This Friday, the indie-pop duo Eric + Erica will be performing at the Pinhook in Durham. The performance is a test run of sorts, since the pair will be moving to the Bull City – and, most likely, performing there a lot – next year.
“I had a wonderful experience growing up in Durham, and I moved out to California just to try to experience something totally new,” says keyboardist/vocalist Eric Kuhn, who met his partner, autoharpist/vocalist Erica Fink, in Oakland. “And I learned a lot out there and got exposed to a lot of different things. And, in that time, Durham has grown in a lot of really, really exciting ways. It’s become a lively community, especially around arts and creative pursuits.”
Calling from Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the pair spent Thanksgiving with Fink’s family, both Kuhn, 30, and Fink, 25, tell how they first got to know each other three years ago.
“We eventually met through mutual friends who were musicians and artists, so Erica knew that I played music,” says Kuhn. “I was making music with a friend of hers at the time and was just kind of part of a similar scene. And, then, I heard a bunch of different home recordings that Erica was posting on Soundcloud that I completely fell in love with.
“I mean, they were really beautiful, but they were also really stripped down. And, so, I had all these ideas in my head about ways to brush them out and add to them. That was kind of like the genesis of the band, doing those.”
As they began crafting their ethereal, dream-pop sound, their partnership eventually blossomed into a full-fledged relationship. “We’ve been in a relationship for a thousand years,” jokes Fink. Adds Kuhn, “Either a thousand years – or January of this year.”
Kuhn says the connection he and Fink instantly felt made it quite obvious that a romantic coupling would be right around the corner. “I would say that, from the get-go of knowing each other, there’s always been, like, a really strong bond there,” he says. “And so it feels like the entire time we’ve known each other, we’ve been very, very close and kind of really desiring to connect.”
Like many musical duos who’ve been romantically linked in the past, their personal and professional relationship gives them plenty of musical inspiration.
“The thing that’s really nice about it is that it means that both things kind of feed each other – the shared experience and the strength of the relationship and the day-to-day life and that kind of stuff,” says Kuhn. “So art can be present in all of that and vice-versa.”
Officially a year and a half in the DIY music game, Eric + Erica dropped the 4-song EP “You Try” in March before coming out with their full-length debut “This Is Where” last month. (Both releases can be found on their Bandcamp page – ericandericamusic.bandcamp.com.)
“I think a really big part of what our band is and what we do collaboratively is we just try to pay attention to, like, our different intuitive responses to each other and to what we’re experiencing in our town and in our community,” says Fink. “And I’ll just say that we set out to be part of a specific genre, but I guess we just are naturally inclined toward melodies and lyrics and, particularly, singing certain words to draw attention to specific moments and having the music reflect that.”
As they plan to make a home right here in the Triangle, the two are most looking forward to becoming a part of the local music community.
“I mean, there’s always been a really strong music scene there,” says Kuhn. “But I feel like right now, in particular, Durham and the Triangle area, there are just tons of great music and arts happening and a lot of support – like, not just a lot of musicians, but just the culture of the city. And the area seems really open to that.”