Pride

7 Things to Know About Katya's Musical Debut 'Vampire Fitness'

Katya
Katya

Katya

Regardless of musical affinity, plenty of RuPaul's Drag Race competitors run to the recording studio once their season has wrapped. Despite delivering a fan-favorite, scream-laugh-inducing verse on the All Stars 2 remix of RuPaul's "Read U Wrote U," Katya resisted the urge to join the ranks of drag queen musicians – even turning down offers to get her on the mic.

An iconoclastic queen if there ever was one, the UNHhhh/Trixie and Katya Show co-host waited a full four years after her last competitive run on the show to release her debut musical project, the five-song EP Vampire Fitness. It's unconventional, frequently absurd and full of as many whiplash-inducing left-turns as Katya's humor and fashion. "It's a vanity project, kind of," Katya tells Billboard before correcting herself. "Well, not kind of -- totally, because I'm not really a musician. It was just something fun to do."

A mix of grinding club music, electro industrial and Eastern European melodies, Katya says it's inspired by everything from Russian singer Zivert to Ukrainian dance-pop queen LOBODA to rock bands like Front Line Assembly that she listens to at the gym to "put a steroid up my ass."

Here's what you need to know about Vampire Fitness, the debut musical project from Katya featuring guest turns from Alaska and Trixie Mattel, out on Friday, Nov. 13.

It Was Never Gonna Be 'Read U Wrote U' Redux
"There were opportunities to do many of those and I was like… no. NO," Katya shares with Billboard. "It doesn't matter if people like it – if I don't like it, it's not happening. I didn't want to do something that was corny. What's the point?"

It Started Out As a Response-Song Project
"Originally, the idea was I wanted to do a response album to Drag Race songs," Katya says. "So like 'Come In Brazil' [a response to Alaska's 'Come to Brazil'] and 'Same Parts' by Tatianna and something by Trixie -- I wanted to do a whole bunch of those." Katya eventually lost interest in that concept, and EP opener "Come In Brazil" ft. Alaska remains the only holdover. "When we recorded it, she was hesitant about saying the word 'gash.' I thought that was so funny because the rest of the song is so vulgar. But I love that – that's a classic drag banger, which is something she does so well. She carries the whole song. I pop in for the chorus. It's me, I swear!"

They Do the Monster Mash
The musical concept that won out was "the soundtrack to a late-night gym for vampires. I love the idea of hot goth people working out -- goth-leisure." As for what kind of vampires are pumping iron and hitting the elliptical, Katya says, "I grew up reading Anne Rice books, so I have this idealized, romanticized, androgynous vision of beauty for vampires. They're absolutely gorgeous, smooth, marble skin. And they f--k everybody! They're bisexual…. Somebody told me one of my songs sounded like monsters having sex. And that's perfect."

Harry Styles' Sleep Story Made Katya Sob
The final track, "Be Your Own Dentist," is a dead-on parody ("homage," Katya insists) of the meditation and sleep apps that have become increasingly popular in the pandemic. One, in particular, left an indelible impact on her. "I listened to the Harry Styles one and I was so crazy – it's this really cheesy poem set to a repeating lullaby melody. And I became incredibly horny, and then I started to cry. I started to weep into my bed, I was like, 'oh my God it's so beautiful!' And then an hour later I was like, 'well, that did not help me go to bed at all.'" As for "Be Your Own Dentist," Katya says she's not concerned about people taking its message to heart: "I'm not worried. I'm hopeful," she jokes.

The Cover Shoot Was Disgusting
"It was hot as hell," Katya says. "It was a full suit – it has a vagina, breasts, arms. It's so nasty and so hot. It's a river of sweat underneath you, it's just disgusting." The synthetic suit comes from Katya's personal collection of silicone body parts. Yes, you read that right. "It was getting a little out of hand with feet," she admits. "I was getting these realistic silicone feet from China, and I don't know why. I don't have a foot fetish or anything. I once heard someone say the difference between crazy and eccentric is just money."

A Tour Isn't Happening, But…
While Katya is quick to shoot down the idea that she'll do a musical tour, she's hungry to bring her new song "Ravioli" to the homeland of stuffed pasta: "I have to back to Italy, and when I go there I want to do 'Ravioli' so bad I can't wait." But with the pandemic still going strong, it could be a minute. "I can't even imagine performing in general right now," Katya says. "A few times I thought to myself that I'd really love to go out dancing and I never feel that, but I think that's just from being cooped up in the house. I'm sure if I were to go out and things were back to normal, I'd leave in 10 minutes anyway."

Can We Expect More Music?
"I think so," she says cautiously. "Nothing about it was not-fun. And I like that it's not clogging up the world with more sh-t. We'll do a vinyl and some t-shirts related to it, but I like the digital nature of it. It's not physical and we're not pushing cartons of trash into the ocean."