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  • Tegan Jay

Delilah Bon Interview – Yorkshire Brat-Punk Talks Inspirations, Going Solo, and Playing the Leadmill

Self-professed “brat punk, feminist hip-hop artist” and Barnsley native Delilah Bon recently embarked on a UK-wide solo tour of her 2021 self-titled work, Delilah Bon. We caught up with the former Hands Off Gretel singer after her date at Sheffield’s iconic Leadmill, to talk all things from inspiration and influences, to the future of Bon’s discography.



What got you into music?


Since I was a kid, I’ve dressed up in glittery outfits and performed shows in front of the TV for my Mum and Dad, twirling around the living room to Britney Spears in the early 2000s, doing fashion shows with my little sister, and generally showing off all the time. Looking back at old videos of myself as a kid I’m just singing and prancing around all the time shouting “Mummy, look at me! Watch this, watch this!” I can tell you, nothing has changed. I’ve always wanted to be a star, sharing my first ever singing videos on YouTube when I was 12 years old.


What’s the inspiration for the style of music you make?


I incorporate all elements of myself into the music I make right now. I scream, I sing, I rap. I flow between 2000s style hip-hop and nu-metal. My music is fun, my music is angry. I’m inspired by artists from my childhood like P!nk and Xtina, punk music from my teens like Bikini Kill and The Distillers, and the heavier bands like Slipknot or Korn.


Following your success in Hands Off Gretel, have elements of that project followed you into your solo career?


Yeah, for sure. I wouldn’t be here without all my experience in Hands Off Gretel. Hands Off Gretel is my baby, something that makes up a huge part of me. I’d say songs like ‘S.A.S.S.’ from Hands off Gretel aren’t too different from my Delilah songs. I even released the song ‘I Get the Feelin’ as Delilah Bon – that song features at the very end of the ‘S.A.S.S.’ music video.



What would you say is your greatest strength as an artist?


My strength is definitely the ability to connect with people and be their voice. I’ve seen that every night on tour, meeting young girls and queer kids who thank me for the lyrics in my songs. A girl said to me it was the safest she’s ever felt at a show. For me, being able to create a sense of safety and community like that is one of the greatest feelings I’ve experienced.


What can we expect from Delilah Bon in the future?


I’ve a ton of new songs I need to finish mixing. Because I self-produce and write everything myself, my to-do list is hefty when I finish my tour. I want to release another song before the end of the year and then next year hopefully get on more festivals, play more Pride events and release more music, with the possibility of playing some shows outside the UK too.


How did the tour go for you? And what’s the difference doing a show under the ‘solo artist’ banner opposed to as a band?


The tour was everything I could have hoped for. Each night seemed to get better and better! My bass player, Ruena, and my DJ, DJ Goldenaxe (AKA Tasmin Taylor) are my best friends, so we were just like big kids having so much fun. I didn’t want it to end! It’s totally different to solo shows, it’s way scarier because everyone there is coming to see you. It made me so emotional to see a crowd full of people singing my lyrics back to me, I’ve never had that before.


Coming from Hands Off Gretel, would you say you prefer working alone or collaboratively?


I’m a lone wolf, that’s for sure. Always have been, always will be. I’ve always struggled in the studio working with people, especially working with men and having my ideas ignored. What I love about working on my own is that nobody can make me doubt myself. I am my only judge – which sometimes is a little scary, but I trust my gut, she’s never let me down!



What’s the creative process for you when writing music?


Usually I start with a subject matter. This ranges from things that make me angry, to fantasy stories like on my horror EP. I sing every melody into my voice notes on my phone, humming bass melodies and riffs before going into the studio then to recreate that. Some songs start off just drums and bass and I freestyle vocals for a few hours, then pick out the best bits. What I love about my creative process is that nothing is wasted, I keep all my little ideas and riffs and if they don’t work on one song, they’ll work on another.


How did you react to the impact of your single ‘Dead Men Don’t Rape’?


I was so nervous to release that song. It only took me three days to write, mix and produce it in the wake of Roe v. Wade overturning over in the USA. I was so sincerely angry when I sang it. When I showed my Mum for the first time I ran off into another room as she clicked play. It’s scary being so vulnerable, being so angry. The reaction blew me away. I knew it would connect with people, particularly survivors of sexual abuse and rape, I knew, for them, it was a song they could truly connect to and scream at the top of their lungs. It’s one for all those who’ve lost the rights to abortion too, I knew the song would hit hard. I receive messages daily from women, from LGBTQ+ identifying individuals, from non-binary people, thanking me for giving them something of a voice. It’s truly been the most successful song of my career so far, I’m glad I found the guts to post it.

And, finally, you played The Leadmill on this tour – were you excited for that? And what’s your thoughts on the campaign and its potential closure?


I couldn’t wait to play The Leadmill!! I had a few of my friends coming down, my sister came and bought a load of her friends with her, and the fans were so excited that I had messages literally counting down the days! Since COVID, a load of grassroots music venues have been forced into shutting down which is so sad because without those spaces, smaller bands have nowhere to perform. The Leadmill is one of the most iconic venues in Sheffield, if not the country. It’s a place that supports all of us [acts], and it would be devastating to see that go.


Delilah Bon’s self-titled debut album is available now at www.delilahbon.co.uk.

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