Meet Evelyn Drach
She describes herself as a voyeur, untangling symbolism and searching for the quiet truth beneath the surface.
Evelyn Drach is musician and a storyteller whose work brings together fragments of memories and stories collected throughout her life. From the ghats and funeral pyres of Varanasi, the vast deserts of the Middle East and the Amazon jungle to the French countryside and the heart of London, E.Drach has spent her life following stories across the world. Often this has led to living in extreme isolation.
Her music is lead by her lyrics through which she talks about collective history, ancestral memory and the subconscious realm. Using sound samples collected from her travels, experimental beats, string instruments and spoken word interludes, her music is a collage of sound and thought. Evelyn’s music is presented in strange situations. She wants it to be stumbled upon or uncovered like a lost memory. Her events take place in unusual venues, sometimes abandoned buildings or deep underground. She invites the audience into her realm, and asks them to step sideways in time into a parallel reality filled with symbolism and questions.
Her new releases ‘Never Let Me Go’ and ‘Follow Me’ which will be launched on Spotify on 4th June 2018 come from her debut album ‘Up With The Smoke’. Never Let Me Go is an electronic-alternative-pop-esque song that talks about love after death, Follow Me begins as a conventional folk song and segues into a story reflecting on the meaning of beauty.
And Artstein is pleased to publish her very first interview prior to her single launch.
A: Hello Evelyn, thank you for meeting me today.
Evelyn: My pleasure.
A: Starting with the question that I’m most curious about. I have to ask. – So, how is life after death?
Evelyn: Life and death are one and the same, eternally rolling into each other like waves across the ocean. I didn’t use to understand this. When I was younger I saw them as separate like light and dark or two worlds kept apart by a vast void, but then I lived beside the funeral pyres in Varanasi and I watched bodies as they became one with the wood beneath them, as they charred and released, the air breathing up the smoke and the bystanders breathing in that air in an endless cycle. There where the veil between the worlds is so very thin and fragile, the void collapses and everything is one and the same. A child is born, someone dies, the ashes of one body becomes part of the fabric and essence of another. This is where I woke up for the first time and understood that somehow I had been lied to, that we had been lied to, a fundamental truth had been hidden. The truth that we are all an extension of each other, flesh, air, thought and action; born and dying endlessly from the beginning of humanity to the final breath of our species somewhere far in the future.
A: Is it really true that you came back to life 100th times? And you look so young..
Evelyn: I lived and died a hundred deaths and more. Reborn in every generation, each limb of the family tree holding a new chapter of an on-going story. A collective history binding us together as one body and separating us through our actions. Now I face the world as if for the 100th time, trying to understand the lessons of my ancestry. Trying to live with the weight of history, not seeing myself as an individual. Yes I have come back to life 100 times and more and so have you, for you are the product of over a 100 generations of stories.
I will be marking my 100th Reincarnation on the 4th June at The Box in Soho. For one night a venue of hedonism will become a temple, reborn again to tell a new chapter of an ongoing narrative.
A: It is really fascinating that, you are collecting memories from all these years..
Evelyn: Memory is so slippery. Threads of stories pass through families. We search for something that feels true, that we can connect to. Sometimes I find comfort in an object long-forgotten, loved by someone many years ago and now discarded and somehow rediscovered. I pick through possessions left in abandoned buildings and try to delve into their memories, to feel the history of the place, to listen to its creaks, to the conversations long past that still echo through the architecture.
I wonder if this makes me a voyeur, looking into worlds that perhaps I shouldn't know. Delving into the memories of others. But stories wait beneath the surface of everything and every place, hoping to be unearthed or buried deeper.
A: What is the happiest memory you have from all this time?
Evelyn: My memories are all bitter sweet. Often the happiest are underlined by an inevitable fact that is deeply mournful. Similarly the saddest ones can be painfully beautiful. I found fake flowers in an empty house and they made me think about beauty and whether a symbol of beauty can be as potent as the object it refers to. I have lived in the depths of the jungle with someone I love and fallen out of time, forgotten the city and the endless babble. I have walked through barren deserts and felt the bliss of disappearing and reassurance of being beneath a constant sun.
The happiest moments are the ones where I have felt almost irrelevant, just part of a vast landscape, no more than a breathing form, existing for a brief moment in time.
A: What is the worst?
Evelyn: I don’t want to share it, but I feel it in my bones in every stage of my life, as my body grows older, I feel it in the lines in my hand, in my hair and my skin.
A: Can you please tell me a story?
Evelyn: I was walking along a beach in the Middle East and I found a place where two ocean tides meet and all of the stones on the beach are shaped like hearts. Along the shore it was an almost perfect landscape disrupted by an oil rig. I collected the heart shaped stones and placed them in my pockets, I carried them around the world with me and left them in places of significance, I left some of the graves of loved ones. One day many years later, I was walking through London, I had no particular direction. After hours I stopped on a pavement, I had an overwhelming feeling, like I had entered a glitch in time. I sat down against a wall and ran my fingers along the pavement, where daises were growing between the cracks in the paving stones. I felt something on the floor, a heart shaped stone, almost identical the one I had left on my grandfathers grave thousands of miles away, years passed. He always used to say ‘I’ll rest when I’m dead, pushing up the daisies’. I thought about this and his stone and every second that passes, the beautiful ones that we don’t always see.
That moment became words and then music and now the single Never Let Me Go which is about everything we have just spoke about, hope in darkness, beauty in pain, love in friendship. Its a happy song, but wherever there is joy there is also a shadow.