May 12, 2023 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | By Jan Alfaro
Eartheater, a.k.a. Queens-based artist Alexandra Drewchin, is an alien and fashion muse on the rise. Her music can be described as industrial-spiked pop, yet simplifying her music into a genre, even a niche one, is a disservice and impossible as it requires the precedence of at least two adjectives. Records are ephemeral, rich, emotional, sexy, and out of this world, seemingly an easy task for her to dive deep into her thoughts and create music that sounds raw and innovative.
Born in Pennsylvania to a Russian dad and English mother, homeschooled by her mother after her parents divorced at a young age, and raised very strict orthodox Christian, her upbringing seems contradictory to the provocative and experimental music that she releases. Though, she says her eccentricity and constant defiance of expectations is in part due to growing up on a farm with sheep, horses, chickens, and a limited social life. This chronic loneliness has forced her to have a very overactive imagination, she reflects.
While homeschooled, arts were a main focus. Drewchin first learned the piano and then violin at age 12, only to quit a year later. She couldn’t stay away from music though. When she entered public high school as a sophomore, she was introduced to new music through peers including Lil’ Kim and Cocteau Twins. Always surrounded by sound, Drewchin eventually learned the guitar. Upon finishing high school at the age of 17, she moved to New York as a planned gap year before attending art school; her schooling came to an end after getting scouted a year later by soul singer Roberta Flack who became her mentor for all things music industry.
Far from living a glamorous life, Drewchin couch-surfed and eventually lived in a building where water would pour onto her bed from a crack in the window and pots had to be laid out to catch excess water. Aside from her living situation, she was surrounded by creative and thought-provoking friends who inspired her to start creating the music that she first put out.
As a singer, songwriter, composer, and poet, Drewchin uses orchestral sounds that are layered with various octaves of vocals, something of incredible talent. In this way, her sounds are classical yet experimental and contemporary as she incorporates atypical and surprising mediums to create a sonic tapestry.
Various ventures include velvety rhythms, harp and guitar arpeggios, dissonating violin strings, and high notes with an assortment of superimpositions that culminate whale-sounding harmonies. Her image is particularly curated to provoke a high sex appeal, most of the time feeling gooey in a sensual way (think the fashion brand Mugler, which Drewchin has walked and created musical projects for). Because of her strong creative direction, she has attracted other high-end brands like Chanel and Proezna Schouler.
Releasing her first solo music in 2015, the pseudonym Eartheater was inspired by Gabriel García Márquez’s novel, “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” where a young girl eats dirt to pacify her anxiety. Her debut album “Metalepsis” was well-received and quickly followed by her second record, “RIP Chrysalis,” released only eight months later. It was her third studio album, “Irisiri,” that proved to be her breakout. The album opener “Peripheral” has been described as “a mesmerizing harp sequence that segues into an explosion of pixelated electronic sludge, wilting like flowers, sighing like computer exhaust.” Accurate, in my opinion.
Then in 2019, she released her third studio album, “Trinity,” which contains the first track I heard by her, “Supersoaker.” The album is filled with strip-club slow jams and includes additional personal favorites, “Spill the Milk” and “High Tide.” One year later, she released her fourth studio album, “Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin,” which contains the second song I heard and probably my favorite, “Below The Clavicle.” I don’t really know how to describe this song and I read a review saying it gives folky indie vibes, but it doesn’t, so I’d just say it’s soothing and jarring in its soft vocals and anatomical references.
During the first COVID-19 lockdown year, Drewchin reworked an ambient version of the 2019 album, proving her deviant range in musical genres. She’s currently been in the works of completing two records, “Powder” and “Aftermath,” which have been delayed due to her keen sense of perfecting the sounds.
As a musical provocateur and fashion icon, Eartheater’s growth has been one similar to the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Said herself with her two unreleased projects, they are supposed to represent the parts of mutation, the moment right before entering a chrysalis and the moments during it. This representing such a small and specific point in a butterfly’s life cycle, Eartheater acknowledges and conceptualizes the growth she has undergone and will undergo as an artist. So, keep an eye out. The associated playlist includes Eartheater-esque songs that I love – one of my favorite types of music to listen to – so enjoy.