Meet Trinity
Vigorsky aka 

Eartheater




Is the mind like a fluid—magmatic, flowing? Does it hold our bones together while we ready for another self to adhere? To trans-form and slowly come to embody what change is necessary?


Pennsylvania-born, Queens-based multi-instrumentalist, artist, producer, and vocalist Trinity Vigorsky pushes Eartheater through a seismic shift in her newest album Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin (PAN Records). Not so much of an otherworld, but a zone planted in our own, Eartheater involves a nature rarely seen, candid in its lush scarcity. A fiery collection of 21st century paeans and elegies, consistent with the crisis of identity-making: what is fluidity to transformation? Vulnerability to shaping? A soft young rock experimenting with form.

Materializing from the fact of change, Phoenix is Trinity’s rebirth, spanning a decade of planning and production. Before signing to PAN, Trinity released under her name and in collaboration with others on Hausu Mountain. Phoenix is a return to Eartheater solo; composed, produced, and arranged by Eartheater alone. Eartheater’s commitment to her own individuality and personal vision shines through her and her work with or without others setting her aside from reference; she is uniquely her own making. Trinity incorporates samples from the ethereal realm with clashing classical ensembles, roused by voice in tracks such as “Below The Clavicle” and “Volcano.” Each romantic, slow-burning pitch crystallizing into a visceral presence, coalescing into a gust of wind refreshing the unceasing magma—Eartheater unveils the electronic and what is beneath? Molten rock extruding from a young volcano under pressure; new land in action. Time is a sonic landform and Eartheater traces the fissures back to the surface. 

 

Hot and magnetic, Eartheater talks to SNUFF on the toxicity of being untrue at the threshold of change, an ancient iceberg skidding across her mother’s farm, and the fear of infinity.




You just came back from an island?
Yeah, my friend had her birthday party on this very special island in the middle of the Hudson River. There were Lenape Ruins there and Aleister Crowley lived there forty days and forty nights. It is a very sacred place.

How would you describe Eartheater to people that never confronted you before?
I have these conversations with people that don’t know my music and I have to describe it in some way. I usually just say it’s dictated by a feeling first, y’know. And it’s that feeling that has then enabled me to learn a lotof different styles and techniques, skills because I’ll have a feeling and I’ll need to capture it and that’s forced me to be pretty adaptable. It’s just about an emotion first. An inescapable thing you have to get down.

And who is Trinity Vigorsky?
To be honest, I love the name Trinity and I love aliases. Whenever I order food I always give different names, I like trying them on. It’s about open-endedness. Really being open up to experiential fantasy. For instance, putting on the name Trinity...I think there is a lot of power in naming things. A song is not really finished for me until I name it. Then it adds a sort of fantasy to it—it projects an image in your mind that you then have to occupy. Trinity is also just...too many people knew my actual name and it would really bug me out. I would get confused as to how they knew me or how I knew them, or if I knew them. And I feel like people took advantage of that sometimes by yelling my name at a bar and coming up to me and trying to talk to me. I’m trying to get journalists to not use my legal name because it just gets really difficult sometimes. Now when people yell Trinity it’s like from Instagram or something. I can organize the chaos a little more that way. Vigorsky. I’m Russian, so it sounds like a Russian name but it’s also two names together as well.

How was the shift from working with a bunch of people to your independent work on Phoenix? I wrote and composed everything with Phoenix so there was a lot of solitary time. As it goes with chamber and classical music, I needed to have players to play that stuff. I was still in the studio with others a lot. Both of those records weren’t completely solitary. I was bossy with both, trust! With Phoenix, I was controlling every element. With Trinity, I pretty much sat down and produced most of those songs with the producers. I was there and I wrote majority of the synth lines and created most of the samples myself. Those last two records were way more involved with other people. My first records were pretty much solitary, I was all alone.
How was it working completely alone then working with others? It’s lovely, it’s a dream. It just happened very naturally. They’re my friends. These producers are just people I’m hanging out with every day anyway. We all live within a ten-block radius from each other and so we started working on that stuff, like making those instruments fucked up at 6 AM, lol. It materialized out of thin air. It just was really fun in a different way, like more social and just hype.

All in Queens?
Right on the border of Queen’s and Brooklyn.
You don’t have a lot of bio on you, which I love, because you have to draw people inward to your music rather than just explaining everything. And like you were saying, open-endedness.

