some more wooden inter-active instruments, combining connectivity within the audience to create sound. I've done 2 short European tours this year - so I want to concentrate on some more special inter-active shows and more writing for the next EP. I would like to do a few more shows further afield (Japan/Africa/USA) and more in the North of UK. I have a couple of festivals over the summer - but to keep on top of shows best go to my website and socials.

 http://officiallyerika.tumblr.com/

 https://soundcloud.com/officiallyerika/sets/onna-ep