Do you ever think to yourself, ‘Huh…Katya’s pretty weird…but I bet she can’t do anything stranger than she has already in her career through the years’?
THINK AGAIN, MY DRAGGY FRIENDS: because no amount of tiny hands, rubber chickens, and posing with surgically removed limbs during the meet and greets will EVER have prepared you for what this crazy b*tch has done now.
She’s released a music EP. And when I say a music EP…I mean a music EP filled with songs that are probably on the ‘favorites’ playlist of Satan himself, currently. Songs that are a musical window into the otherworldly mind of this person who is notorious for being as mad as a box of mutant toads in OUTER SPACE.
Released in the climax of a year that was of apocalyptic proportions of badness, the 2020 EP ‘Vampire Weekend’ has truly been not only every Katya-fan’s jush – but every drag music lover’s jush, too!
Katya credits Alvaro Masa and Andrew Yang for the cover-art of her debut EP. As you can see, it is quite strange and saucy: two things we definitely know by now to expect from Katya.
It seems to draw inspiration collectively from the old-school campiness of Hammer, Nosferatu and other vintage horror, and the surrealist and tacky vibe of noughties horror-comedy, and slow-burn 1990s horror-drama, Twin Peaks. Like the album title itself, the artwork is filled with oxymoronic imagery: lavish tackiness; divine sinfulness; artistic garbage.
Just like Katya herself.
Can we just talk about how she is just lying naked on that chez-lounge, feigning sleepy damsel when really, she’s like ‘Yes, hell-spawn, drag me down. Take me NOW.’
And you thought Bella Swan was gagging for that hot, cursed, vampire sex and to meet her eternal destiny through the bite of her monstrous lover? Sure, the vampire in the artwork (also portrayed by the genius behind Katya, Brian McCook) is not perhaps as outwardly sexy or mainstream attractive as Edward Cullen…but I mean…you’d be lying if you said you weren’t kinda into this creature.
Also, the colour palette EXTREMELY Katya. When I think of her brand, I think of that monochrome and red. Dimmed lighting and strange, juxtaposing textures within staging of the cover shot also make it a piece of art in and of itself.
It’s…ALIVE!: Creating the Musical Monster-piece
Joe Lynch, of Billboard, states that Katya’s original thought process for this album was to base the songs on tracks that already existed by several drag-race alumni. The response-song concept was quickly discarded (Come in Brazil being the only remnant of that), replaced by a sound aesthetic fit for vampires seeking a playlist to loop in their eternally undead gym sessions. We really dig that here at Drag Adventures!
One thing I think a lot of drag music tries to do is make someone who is not a singer into a singer. This album, to my mind, does not do that. Instead, Tomas Costanza’s production has rather ingeniously utilized her full range of characteristically Katya vocalizations to weave together a rather intricate and unique otherworldly cacophony. Costanza’s writing credits also cite him as responsible for music within monstrous shows like Dexter and American Horror Story, so Katya and he seem like a musical match made in heaven (or hell)! Katya herself (according to Lynch) stated that someone informed her the tracks sounded like ‘monsters having sex’, which is a compliment she allegedly took. It is also unsurprising that Katya utilizes her gifts as a linguist within the lyrical content of the album. She draws on nearly as many spoken languages within her songs (English, Russian, Portuguese, Italian) as she does musical genres.
The way she plays with elements of vocality of these languages, particularly within Ravioli and глаз. From the guttural utterings and the dark, sexy way in which she speaks Russian to the ironically (and iconically) un-romantic way she rolls her R’s and staccatos out a variety of Italian swears and names of foodstuffs, alongside Costanza’s intellectually crafted sonic production have surely been the electrical current that have brought this album to life!
The musical fusion within this album is unlike any other Rugirl drag music album currently out there. This is unsurprising considering the fact this is Katya we are talking about. Katya, whose personal tastes in literally everything is anything but mainstream: electro-industrial, spoken-word (I mean, we are talking about the biggest fan of Same Parts by Tatianna) and Russian pop/Eurodance.
However, it does play with some popular culture elements, which means the EP reaches a happy medium, palatability mixing with elements that are only for the bravest of connoisseurs willing to dabble and embrace Katya’s most terrifyingly odd delicacies. Ding Dong! and Come in Brazil definitely run along a particular vein we know we love already within drag music, including Alaska Thunderfuck featuring heavily in the latter (as the song is in reference to her own song, Come to Brazil).
They still have a very Katya vibe though, particularly Ding Dong!– the purposeful discordance, the cameo feature by Trixie Mattel mentioning the serial murderer from Silence of the Lambs, and Russian-pop elements obviously borrowed from Loboda’s original track Boom Boom! Another example is Be Your Own Dentist (a spoken-word piece with vibes of The Night Before Contact, which Katya recorded for album collaborator and right-hand-woman Trixie Mattel’s Christmas EP Homemade Christmas in 2017). This piece plays on mindfulness techniques and perhaps for some, ASMR: both popular ways of alleviating stress in this modern world we live in. However, what starts as a relaxing listening experience is actually a rather gut-churning one: the nearly 7-minute track, as it turns out, turns into a harrowing tutorial on self-dentistry. A parody of Headspace and such other apps and mindfulness podcasts, the instructions being purred into one’s ears are obviously not to be tried at home, kids: no matter how much you love Katya and want to gift her with your teeth in meet and greets!
She’s a madwoman. But we’ve been knew. And if you weren’t already aware of it, get into it…ooooh Barbara, get into THIS GIG. Vampire Fitness is an album with something for every Katya fan, and I’d say will definitely win her some new fans, without a shadow of a doubt! It is a ten from me, Susie-Ann! Bravo…Brava…Bravi!
Written by Contributor Frilly