One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In a collaborative shoot with hyperreal image makers Freel and Gorse, this saying is taken quite literally by Eartheater’s Alexandra Drewchin.
For this month’s Aesthetic, the 27-year- old musician wears an assemblage of outfits that includes two gigantic sponges ducktaped to her ears and a headpiece comprised of a ripped Sainsbury’s bag and a floppy disk. For Eartheater, this isn’t too out of the ordinary. “The body gets to speak through clothing,” she says, “I love to work with what’s around and try not to make too much waste. Like when the seat finally falls out of the chair, nail the frame to a tree to make a basketball hoop.”
It seems that Drewchin is always looking for ways to expand and grow as an artist. Her mantra is ‘matter over mind’. This not only manifests itself in the clothing she wears, but the way she uses her body. Throughout Drewchin’s typically gripping performances as Eartheater, physical movement is its own form of language. “I find the ouroboric-like shape of a deep back bend to be uniquely altering,” she says. “I prescribe this shape to myself and find it’s really helpful to unlock deep emotions while performing. When I contort, tremble, chatter or crawl on the floor like a wild dog, I experience something else just as altering.”
With Liturgy drummer Greg Fox, Drewchin is one half of primordial drone duo Guardian Alien. But primarily she is Eartheater. Abstraction and symbolism seem to be driving forces behind the Eartheater music. Drawing on pastoral influences and new age spirituality, her sound is both wildly experimental and completely compelling – a vivid excursion into the gentler side of noise. “I feel very polarised in my sonic impulses and desires,” she explains. At the moment, she’s writing a concerto using a free software orchestra, with violin solos recorded on an iPhone. “It’s like licking real whipped cream off of a plastic soft served ice-cream cone,” she says jokingly.
Fuelled by such contradictions, the Brooklyn-based musician describes herself as a ‘psychological pendulum’, swinging between chaos and composition. “I love to compose songs that use abstracted classical and pop paradigms that can support intricate lyrics,” she explains. Her 2015 record RIP Chrysalis, an expansive and freeform collision of synthetic sounds and psychedelic experimentation, takes this notion to its post modern, post-internet extremes. Themes of reality, subjectivity and perfection concern Drewchin in this futurist conception of existence. “I think a sunset is perfect in the sky but I think that the world created by humans is very imperfect,” she says. “In the past, I had a crippling desire to capture the sunset in all its glory, but now I know I never will and I’m fine with that”.
Humans are limited in their ability to reach perfection – a concept that is hinted at in the tattoos that adorn Drewchin’s hands, ‘warrior’ and ‘poetry’. It suggests that Eartheater – the warrior – is forever striving for the perfection that is poetry, but is held back by her humanity. Through Eartheater’s brilliantly warped world, though, Drewchin has managed to unshackle some other persistent obstacles. “I’ve unlocked a lot of inhibiting chains attached to the hooks of the impossible elegance and beauty standards enforced by patriarchy,” she explains. “I think I terrify some cis men.”
Words: Gunseli Yalcinkaya
Photography: Freel and Gorse
Styling: Clifford Jago