Delilah Bon has been on the scene a while, best known for commanding crowds with the ferocious punk of her day band Hands Off Gretel. But after getting vocal about the way men treat her at her own shows, and a year in lockdown to polish up the edges, she’s back with a project that’s even more fierce: brat-punk rap packed with girl power in its rawest form. Delilah might just be the scene’s sparkiest newcomer – she’s one of our ones to watch for the Flavour of 2021, and we were lucky enough to catch her for a chat too.
So first thing we’re all desperate to know: who is Delilah? Where did she come from? Well firstly, she’s been around for a while, Delilah shares. “I’d written a few songs around November last year that I would consider Delilah songs, but she didn’t exist back then! She started to exist in around July, that’s when I truly dedicated myself to these songs and finished them. Most of them have literally been just this year, they’re all very fresh!”
Delilah songs are powerful and fun – but they start from a place of self-care and self-reflection. “I wrote them entirely for myself,” says Delilah, “I wasn’t thinking about anyone else’s opinion, it was just for me, so I dug deep thinking about what I wanted to say in this world. I think it was a way of making myself feel empowered. That’s the big thing, making songs that make you feel an energy you can achieve anything, being daring, putting myself out there. Every time I write a Delilah song I’m always quite shocked by the things I say!”
It’s refreshing to hear angry songs about what men put women through that are solely intended to uplift girls who feel down about it – this was definitely intentional. “I just made these sarcastic songs just for me and I’d be listening to them like, no one can touch me! I’m untouchable, I’m all in my head, music is keeping me going! And just by sharing it, just seeing the messages I’m getting from girls saying how much they need that energy is just… As I wrote the songs I was thinking about myself and girls just like me, we can connect!”
Speaking of connecting – let’s talk dream tours. Who on the scene is Delilah most keen on teaming up with? “I really like Princess Nokia, I really like Ashnikko – I love watching her when she’s being silly! I would love to get drunk with Ashnikko. I really like loud crazy girls, so I’ll have them on the tour!” Ok, that’s a dream team and a half – but the outspoken girl canon hasn’t quite caught up with Delilah yet. “Sometimes I feel like I’m in my own little island! I always support other girls, especially girls that do it all themselves. But it’s growing slowly.” It better be!
Musically, as well, bringing Delilah Bon to life hasn’t been without its barriers – after picking up rapping for the first time during lockdown, the genre switch has been an exciting journey. “When I first did it I was so embarrassed!” says Delilah, “I was like, why am I doing this? This is so not me… it was so challenging, but I was cramming all the words in which I really enjoy – when I write a song there’s only a certain amount of words I can say, but when I rap it’s really fun. I just don’t care what genre this is, I just mix elements of it all together, the guitars with the rapping and the screaming and the sound effects and all the different bits. It’s opened up so many ideas that I’ve not been able to use before because people are genre snobs and I’m not!”
Genre snobs don’t faze Delilah one bit – “I really don’t care! A lot of people don’t like rap, they don’t like hip hop, they just like rock. They don’t listen to the lyrics, they just instantly refuse to listen to it, but fine. It helps me to reach a different audience anyway, I like that I can reach new people, I don’t have to have duplicate audiences.”
Delilah does all her own production, and this is part of what’s allowed so much room for experimentation. “It’s changed everything”, she says. “I’ve had so many issues with producers, they hate me! Every time I go somewhere for an album or an EP or something, I’m always a pain in the arse cos I’m so particular, but they’re like I’m the producer, you’re the singer, know your role. I used to just cry cos I’d want control over my own music, I was being pushed out of that back room, and now I can do my own mixing, I’m my own boss, it’s just freeing. I love producing. I’m laid in bed thinking I’ve got this bizarre idea I’m gonna wake up tomorrow and try it and if it doesn’t work, no worries, I can just delete it.”
So there you have it – Delilah is a boss bitch who does it all herself, a riot grrrl 2021 edition. Need any more convincing? Give School a spin, out now.