Interview with Jasmine Marceau.
After not being able to find eachother during the last day of 2000Trees in the torrential rain, I had a zoom call with Delilah Bon aka Lauren Tate a couple of weeks after the festival.
“When I first started Delilah Bon, my lyrics were personal to me, but then it’s from conversations I’ve had with friends during sleepovers, and we’ve spoken about how it feels to be a woman walking down the street.” Delilah Bon
You’ve been making music most of your life, what inspired the change of direction of genre when creating music as Delilah Bon?
I’ve been making music for 10 years. I started with doing covers, I did rock, classic rock, punk, grunge, and the only genre I’ve not really done is hip-hop – until now! I think during lockdown I wanted to challenge myself, and lyrically that’s where Delilah Bon was born. I had so many lyrics that I wanted to write, I was getting harassed a lot by men at my gigs, so I was writing all of this down in my journals. During lockdown, I was reading all of my journals and my diary, and seeing how angry I was. I thought I needed to put this into lyrics, and then I had so many words coming out of me, I had no musical direction at first. I just put down a beat, and then I just started to rap, and I’d never rapped in my entire life, it’s not something I’ve ever done – but it just felt so right! I think during lockdown everyone went a little crazy, so I just thought, new direction, complete new genre, it’s a challenge, and I think that’s what I needed, just something to spice it up a little bit.
Speaking of your lyrics, are they usually all based on real-life events?
Yes, I think most of my songs are personal. The only time it’s not personal is if I’m talking about trans rights or something like that. I sing about other people, I sing about my friends. When I first started Delilah Bon, my lyrics were personal to me, but then it’s from conversations I’ve had with friends during sleepovers, and we’ve spoken about how it feels to be a woman walking down the street, and holding the keys between your knuckles, just dreading the worst and living afraid of men. The music I make is personal, but it’s also about so many others, I think so many of us feel the same.
You blew up on social media, which can feel like marmite at the moment, how do you feel about social media and how do you use it for your music?
I can enjoy social media, and I can hate it aswell – it depends what mood I’m in. Sometimes I love it, and I love that I can connect with people, especially since I grew up not having many friends at all. Now I’ve found a community, and I wouldn’t have that without social media, so there’s a plus! And obviously, when my music started to do really well on TikTok, I’d never seen so much engagement before, when a video blows up it’s the most exciting feeling. You can always feel like you’re in competition with people, or you’re in competition with yourself. I try to keep the blinkers on, not look at what anyone else is doing, and I don’t compare myself to anyone else. I compare myself to myself, so that’s the hard part of social media. When you look back and you’d think ‘a year ago my videos were doing better than they are now’. That’s hard, and I think my relationship with it is, while it serves me and I’m enjoying it, I’ll stay on social media. As soon as it’s not fun anymore, I just put my phone down and do something to distract myself.
I think that’s the best way to be! There’s a real mix of genres within your music, what do you listen to for pleasure?
Well I mainly listen to music when I’m in the gym. I listen to a lot of nu-metal, I mainly listen to Slipknot and Korn. Angry songs! I’ve always listened to Pink, she’s my comfort. My favourite artists right now, I’d say are Cassyette, Nova Twins, Alt Black Era, those kinds of artists that are new-ish that I enjoy listening to, whenever I have a chance to! I’m usually listening to myself, my demos. I’d be walking around, and I’d just be listening to me!
I love that! Do you demo your songs by yourself?
Yeah, I do. I think that started because a lot of producers would tell me that they are the producer, I’m the singer, and I shouldn’t get involved in the production and leave them to produce. I never liked what they did! So I’d always come away thinking it wasn’t what I had visualised, and it would drive me insane. Now, I do everything myself, I’m a control freak.
That’s amazing, are you completely self taught?
Yep! It was during lockdown all of that began. I’d watch videos on YouTube, and most of it was trial and error, just going on, turning the knobs, seeing what things did, and learning along the way.
How did you decide on your live set up?
I wanted to have something different to band, because I’ve always had a full rock band around me. With this, I wanted it to be simple. I never really knew what I was looking for, it was all trial and error. I think I’ve realised now that I don’t need a DJ, I need a dancer who presses play. At first, I thought I needed a DJ, but I’ve realised now I probably don’t need a DJ because I producer the songs, all you need to do is press play. I need a dancer, I need someone who can act, just someone who can bring the show to life, be fun and interact with the crowd. And I just knew I needed it to be girls, because I’ve worked with boys all of my career, ever since I was 15 years old I’ve worked with only men, and it is time for me to work with only women.
How different does it feel?
It’s like you find your tribe eventually. It’s trial and error with different people, you can think things work with people, but as you go on tour you start to realise you need to surround yourself with people that make you feel positive, and people that empower you, and surround yourself with women that empower eachother on tour. Having fun and having a laugh with women is the best feeling, it’s just something I’ve never had, so now I’ve got it I can’t imagine it any other way!
That makes me feel empowered! On the subject of tour, do you have any must-haves while you travel?
I really try to live in the moment when I’m on tour. This usually means, especially with Ruena who’s my bass player, we lose our voices just talking. My mum, she tour manages me, and she drives me, and she’d have to tell me to stop talking because I talk all night long, on the journey between shows. Me and Reuna are just two pees in a pod, we never shut up. I’d bring things in my bag, like my diary to write in, my iPad to draw, but I never do because all I do is talk!
Sounds fun! You’ve released a few singles this year, are there any more singles or larger releases on the horizon?
I need to organise myself – I’m really bad at planning! I can go on a roll, so what would usually happen is I’d be on a roll for a few months where it’s ‘this single, then this single’, but then I run out of the roll. I think now, I’m going to focus on my album, because I keep focussing on the singles and it’s been two years now since my first album, so an album is due, so that’s what I’m working on now. I have 38 songs, and that’s way too many, so I need to narrow them down! So that will be next. It’s good to be back in the studio, I can fully commit now I’ve finished with festivals!
Catch Delilah Bon on tour in Europe at the end of September, tickets available.