Delilah Bon: “I was held back… Now, I’m unapologetic, and loud, and scary”

Fresh from a support slot with the similarly-striking Scene Queen, Delilah Bon has unleashed a brand-new single, WITCH. And, as is the brat-punk’s way, it doesn’t pull any punches…

Delilah Bon: “I was held back… Now, I’m unapologetic, and loud, and scary”
Isabella Ambrosio

Lauren Tate is angry, and she’s finally ready for the world to know. Having been making music in various capacities since she was just 12 – first starting out as a cover artist on YouTube, before fronting UK punks Hands Off Gretel from 2015 onwards – it’s taken the self-proclaimed ‘brat-punk’ many years of hard work to reach this point. Now, under the name Delilah Bon, her vision has been fully realised.

With her latest genre-destroying guise, which fuses everything from punk and rap to nu-metal and pop, Delilah not only caught the attention of TikTok in a big way during the pandemic, but quickly built an organic audience of women, and non-binary and trans people, via her unflinchingly honest lyrics. And, having raged at Glastonbury in the summer (leading Kerrang! to proclaim that she “is one of the boldest voices in the rise of beautifully bratty heavy music”), her momentum is only going one way: up.

Today, Delilah Bon joins forces with sisters Nyrobi and Chaya Beckett-Messam – aka ALT BLK ERA – for new single WITCH, a track that sees the trio reflecting on historic events hundreds of years ago, while also applying them to today’s times. Here, she tells K! all about the song, her journey as a lyricist and artist, and her recent support slot with fellow fearless trailblazer Scene Queen

You’ve said that WITCH is about the ‘forgotten women in history that were killed on suspicion of witchcraft during the 14 – 17th century witch trials’. What inspired you to tackle that subject?
“I knew around Halloween I wanted to release something Halloween-themed. And I had been watching a [YouTuber] Bailey Sarian episode on witches, and reading about them. I never knew it was across the UK and America – I had heard of the Salem witch trials, and that was it. I started going down this rabbit hole, reading everything I could, and thinking, ‘Why have I never learned about this huge crime that happened to so many women?’ People seem to think a witch is just on a broomstick, so I wanted to channel the anger that you would feel, because it really happened. I put myself in the position of if that were happening to me, or to people I knew, and put the rage behind the words if I were a witch.”

What do you hope that people will take from it?
“I hope it’s cathartic, because you can apply it to modern times. When you listen to it, it’s also about the witch-hunt of women, and I hope that women will really connect with it. The song touches on misogyny and white supremacy, as well. Although it is about witches, it is about women now. Now, women are blamed, not believed, and accused. Back then, women were accused of witchcraft, and now they’re accused of lying when it comes to sexual assault. I feel if [the system] could have their way, and they could burn you at the stake, and get rid of women because they’re becoming too powerful, they would do it. They’re afraid.”

How did you come to work with ALT BLK ERA?
“First of all, because I love them. I found them on TikTok, and they supported me on my tour last year. I think they have something so special, and with this song, I wanted to work with women, like Nyrobi, whose voice is so angry. And with Chaya’s voice, it’s the mixture of ethereal and angelical. I thought the textures between our voices, and lyrically, they brought a lot to the song. It’s been on my bucketlist – it’s my first collab, I’m glad it was with them.”

How have your messages as an artist changed or developed between Hands Off Gretel and now?
“The entire time with Hands Off Gretel, I was held back. And now I’m free to speak about what I want to speak about, and get angry because I think women are afraid of being angry. We’re told to be pretty, be approachable – and I tried to be… ish. Not really – I tried to be pretty, and then I did Hands Off Gretel. At shows there were usually lots of men, between the age of 50 to 70. I used to look out and wonder why there were no girls in my crowd. And when there were, they would go away feeling uncomfortable, or they’ve been groped. It felt horrible. How can I get up there and sing and be a voice for women, but then look into my crowds, and not see any women? When I started Delilah Bon, I wanted my message to be so clear: I wanted to scare men away who think they can come to my shows and grope girls. Now, I’m unapologetic, and loud, and scary.”

You recently supported Scene Queen in the UK. Both of you are incredibly powerful women, and are part of a rising group of impassioned artists. How does it feel to be sharing a stage with someone who shares your mission?
“I’ve followed Scene Queen for years, and I think it’s a perfect match. When she announced me [as her opener], our mutual fans got so excited. I had played two shows with her before, last year, it was a last-minute thing, and she had been saying she wanted to get me back as an opener. Our messages are so similar. It’s perfect!”

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