Lani and Ericka

By Jenn Rose Smith

If there’s anything better than a friend willing to lend you a good outfit, it’s one who’s willing to lend you a great album. Best friends and musicians Lani Thomison and Ericka Herod are knee-deep in both, and their shared love for vinyl and fashion are just two of the things that keep this Austin friendship ticking. While Lani is a vocalist in the band Keeper, Ericka can often be spotted holding down the turntables as the DJ at one of the best bars in Austin, the Living Room. We met up with this crazy fun pair of besties at Juiceland in Hyde Park to talk about good albums, great haircuts, and keeping it way real.

photographed by jessica attie


How long have you two been friends? How did you meet?

Lani: I’ve known E for seven or so years, we met through our mutual friend and my bandmate, Yadira Brown. I had known/seen Ericka around, we were friends with the same people. We went to dinner one time and ever since then I’ve had an appreciation for her as a person and a creative in the city.


Ericka, we’ve seen you spinning one of our favorite hangouts, the Living Room at the W. At one point both of you were working down there. What do you love about the W?

Ericka: I love W hotel. Its my kind of crowd. I love the style and what the W represents as a company. Stylish, cool, and fun!

Lani: I love the aesthetic of the W, I appreciate that they appreciate good design principles.

Lani, we’ve spotted you around town performing with various musicians. Tell us about what you do:

Lani: I’m a vocalist first and foremost for a band called Keeper, with Erin Jantzen and Yadira Brown. Writing and performing are my biggest outlets for processing life. I’m not sure what I’d do without it. I also concierge at Key, a startup that works with vacation rentals and festivals like Lallapalooza and ACL. It’s pretty fun to curate experiences for guests, connecting with them about what to do in the city.


What would you say are your shared values as friends?

Ericka: Fashion, music, and honesty (keeping it way real).

Lani: We keep each other in check. A true friend will tell you the hard things, the things you need to hear from a place of love. I think we do that for each other, and that’s hard to find.

Both girls love the same smoothie from Juiceland in Hyde Park — the Hulk. The bright green drink consists of coconut water, banana, kale, spinach, whey protein and spirulina.

Ericka, tell us about a bit about your career. What do you love about what you do?

Ericka: I’m a graphic designer and I also dj. I love that I have two forms of creative expression. I have the chance to wow people in both fields. With Djing I get to move the crowed and bring people back to memories with certain songs.

Ericka, describe Lani in five words or less:

Talented, silly, compassionate, outgoing, and fearless.

And Lani, how would you describe Ericka?

She is a HAM, she is also positive, bold, and truthful.

Ericka, what do you admire about Lani’s style? What’s her best feature?

Ericka: Lani is one of the most stylish people in Austin. She always looks really fly and her hair is alway on point.
Her best feature would be all her different hair styles.

How do your musical tastes stack up? Do you turn each other on to new bands and artists?

Lani: Yes! Ericka is one of the friends I have that I know has similar taste in music, but doesn’t overlap. We are always sharing new music with each other and it’s always on point.

Ericka: Totally all the time. We share music often. When I hear something that sounds great Lani is the usually person i send it over to via chat. (We stay on chat like all the time.)

What are you both listening to right now?

Ericka: Sweet Thang by Shuggie Otis, Hey Life by Tune Yards, and Can You Get to That from Funkadelic

Lani: Thundercat, Jason Molina, Tom Vek, Son Lux, Tinashe and Bjork have all been in heavy rotation this week.


If you had to pick one song that reminds you of your bestie, what song would it be and why?

Ericka: Eddie Hazel – I Want You (she’s so heavy). Why… because this song is a stone-cold groove just like Lani!

Lani: There’s this song she sent me called Karma by Lady that is Ericka. haha. It’s soul and truth. All the good things.

How do you like to spend time together as friends? What are you always talking about?

Lani: We talk about relationships, we pass perspective back and forth, and new music we’re listening to. We build each other up a lot. It’s always very positive.


Tell us about a recent funny thing that happened while you were together:

Ericka: Well, I believe that’s every moment with me. I have never seen Lani not crack-up while being around me.

Lani: This photo shoot was pretty funny, I don’t think any of us kept a straight face. Which is the general situation when Ericka is around!


Lani, what do you admire about Ericka’s style? What’s her best feature?

Lani: Oh man, I could go on, but I am always impressed with her shoe and jewelry game. And let it be known, she had that haircut a few years before you did.

How does your bestie inspire you in general?

Lani: She inspires me to be a better person, to keep working to improve myself from the inside out. And to not take things too seriously.

Ericka: Lani gets me to look at things from a different perspective. And for me that is inspiring.

How do you see each other in ten years?

Ericka: I see Lani on tour and making amazing music. Hopefully I will get a backstage pass lol!

Lani: You know those older women who pass by and you think, oh man, she is owning it, that’s Ericka then and now.

Thank you ladies, for spilling the deets on your fun and music-filled friendship. We wanna be besties with both of y’all. Bad.

follow Ericka on instagram: @iwannabeher

follow Keeper on instagram: @_keeper3