"A lot of American men were messaging me saying that they were going to kill me." Meet Delilah Bon, the self-proclaimed 'brat punk' raging against misogyny with genre-splicing bangers

Delilah Bon
(Image credit: Helen Tate)

When Lauren Tate was a teenager, she felt like an alien. As a lonely kid growing up in Barnsley, she had been making music and singing in her bedroom since she was 12, but her ambitions were mocked by her classmates and derided by her teachers. “I didn’t have many friends at all,” she says today. “I was a loser, a loner. I would get bullied at school and people would make fun of my voice. All the teachers used to tell me I would never make it in music. It was constantly hammered into my head that it was a pipe dream.”

Well, what did they know? Today, the 26-year-old self-styled ‘brat-punk’ performs under the moniker Delilah Bon. And her spiky, unapologetic fusion of punk, nu metal, pop and hip hop has seen her join genre- smashing artists such as Scene Queen (who she’s toured with), ALT BLK ERA (who she collaborated with on the song Witch), and Cassyette on the front lines of metal’s new guard. Brash, confrontational and political, her force-of-nature, self-titled, 2021 debut album was a call to arms for a diverse, enthusiastic fanbase, while her gigs feel more like exorcisms to sweat and scream out the challenges of modern life. “I love shouting,” Delilah nods. “It’s such a release. I want to be seen. I want to be heard. I want to help people. I want to channel my anger and I put it somewhere.”

That rage is best exemplified on her visceral 2022 single, Dead Men Don’t Rape. A roar of anger in response to the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which lead to the curtailing of abortion rights across America, the lyrics also tackle misogyny, sexual assault, bodily autonomy and societal discrimination. Over grinding, crashing guitars, Delilah veers from abrasive shrieks to breathless rapping: ‘A gun’s got more fucking rights than a girl / Keep your politics out of my body.’ 

To date, the track has clocked up over 2.5 million streams on Spotify, but received a frightening level of backlash from certain corners of the Internet. “A lot of American men were messaging me saying that they were going to kill me,” she says. “And they were going to come and kill my fans.” The response rattled her, and it was a year until she returned with incendiary 2023 single, I Wish A Bitch Would, a howl against male violence over acerbic riffs and synths. “I brought out [that song] to say I won’t be silenced,” she says firmly. “That I will continue.”

Having listened to pop music as a young teen, Delilah discovered the thrill of nu metal through Slipknot and Kittie, but it was the raw, unfiltered rage of riot grrrl bands like 7 Year Bitch and Bikini Kill which really set lightbulbs popping off in her head. The first time she had seen bands who existed in a vacuum, free from the oppression of the male gaze and openly challenging stereotypical norms, she felt understood and empowered. “I realised I could get my guitar and I could scream and be angry and it doesn’t matter about looking presentable.”

Her love for the riot grrrl scene led to her form alt rock band, Hands Off Gretel, in 2015, although she quickly became disillusioned by disrespectful behaviour at live shows. “I would look out in the crowd and there’d be no women at all. It would all be older guys aged 50-plus,” she remembers. “They would stand at the front with their cameras, and film under your skirt. They’d be trying to kiss me, putting their arms around me and feeling my bum.”

When the pandemic struck, and Hands Off Gretal were forced to abandon their touring plans, Lauren channelled that frustration and fury into new music, playing around with new sounds and experimenting with rapping for the first time. Delilah Bon, she says, was only supposed to be a fleeting side project, although that change soon as she was able to perform the songs live in 2021.

“I could feel the power that was building with the music,” she says. “It was a whole different audience of girls, non-binary people, trans people. I knew this was what I’d been meaning to do.”

Although Deliah Bon might have initially come from a place of anger, the resounding message Lauren wants to take forward in her music is one of positivity and self-love. Having finished recording her second, as yet unnamed album, she considers it to be a reminder to her fans, and also to herself, to remember your own worth.

“It’s very much about my own confidence in myself and reminding myself that I deserve to be here,” she says, thinking back to school, and the days when she had to fight for her vision. “When I went to the Heavy Music Awards, I was meeting press, and they didn’t know who I was. I remember being like, ‘It doesn’t matter they don’t know who you are yet, they will soon.’” For Delilah, that wait is over.

Delilah Bon's second album is due later this year

Dannii Leivers

Danniii Leivers writes for Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, The Guardian, NME, Alternative Press, Rock Sound, The Line Of Best Fit and more. She loves the 90s, and is happy where the sea is bluest.