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Interview: Community Garden Presents Eartheater (NYC)

Interview: Community Garden Presents Eartheater (NYC)

C.C. / Sam Longmore / Friday 24th January, 2020 9:30AM

US club experimentalist Eartheater, the project of Alexandra Drewchin, arrives in Tāmaki Makaurau this weekend for her debut NZ headline performance at underground music stronghold Whammy Bar, fresh from a summer run of Australian shows (including a Sydney bushfire relief fundraiser tonight) and the late 2019 release of her fourth studio album Trinity. Ahead of this weekend's Community Garden-presented event, with support from Blood Mothers – the avant-nesian project of Samara Alofa and Pipiana Hēmi – and DJ Sweat, Aotearoa electronic imprint mf/mp head honcho Sam Longmore caught up with the Queens-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and vocalist via email. Scroll downwards for their conversation...

Community Garden presents Eartheater (NYC)
Saturday 25th January - Whammy Bar, Auckland w/ Blood Mothers, DJ Sweat

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Sam Longmore: On a release like Angel Lust Eartheater takes form amidst these beautiful, intricately layered pieces, recalling an almost orchestral sensibly, but just as often Eartheater is an energetic, danceable and very much contemporary sounding entity (even futuristic), for example on a track such as 'High Tide'. I don’t mean to suggest that these inclinations should be oppositional necessarily, but was wondering about the process through which you develop Eartheater material. Could you walk through the basics of your compositional process?

Eartheater: LEYA wrote the instrumental for 'Angel Path' I laid the vocals down one afternoon when the emotion was perfect. Once the feeling is there then it’s hardly a process. It just comes out. After singing the song I’ll go back and change some of the lyrics and then add layers but that’s basically it. With "High Tide" I was working with my friend Acemo. I would write synth lines and make ear candy packs and then kind of direct him as he’s way faster in the DAW than I – nibbling adderall and drinking beers all night long. Then once the song was perfect I’d sit on the beat until, again, the right vibe takes over. When the vibe is right I sing the whole song almost in one take and then add layers. I’ve been really enjoying collaborating with people this year hence being able to make so much in a short time. I dunno – I get very clear visions. I don’t use formula – every song has a very different identity and feeling. I just try to be honest.

Your Eartheater work takes influence from many spheres, and I was wondering about how the project began and what it is informed by. Do you come from a musical background? Was there a pivotal moment when you released, “yes, I will be a musician”?

I played music all my life. In high school I was way more into visual art though and I was set on art school. However, my family was going through really hard times and we didn’t have any money so art school (signing my life away to student debt) seemed like a bad idea so I took the path of least resistance and followed music. I started playing in bands in NYC when I was 18.

What is your biggest influence outside of music?

I love film and fashion – though if you asked me to name a film or a designer I get nervous and feel claustrophobic in having to just name a few. I’m more inspired by those moments in life that feel cinematic and by those people that dial their energy perfectly into they’re look. To me, the established is less romantic than the happen-chance.

Could you explain a little about how Eartheater moves between live and studio settings? Do you have a preference? What does it take to bring material from one context to the other successfully?

At the moment I like studio better than live. I wish I wasn’t so tortured by the notion of perfection but I am. In the studio I can get very close to something that feels quite perfect and crystalline. Live is like gambling. It’s thrilling and magical but sometimes it can go horribly wrong. Luckily I’m kind of an embarrassment junky and get off on that to some degree. But ya, the studio is my fave.

You have collaborated with a number of amazing artists, again across disciplines. Without listing them in order of absolute preference or anything like that, has there a collaborative experience that stands out for any particular reason?

Trinity was the best collaborative thing I’ve done. It happened so naturally with friends that lived in my neighborhood. All those producers really believed in my vision too. It’s so important to feel trusted.

How does your situation in NYC inform the Eartheater project? Is your immediate environment important to you and your work?

Yes I’m very inspired by my friends and family. Sometimes I feel like I’m making work just for my friends.


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Community Garden: Eartheater
Sat 25th Jan 9:00pm
Whammy Bar, Auckland