Meet Delilah Bon. The self-proclaimed brat punk alter ego of Hands Off Gretel lead Lauren Tate, she’s the emotional and musical growth we never expected, nor knew we needed.
Anyone who’s aware of Tate will immediately think of her grunge band Hands Off Gretel and her striking punk demeanour. Now, all perceptions of genre and style have been changed thanks to the birth of Delilah Bon, but the attitude still remains. Discussing Delilah Bon’s conception and her self-produced debut album under this moniker, she laughs, saying “I don't think it was a natural progression! It was so random - like an alien spaceship landed and I just got in it.” She continues, “A few years ago, if I’d seen the name Delilah Bon on all these t-shirts, all these CDs, I would have no idea who that is.” That’s because Delilah is such a major stride away from what anyone would have predicted from the 24-year-old from Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
The 12-track album is fuelled with feminist fury, which doesn’t come as a surprise at all, but the way its expressed is so off kilter, it’s compelling from start to finish. Delilah is a rapper and clean vocalist, channelling 00s hip hop with 90s nu metal in a fusion P!nk would be proud of. Speaking of this progression, she says “During lockdown, everyone started to look inwards at themselves. Questioning ‘what am I doing with my life? How am I challenging myself? How can I grow in certain areas?’ And this was my growing period.”
Ironically claiming to have reverted back into her 10-year-old self during this growth, noughties popstars, contemporary hip hop rappers and femme punks prevail in Delilah Bon’s influences. Iconic names like Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Gwen Stefani have been combined with new names like Princess Nokia and Rico Nasty, as well as Courtney Love and Bikini Kill. “It’s usually just women. Women in pop. Women in metal. Women in punk. All mixed together.” She states enthusiastically, her adoration for female empowerment just as clear here as it is through the record.
"There were things I wanted to sing about but I was too scared to."
All songs bar a couple delve deep into the struggles of being a women and rape culture, from not being able to avoid men on nights out on ‘Freak of the Week’, to victim-blaming on ‘Chop Dicks’ and the internal misogyny many experience, resulting in “pick-me-girls” spoken about on ‘Soul Sisters’. These sensitive subjects are handled with care lyrically, but musically they are used as a battering ram against anyone who dares question their validity.
However, the ferocity and outspokenness did not come easily to her. “When I was writing songs in Hands Off Gretel a few years ago, I was still developing as a character. I was developing in myself. There were things I wanted to sing about but I was too scared to, or I was scared of being “wrong”. […] People have doubted my abilities and made me doubt myself,” She began, “but I've had so many personal experiences over the years, and talk to people and learn their stories, that when I came to write this album, I thought I'm writing this for me. That gave me the confidence then to say what I really want to say, just thinking this is just for me. If it's good, I'll share it. If not, it doesn’t matter. The confidence comes from knowing that what I'm saying is needed. It's not just songs, it's a message.”
"When you're ready, your voice will matter so much."
The most difficult song for her to pen was ‘War on Women’, which is the most poignant on the whole record. Everyone is uplifted and their struggles highlighted as she speaks about how minorities are the most severe victims of climate change and the rest have to fight for ownership of their own bodies, gender expression and sexuality. Upon speaking out about such heart-breaking topics, she offers the advice of someone finally able to open up about something so personal. “Find it with yourself with music or writing. Get your thoughts out and don’t feel like you’re the one to blame for the things that have happened to you. It is such a personal journey. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Don't be hard on yourself. It’s a slow process to kind of heal from things you've been through and one day, when you're ready, your voice will matter so much.”
Words such as these have already empowered many of her fans, to the point where she is inundated with messages on social media thanking her for being their voice. Before the album was ever released, the foundations of a community were being laid. “If people are messaging you and saying ‘this song means so much to me’ or ‘this is all I’ve wanted to hear’ then I think that that is success” she smiles.
This Delilah Bon community will surely grow as the record gets the attention it deserves. Upbeat, thought-provoking and sometimes chaotic, it comes at you like a right hook but it’ll have you saying thank you as you wipe the blood off your shirt. Already preparing for it’s follow-up and a UK tour in 2022 (including an all-female/non-binary band and DJ), this is just the start for Delilah Bon.