You don’t want to stop the possibility of different arrivals with your listeners and people who come into contact with you and your work. Your album bio inspired this question: PHOENIX is a re-contextualization. A killing, and rebirth in one stroke. How long has that been in the works, and what prompted the transference?
I think I was just processing my journey including everything that has happened in my last record. This has been brewing for a really long time inside me. When I was in high school that’s when I started playing guitar and writing songs. I’ve always loved that stripped-down acoustic, singer-songwriter stuff. I don’t think I was ready to show that part of myself. I remember listening to this voice inside me that was like “You can’t do that yet” then all of a sudden, now, I feel like I’m ready to show that part of myself. I had to go through a lot of different worlds... explore and traverse different things inside myself before I could get so vulnerable in the sound. I guess a way to say it is it’s very much about the past lives that we have within our life. And the things that we move through. My relationship with memory and my relationship with the different people that we grow into and have to even murder, to kill off these parts of ourselves to become stronger and wiser. And yet, very warrior themed in that way. This abstract feeling of embracing the seasons dying throughout your life and then the rebirth. It’s just like—I don’t mind sounding corny—but it’s a personal mythological thing that became very clear in my lyrics and then I had to follow that. It felt very healing and needed emotionally for my processing, looking back at everything. Also, cleansing myself for what I need to do in the future.

I don’t think that sounds corny at all. I think it’s very important to maintain a personal mythology. Especially on a daily basis, it's the challenge to stay consistent and to remain in balance even to kill your Selves. How important is vulnerability when you’re confronted with the inexplicable?
It’s the process you have to go through to even know you have to be vulnerable, which is being honest with yourself. How To Fight is sort of about that. I was having this painful, difficult argument with someone I was very involved with at the time and it was that kind of argument where you realize that you do have to apologize, that you have to really genuinely apologize. You have to go through this personal, tumultuous, internal conversation with oneself first. And the just kill off your ego, but also to hold onto parts of you that you knew were right. Y’know? You can’t just become completely passive. That’s corny, that’s actually corny.Figuring out where you are actually, honestly need to be vulnerable, but then also holding on to where you’re actually right, y’know? And that’s healthy. I think it’s very unhealthy to become completely good and passive... that can be very dangerous. Balancing that nuance, balancing that line between crushing your ego and then finding how to resurrect your pride.
It’s really hard to balance that too. Some people will never learn how to do it for themselves because it’s so comfortable not to...time passes by enough where some feel like it’s okay to not do this work.
But it’s also so uncomfortable! I remember that moment where I wrote that song...I was so relieved when I was like just shut the fuck up bitch, y’know? Like, get over yourself. But also with dignity, I had to know exactly where I still had grounded. Vulnerability is never just that. It’s the relationship between all these different emotions together and identifying them.

Right, it’s like a relationship to be had.
Yeah, for sure.

What is it like performing music and releasing singles without an audience?
I miss it for sure, but I did need a break. I was feeling exhausted from touring and playing. Having to record a record and also be touring...when I was in Spain, I would be recording then get over to Moscow, Helsinki, London, go back and play another show and go back to New York and then Paris, it was insane. There was like two months where it was psycho. Frankly, I was so relieved to just go back to a slower pace and practice every day. Also just not making music at all. I luckily finished the record just before quarantine...it would’ve been so frustrating if I’ve been interrupted. I made some lovely things and stuff I really like, but also I’ve just been chilling.

And that’s super okay.
Super okay and I really needed it! I get really obsessed when I’m in my work zones when I’m making a record or in the studio. My family and friends are super patient and loving. They never give me shit. But I definitely kind of disappear for a while. There are zones where I’m not hanging out with my friends and not seeing my family, just working working working. So, it’s been nice to be hanging out with friends and family and sharing my music with them. The audience right now is my friends and family, and getting to celebrate our intimacy that we have and allow my music to be part of that and to share that with them.



