Interview: Five Minutes with ERA C
Image credit: Johannes Kremer
As two musicians meet in the fog of the industry, a thought floats across their minds – what would happen if we were to collaborate together? ERA C, the combination of vocalist Sofia Insua from the Guatemalan band Easy Easy and Mirza Ramic from the US duo Arms and Sleepers have run with this idea, beginning a new journey together. Currently based in Germany, the two have elected to share the title track of their debut LP, DELIRIA, which will be released on the 28th of May via Future Archive Recordings. However, the temptation for home ran deep and the two decided to release an Arms and Sleepers edit of the track.
As the two begin to explore new sounds together, venturing away from their own comfort zones and into something new, we’ve been able to see the spark of a new downtempo duo that will soon be making waves. Naturally, it seemed best to catch an exclusive interview with them as they begin to emerge and make a name for themselves in the industry.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
Beauty, meaning, paradox. The world through another’s lens.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Sofia: The idea comes with the sounds, or at least a glimpse into what they might be about. For this album, Mirza produced a section for a track and that sparked the idea for the lyrics and the rest of my vocal melodies.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Besides collaborating with each other (as the two members of ERA C), the mixing process was also a collective effort that allowed for our music to be influenced by other people. We had Walter Monterroso Beaumont, producer and bass player of Easy Easy, mix the majority of the album, and also Victor Ferreira of Sun Glitters, who mixed a couple of tracks.
What’s on your current playlist?
Human x Sevdaliza
As I Exit pts I & II x Hayden Calnin
Natural Blue x Julie Byrne
No Diggity x Blackstreet
Drive x The Cars
Small x Clark
Walking Flames x Actress & Sampha
Imago x Oneothrix Point Never
good kid x Kendrick Lamar
Move with the Season x Temples
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
Both of us have toured with our music projects outside of ERA C (as part of Arms and Sleepers + Easy Easy) and are aware that the bond created during a live music experience is quite unbreakable. While onstage, we’re both explosive in our own individual ways, and although preparation is key, nothing should feel choreographed – it’s important that it feels organic and intimate. Because of the pandemic, we’ve yet to discover what will happen when we play our debut tracks together as ERA C… in front of a crowd.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
There’s a bunch of trial and error. Learning what our common grounds are. Respecting each other’s vision and opinions. Leaving no room for the ego.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Sofia: Wow, there were a lot of different studios involved in the process of creating DELIRIA. We started working on it in the Czech Republic. A day in the studio could’ve been Mirza sitting in front of the midi keyboard trying dozens of sounds, one by one, waiting to find one that would strike both of us. There was a lot of candy involved and a dog named Luna. We were starting to figure out our process. Then we worked on music remotely, and I recorded a few things at a friend’s studio in Brooklyn. Those were short, but sweaty sessions in the middle of summer. The remaining tracks were recorded in Guatemala with Walter Monterroso Beaumont and another dog named Oly. Those were really effective sessions since Mirza had already figured out 90% of the arrangements, probably from his bedroom, and I would come in with all the lyrics already written down. I’d sit down to pick my favorite takes and then improvise the harmonies or ad-libs on top of that. It almost felt like we were looking all over for the pieces that would solidify a unique sound that could become ours.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
Sofia: Hmmm… I’m also an actor, but I guess this applies to the two careers since they both exist on a stage, they are performative, and there’s an energy exchange with an audience. I remember being in a dance class when I was about 10 and there being an end of the year recital at a proper theatre. I don’t remember the songs or the dance steps or the names of my classmates, but I will never forget the rush I got from being up there, creating a moment with the crowd and then hearing them roar at curtain call. It sounds cheesy, but I instantly knew I wanted to feel that again and again and again.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Sofia: Water bottle.
Mirza: Extra computer chargers
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Sofia: Daudi Matsiko, Gia Margaret, Divino Niño, InnerWave.
Mirza: CLD.RAN, Woulg, Ed is Dead, Grabek.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Sofia: The view.
Mirza: Iced Lattes + extra shots of espresso.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
Sofia: Whatever I have in front of me. Haha It changes from place to place. Right now, it’s just a Shure SM 57 instrument mic and my laptop to record ideas.
Mirza: Same. At the moment just a laptop and a midi keyboard.
Any side projects you’re working on?
We’ll call them parallel projects hehe: Easy Easy, Arms and Sleepers, Saigon Would Be Seoul, GOD vs. BALKAN MAN.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
Absorbing, communicating, collaborating, asking around and actively seeking answers.
Break down the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
A debut album that will forever be a presentation card for ERA C; the music that brought us to existence. We have been working on this project for a while parallel to Arms and Sleepers + Easy Easy, which are the music projects that brought us together in the first place, so it was important to us that we gave this one its own voice, its own sound, and its own breathing space somewhere within our crazy-manic (sometimes) and multi-segmented (always) artist brains / schedules. We’re planning on putting out more music – besides these first tracks in the album – as well as physical formats of our releases and ways for anyone who listens to us to see through us. And who knows, if the situation allows *knock on wood*, our very first live performances.
Famous last words?
“There’s no knowledge I need besides knowing you” (ok… maybe these are just lyrics, and maybe we do need to know more, but still… they are very true words :~)).
Follow ERA C:
By Sarah Britton