From an early age, Erika showed an affinity for technology and using it to express herself. At age 13 she was running a Bulletin Board System from her bedroom. In 1997, after moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan, she joined local techno outfit Ectomorph and “went to bootcamp,” as she recalls, learning about programming and performing live electronic music. Two years later, in 1999, she set up erika.net, a freeform streaming radio station that ran for 17 years. Today, the producer and musician continues to perform and release music both on her own and as one-half of Ectomorph alongside Brendan M. Gillen, with whom she also runs the Interdimensional Transmissions label.
In this episode of Studio Science, recorded in her home studio in Detroit, Erika uses the same Roland SH-101 synthesizer she was first tasked with upon joining Ectomorph two decades ago to break down her approach to analog synthesis. She details how synthesis lies at the root of her creative process and explains how she uses it to create sketches of songs, as well as improvised performances.