Delilah Bon aka Lauren Tate from Hands Off Gretel has taken matters into her own hands and set out to make music that tackles many issues faced by women in music and in the greater world. Bringing to life her internal rage with a mash up of punk, hip hop and metal to create music that speaks for many women out there that things need to change. We caught up with Tate to find out where Delilah Bon came from and where she is going.
Give us a potted history of Delilah Bon
Before lockdown I’d only ever played loud screamy punk in my band Hands Off Gretel, touring across the UK and Europe, finding my voice as a young woman in a male dominated industry. I was struggling out there in the real world, facing backlash every time I talked about women’s safety, writing in my diary and wanting to machete heads clean off whenever I’d find out yet another girl at a show had been groped or made to feel unsafe. When lockdown happened, the shows stopped. But my frustration didn’t. I hated the tour, hated the way I attracted creeps even when I was so vocal about it, hated that I wasn’t enjoying music anymore.
Delilah truly came around the time I was hanging up the gloves. I decided I didn’t care anymore, good girl done bad. I wanted to make music for myself, to embrace the 10-year-old me that wanted to be a pop star, to dare do something completely on my own. I began producing my own songs, watching hundreds of videos on production, teaching myself to rap so I could get all the lyrics out. I went from the girl giving up everything to the girl taking over the world as soon as I created Delilah, realising if this music could make me feel this strong and empowered, imagine what it could do for other people.
Who inspired you to start making music
I hated school with a passion. Not the education, just the system and the way it focused so much on image and punishing kids that didn’t fit into the one-size-fits-all box. I was such a loner, drifting as far as I could into the clouds out of the window trying to sneak an earphone up my school jumper so I could listen to P!nk. P!nk had no idea she was my best friend as a teenager, the only person that actually understood how I felt. I’d eat my dinner in the school toilets and listen her album ‘Mizzudaztood’ full blast every day.
Actually, I met a fan of mine at a festival recently and she told me she’d been getting bullied at school and that she’d listen to my music to escape the way I did with P!nk. She said she felt like she knew me and that I understood her. I really did too. I knew exactly how she felt because I was that girl. Seeing it come full circle like that is crazy.
And the one or maybe two records that inspired you artistically
Back in 2004 when I was a kid, we had the ‘Anastacia’ self-titled album on repeat in the car. I remember my mum saying someone we knew hated this album because it made his wife finally divorce him. She’d drive with the CD blasting out the car and obviously it empowered her to know she deserved more. I always thought that was badass. I know every single word to this album. My mum, sister and I would turn it up full volume and scream along. My Dad hated it and I kinda loved that.
‘All my life I’ve been waiting
For you to bring a fairy tale my way
Been living in a fantasy without meaning
It’s not okay I don’t feel safe, I don’t feel safe’
Anastacia was a real feminist icon to me even before I knew what that meant. She spoke to the core of many women that felt unhappy and unnoticed, giving them a hand to hold to pull them out the hole they were in. I knew I wanted to do that when I was older.
If you’re trying to explain who you sound like to someone that’s never heard you, what
do you say
I guess I’m like a bratty feminist version of Eminem sometimes, especially in my newer music. I’m completely the opposite to him lyrically but with the same sarcasm and fun flows in how I rap. Mix that with P!nk’s early 2000s raspy vocals and Tarrie B from My Ruin screams and cover it in bubblegum and barbed wire and you’ve got Delilah Bon.
Tell us about your new track
My latest release is a song I wrote called ‘Dead Men Don’t Rape’ after abortion was banned in multiple states following the overturning of Roe vs Wade in the USA. I was on holiday at the time and my social media timeline was full of videos of women and people with uterus’ crying, feeling helpless because they had just lost their rights to bodily autonomy, and they feared the worst. I started writing the song on the beach, writing lyrics in my notebook, humming melodies into my phone voice memos. I finished all the lyrics on the flight home and recorded, mixed, and produced it in three days once I was back in my studio. In the UK only 1% of rape cases end up in court. 98% of sexual assault cases are committed by men, yet women are blamed for what happened to them and most of the time are not believed through ‘lack of evidence’. It made me think of how the abortion ban will affect all of this.