What natural phenomena have you been taken by recently?
I shot all my press photos around my mom’s farm in Pennsylvania. Some of the lyrics that are in the album and feelings that are there are things that I’ve been holding onto like little gemstones since I was still living in Pennsylvania and when I started learning how to play guitar. I went back there to shoot the press photos and always visit this place called the Boulder Field. At the end of the last Ice Age, there was this huge iceberg that scraped down the side of the Earth and stopped right there close to my mom’s house and then it melted. It left all this sediment, like tons and tons of these huge boulders and it goes for miles. It’s so beautiful. I love going there. And when you put your ear to the boulders, you sort of lay down and curl up inside the boulder, you can hear water trickling down for like hundreds of feet, it sounds like. It’s like this old network of pockets and caves and you can hear them echoing. And there are these tons of crazy huge wild spiders and snakes, it’s like this really intense habitat.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.
Part of the art direction I was really adamant about in shooting these photos is that I wanted lots of nature, but I didn’t want any green. I wanted it to be ashous and rocky, rich in that way. In that same area where my mom lived, it used to be a booming coal mining zone, because I’m pretty sure it’s where the most anthracite coal is on Planet Earth. Anthracite coal is the most valuable kind of coal because it burns the hottest and it also doesn’t leak out any fumes or smoke. So you can burn anthracite on a plate in your house and not need ventilation. Usually, you’ll have to burn it in a fireplace. It’s this totally anomalistic substance.

It’s like it doesn’t exist.
Yeah, and that’s where they mined all the anthracite. But then, of course, they r*ped the earth of that in that area so there is none left. But what there’s left is these huge black slag heaps. I guess there’s the good coal and the bad coal, that’s the slag, so they just leave that. So there’s mounds and mounds of it. It looks like, you're in Hawai’i, so you see that black, young rock.

Right, volcanic young rock.
It looks like that but it’s actually not, it’s millions of years old. I guess those are my two favs recently.



A lot of the land is brittle by the beach here [Honolulu] because of climate change and erosion, like all our young land is kind of at risk already. Like, when people consider nature, “Oh, I want more nature!” it’s mostly luscious and green. They see jungle, they see canopy, but they don’t think about the very land they stand on.
I thought about that a lot, just the life of rock from lava and magma to that young, gummy stone. And then the rings of sediment and the various pressures that create all these different minerals. I thought about that a lot as I was writing the record and you can hear it in the lyrics.

Do you have a favorite ritual right now?
Mmmm, going to the beach. I’ve been going a lot. When it was extremely strict quarantine, I wasn’t really leaving the house at all except to go into nature where there wasn’t anyone else around. In New York, unless you’re going to drive upstate, the only place you really have is the beach and I didn’t really see anyone else there, maybe a couple old dudes fishing, but yeah. Me and my boyfriend would go to the beach and just chill. Even when it was cold I’d be in a big puffer and warm sweatpants and a warm blanket, drink a bottle of wine. That’s been my ritual, I find it to be really healing.

Do you actually get in the water?
Once it got warmer, yeah. My first time getting in the water was when I accidentally popped a squat and peed in a bunch of poison ivy and I could immediately feel it itching on my legs. My brother was like jump in the water now and rub yourself with sand. So I quickly ran into the water and had to deal with how cold it was, but luckily it washed off.

I was thinking when people listen to your music they might confront these feelings that may not have occurred to them. When we’re straddled in between difficult transformation and stagnating, passive states, how do you create the space to stay open and allow more things to circulate through?
Hmmm, drugs bro! Haha, no, I’ve always been that way. I was homeschooled in the middle of nowhere on a farm, hardly any friends. Didn’t watch any television. Wasn’t exposed to a lot of culture. And it’s crazy that even exposed to so little the imagination is such a powerful fucking rollercoaster. I’ve always had an overactive imagination. I’m like a daydreamer like I’m totally that person who can stare at clouds all day and be transported through so many different thoughts and ideas. My abstraction... I don’t know if this is for all artists that play with things that don’t necessarily have to make sense, but to me they do. There are all these languages in my mind that I don’t even know how to translate for everyone else and that comes through and I think that I do that to balance out the very traditional forms that I employ in my work. Very simple ideas... adjacent. For instance, How To Fight is a pretty simple song, but it’s adjacent to Burning Feather which is very abstract, dissonant, and chaotic. But it’s those two things adjacent to each other that amplify their power. That might sound vague, but it’s like this balance that I try to use in my life. I think the frictions are always helpful. I definitely get intimidated by infinity. When there are restrictions and there is confinement, limitations, sometimes it can be a relief to me. Like, I’ll always find a way.





Text/Photography: Jasmine Reiko
Styling: Jazzy Phillips










 

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