Your dad just calls her Katya, but the ghost of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is about to label her the lithe ingenue coming for his crown as the most iconic musician of all time.
The drag icon has made a (super Russian) name for herself as one of the world's premier comedy queens, but after climbing the New York Times best-seller list and maintaining her comedic reign over digital streaming, for her next career move, the Boston native exclusively tells EW she "wanted to answer the [call] that so many fans have been asking: Please don't do music" by, well, doing music.
"I’m not a planner. I’ve actually been working on it for two or three years just trying to get all the melodies right," Katya says of her forthcoming EP Vampire Fitness on a recent installment of EW's Instagram Live show Queening Out, though it's unclear whether she's speaking earnestly or in jest as she references the onslaught of fellow RuPaul's Drag Race alums who have taken a stab at recording careers, whether vocally inclined or otherwise. Luckily, Katya falls into the former category, just not in ways you might expect. "I’ve been at the piano for two or three years. I had to take a break so I kind of shelved it.... I'm vacillating between periods of humiliation and enthusiasm about the project."
The result is an experimental digital distortion of European dance, sex, orgasmic wailing, the sounds of murder, spoken sermons about self-administered dentistry, and, of course, Italian cuisine, all tied together as a "multi-pronged, many-tiered assault" on listeners with "consonant clusters" found in Russian pop songs.
"I wanted to do music that you could hear, like, in a club that I've never been to," Katya promises. "Maybe in a Diane Keaton movie."
Vampire Fitness is out Nov. 13. Read on for EW's exclusive track-by-track breakdown with Katya.
"Come in Brazil"
Drag superstar Alaska joins Katya for a divine intercontinental expression of lust as the pair crafts a lush soundscape inspired by incessant fan pleas for drag queens to perform in the song’s titular South American nation. “The chorus is in Portuguese,” Katya reveals of the EP's first single, though the lyrical content is far too explicit to list here, but we can confirm that it does involve commanding a derriere onto one’s facial region. “These are things I learned not through reading books or watching television programs, but through people screaming them at me all the time,” recalls Katya.
Katya describes her collaboration with longtime professional partner Trixie Mattel as a "bar mitzvah barn-burner," and that her fellow Drag Race alum and Trixie and Katya's Guide to Modern Womanhood co-author was "really cooperative" in the songwriting process. "To me, this is such a joke, because once you hear the song, it’s like four words from a movie," Katya says of the number that takes cues from Ukrainian star Svetlana Loboda's "Boom Boom" and Eurodance — a stark genre departure from Mattel's typical brand of folk-rock realness.
"She says 'Jame Gumb' [Buffalo Bill's real name in The Silence of the Lambs]. That’s so funny to me. It’s a joke we had.... between the two of us on Twitter for weeks, and nobody thought it was funny because it wasn’t.” Lesson: If they're not laughing with you... or at you... turn it into a song. They'll love it.
Not sure how to pronounce this one? We're not, either. That's a mysterious tongue-twister reserved only for Katya and all of Mother Russia. But, she's letting us in on the secret: "It just looks like a bunch of sticks on the ground. That was the funny thing about it: I love language [but] it's so arbitrary," Katya explains. "I don't want to bore you with poetics, but that one is a very experimental song. It's not going to be played on [Kiss FM] anytime soon."
Why, you ask? "At one point we recorded me having an orgasm and then shrieking as I was being violently murdered," she teases. "Then we were like, 'What if an alien chipmunk were to go through that thing? It's just fun. But it's a real groovy beat."
Vampire Fitness isn’t merely a musical experiment, it’s a sonic self-help guide that forces listeners to approach everyday activities with new, vomit-inducing zest: “Do you love going grocery shopping, but do you always have a hard time finding exactly what you need to make that perfect ravioli dish?” Katya asks, stressing that the EP’s song about the titular Italian cuisine has the perfect solution to your woes. “Let me tell you, look no further than your own house. In fact, you never have to leave your house again. You just go right into the bathroom, you open up the toilet seat, and you take out some human s--- or human piss, and you roll that into your f---ing ravioli feast.”
Katya says the song goes where no other tune has before, and marks a milestone for fluid representation as it touches on five different variations of the bodily liquid, ranging from that of humans to dogs, cats, and even rodents — “mostly for the purposes of rhyming in the songwriting,” she clarifies of the lyrical inclusivity. “I feel like we got the essence of Italy. You know how Jaida Essence Hall is the essence of beauty? Ravioli is the essence of Italy.”
"Be Your Own Dentist"
Warning: Katya is not a licensed medical professional. But, that isn't stopping her from spouting very serious, absolutely valid (no, not really) advice on how to remove a tooth from your own head via this linguistic construction that's not really a song, but not really full slam poetry, either.
"I love those guided meditations, but I always find them to be a little bit boring. So, spice it up!" says Katya. "What if we just, you know, take out your own teeth…. I thought it would be funny if kids with good manual dexterity could get some pliers, they stumble upon the track on their headphones, and push comes to shove, and little Susie Q’s got no teeth!"
When asked if she anticipates a lawsuit (or several) as a result of the track, she pauses and smiles: "Mary, that's not really possible." Why? Who knows, but, if we've learned anything, probing the meaning of whatever Katya's doing on Vampire Fitness is a futile effort: It's an experience best served hard and raw.
Watch Katya's full interview on Queening Out above, and catch the next installment of Queening Out featuring guest Yvie Oddly on Entertainment Weekly's Instagram Live this Thursday at 2 p.m. ET.