Not only have women lost the right to choose, but now victims have to carry the child of their abusers even if they themselves are children, punishing them even more in the system and giving their rapists rights as fathers. I stumbled on stories when looking at the rise in femicide across the world and I found a story from a young Tunisian woman facing a life sentence because she killed the man who was raping
her for many years in her family home after he said he would go after her little sister.
The quote ‘Dead Men Don’t Rape’ has been used many times before. It’s seen as quite controversial. But when I think of this woman and multiple other cases of young girls fighting back against their abusers and escaping the hell they are in, it says more about the lack of trust they have in the system than it does about them. These women I sing about were not murderers, they were normal girls just like me who had no other way out. It’s heart-breaking knowing these women and girls will spend the rest of their lives behind bars because they believed the justice system would likely not help or believe them.
Where can we get hold of it
It will be available on all platforms from 29th July.
Tell us how you write
Because I produce and mix everything myself in my studio, I can write songs pretty easy out of nowhere. Load up a track, make a beat from scratch, sing multiple melodies over the beat, and record each version down then use my midi keyboard to copy all the melodies and layer with bass and guitar. I mix the backing track first, leaving the lyrics and vocals as the final piece right at the end. It takes me a while sometimes to think of the subject matter for the song but once I visualise something and picture the music video, I know exactly what I want the song to be and the lyrics flow out of me.
Tell us about your live show and how much have you been missing it recently
So, my live shows began this year, and I was excited but also really nervous because it was a whole new setup to what I’m used to. I decided early on I didn’t want drums and a regular ‘rock band’ setup; I wanted a DJ and a bass player to back me up on stage. My DJ Goldenaxe aka Tasmin Taylor and my bass player Ruena have become my best friends; the girl power I feel being alongside them is something I’ve never had before. It’s the first time on stage I’ve actually had to ask the sound engineer to turn my vocals down because they’re too loud! Usually playing in my band Hands Off Gretel I could never hear my voice above the crashing drums no matter how much I’d yell above the music. I love the set up I have now. All of a sudden there’s all this space to run around and make the show more theatrical with props and costume changes and I’ve been planning lots of exciting parts to really bring the songs to life and make the crowd feel really part of it.
What can we expect from you in the near future
I’m currently working on a brand-new collection of songs that I want to release this year into next with the intention of releasing my second album when the timing feels right. The songs on my new album are my favourite yet. Like I know everybody says this, but I can see how much I’ve improved with my production and rapping, so I don’t want to jump the gun and release it too soon; it deserves a well-planned release strategy and lots of promo so it can reach as many people as possible.
Tell us your favourite records that’s rocking your headphones/ tour bus / stereo
At every opportunity that I’m in control of the music in the tour van I have to play everyone an artist called Big Klit. Usually their reaction is ‘what the hell is this?’ which I absolutely love, haha! She’s an artist I found a few years ago who I completely obsess over. She’s a true artist that makes screamy, in your face, scary, shock rap. She really inspired me to go full Harley Quinn and embrace my creepy side without worrying what other people thought of me. There are not many artists like Big Klit and whenever I find an artist that completely scraps the rule book it’s so refreshing. It makes me feel like music is allowed to be art, it doesn’t just have to be catchy hooks and riffs all the time.
Check out Bon’s track Cannibal Summer, below:
Following her acclaimed debut self-titled album, Delilah has announced her first UK tour for the
Autumn of this year, which follows festival appearances at Kendal Calling, Maui Waui, Shambala and
Burn It Down, and precedes her appearance at Drown U Out festival alongside the likes of SCARLXRD,
ZAND, Bob Vylan, DANA DENTATA and GHØSTKID.
Headline dates as follows:
Thu 15 BIRMINGHAM Hare & Hounds
Fri 16 NOTTINGHAM Bodega
Sat 17 NEWCASTLE Cluny
Thu 22 LONDON Colours
Fri 23 BRIGHTON Patterns
Sat 24 BRISTOL Exchange
Thu 29 SHEFFIELD Leadmill
Fri 30 MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
Sat 01 LEEDS Key Club
Thu 06 GLASGOW Nice N Sleazy
Fri 07 LIVERPOOL Arts Club
Tickets are available here