What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I’ve been writing forever, everything from diaries, short stories, poems, songs, but in the past 5 years song-writing has taken over and become my main focus. I’ve always loved language and the limitless ways words can be used, playing with meaning and imagery, trying to distill to make something that feels honest. Drach is my family name from my mothers side. The Drach’s were from Transylvania and came to the UK during WWII to escape persecution. There’s many stories in my family about a woman generations back, a mystic and storyteller – a healer. Threads have been passed down and its believed in each generation this woman manifests in a different body, the women of my family acting as vessels used to carry a timeless story. I was living in Varanasi beside the funeral pyres in 2013, staring into the cremation fire every day to meditate on my own history and our collective human narrative. Around that time I felt a strange shift and I began to write my first album Up With The Smoke I think that’s when it seized me, the ancestral narrative. That’s when I stopped seeing myself as an individual but rather as a continuation of a lineage and a story.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
An Archipelago Rises is my most recent release. It’s a strange piece of music, somewhere between trip-hop, alternative rock and I don’t know what. There are snippets from short stories I’ve written, Middle Eastern beats, machine noises, harmonising voices, half-chanted singing, sound samples from Varanasi and language. I don’t want to say too much about the story behind it, I think its quite self-explanatory but it demands the listeners full attention. Its critical of dogma, systems, political conflict, but at the same time its about understanding and recognising oneself in someone that may feel threatening or other.
“The centrifugal forces that propelled an exodus, unravelled in the collective subconscious
The metropole magnetised the children, the councillor, the barbarian and the beast
Financial gains usurped compassion and forged a new shape of belief
The gods waited in the eaves, the tabernacle, the pulpit, transported in the dead of the night
I recognise your skin, its the same skin I wear when I’m afraid
I recognise your need for something you can’t comprehend”
This track was released in the same month as False Premise which is the sister track. It explores similar ideas but in a much more personal and reflective way. If An Archipelago Rises is a perspective from the centre of the chaos, False Premise is the viewpoint from the removed outsider looking in and questioning or perhaps trying to run away.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
I’m influenced by everything. I think of myself as a detective trying to uncover life’s secrets. I’ve been influenced by living around the world in conflict zones and quiet remote places. I’m influenced by the sounds of different landscapes, music and writing from all over the world, artists, philosophers, storytellers and mythologies. Ancient religions and spiritual practices… To name a few people: Eduardo Galeano, TS Elliot, Milton, Ernesto Sabato, Kobo Abe, Lucia Berlin, Virginia Woolf, Leonard Cohen, Marina Abramovic, Ivor Cutler, Kate Bush, Howlin’ Wolf, Mario Beneditti, Björk. Philip Glass, Terry Riley, Ella Fitzgerald, Fever Ray, Coco Rosie, Alejandro Jodorowsky…
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
My sound is a tapestry, it collages together different genres, its not fixed and its not trying to be either. I’m a mix between a conceptual maker and an intuitive one and often I’m creating stories that are spread out and even hidden across my work that I hope one day people will unravel. Maybe I’m a bit insane, my music is just a reflection of the chaos of my mind trying to find clarity. Its the sound of a journey with no resolution and no clear direction. It can be challenging or very simple.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
ALBUMS: ’You Want It Darker’ by Leonard Cohen, ’The Boatman’s Call’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds ‘Untold Things’ by Jocelyn Pook
MOVIES: ‘Nostalgia’ by Tarkovsky, ‘Wild Strawberries’ by Ingmar Bergman, Fellini’s ‘8 1/2’
BOOKS: ‘Trilogy of Fire’ by Eduardo Galeano, ‘To The Lighthouse’ by Virginia Woolf, ‘On Heroes and Tombs’ by Ernesto Sabato
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
The studio process is really exciting because its like excavating. I begin with a structure and an idea build it up until its absolutely compact and then strip it right back until all that remains is the most necessary parts. I love performing though, more than anything, because performance itself is a material – the energy of the room, time, the mini universes of everyone in the audience – its so rich – anything can happen and each second can lead in so many possible directions.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I think my music career so far has been pretty strange. I definitely don’t fit into the mainstream. I’m a bit of an outsider looking in and not really getting whats going on but not really caring either. I’m on some strange, nonsensical journey that feels quite unstuck from time.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I’m not really sure. Sometimes I make something I think its really simple and other people think its unique and likewise sometimes I make something I think is really special and other people don’t see that. Every track on my record has something unique to it, each track I think of as a little world feeding into one larger universe of sound. Even really generic music is unique because of the time and place its made in, every voice will be relevant to someone somewhere.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
On October 31st I’m playing a special live show in London at a venue called SET on Dalston Lane. I’m supporting ROMAN whose an amazingly enigmatic and mesmerising performer. He’s launching his album ‘Sexual Years’, it will be a night of immersive performance with surprises. In November I’m off to Morocco for an artist residency in Tangier and going to meet the famed master musicians. Next year I’ll be in California for a few weeks, unravelling new work and performing in Oakland and LA.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Photos credits: Sam Gregg (main), Manon Ouimet (2nd photo)
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
Connect with Evelyn Drach:
Link for October 31st gig: https://www.residentadvisor.net/events/1169557