Getting to know Dorian Electra: Popstar of The Future
There’s no simple way to explain Dorian Electra — and that’s kind of the point. They are the missing link between the pop you know and pop to come. From the hyper-real aesthetics to vocal hooks that double has quick smart commentary, it’s not a ride for the faint-hearted.
Dorian has been electrifying audiences for over three years now, starting out making infotainment videos for Refinery29 and in 2017, appearing on ‘Femmebot’ alongside Mykki Blanco on Charli XCX’s cult mixtape, Pop 2. In amongst all of this, Electra steadily released consistently boundary-pushing music of their own, continually redefining pop music as they fucked with tradition in every sense. Even Electra’s videos blur the lines of pop, life lessons and are all out exercises in aesthetic.
Dorian’s latest video ‘Guyliner’ captures everything that they do best. It’s a neon green emo/scene experience, with production that sounds like a Dance Dance Revolution wants revenge. It’s an ode to ‘Guyliner’, the colloquialism that popped up in the mid 2000s in response to men everywhere giving their lids a little lashing, and it’s doubled-down on itself in its irony. Dorian themselves -well beyond the tricky trapping of gender- just wants to glamorise and ‘put the masc in mascara’. It’s a pop song that’ll have you singing along well before snapping into deep thought as you realise it’s actually asking some pretty decent questions.
This week, Dorian Electra makes their way to Australia for some very special shows in Sydney and Melbourne. Before they get here, we got to know them a little better to talk all about why they like smashing things on their head so much, pop music, queer culture and so much more. Check it out below and head HERE for all tour details.
If you could put a historical figure in drag for the night, who would it be?
DE: Would love to see Benjamin Franklin in drag- would be lit.
You really love smashing things on your head, you do it in a lot of your own clips and even in a Paris’ Hilton’s music video – pop what’s the deal?
DE: It’s so fun. You should try it (but with breakaway prop glass only! Not real glass). But yeah it’s really exhilarating. Wish I had an excuse to do it more often.
What’s the experience of having not only your album out, but multiple videos, a tour, remixes and deluxe edition been like for you?
DE: It’s been so amazing to get to have all this work out and for people to get to experience it and then for me to see the feedback has just been amazing and beyond anything I could have expected.
What was it like creating your version of ‘Gec 2 U’ for the 100 gecs Remix Album?
DE: No comment… ;} hehehe
You have an extensive history of synthesising complex topics into wonderfully left of centre pop songs. Covering economic systems, high heels and toxic masculinity – what is it about pop music that makes them the vessel you like to use?
DE: I love pop music because of how immediate and how accessible it can be. That makes it super fun for me to try to inject with some other deeper story or message or character or something else weird and complex. It’s cool because people can just enjoy it on the surface level or they can choose to dive into it if they want.
Over the past decade queer culture has broken through into the mainstream – notably the Met Gala had the theme of ‘Camp’ which was received with mixed reviews. As an artist your visuals exist importantly alongside the music. How do you navigate bringing something that had to exist on the fringes to the forefront?
DE: For me, the videos are such an incredibly huge part of the piece. The meaning of my songs would not at all be the same without the videos to add an extra layer of dimension to my character, personality, gender expression, context and everything else that helps give the song meaning. Especially with playing with gender presentation, it’s so fun to do that through fashion and makeup, etc. and be able to challenge people’s ideas and see their immediate reactions on YouTube, etc. I’ve seen SO many comments on YouTube that are like “WTF is this? Ew, I don’t even know if this is a man or a woman… But either way the song slaps and the video looks cool.” I love reading comments like that because it really shows me how much power music and visuals have to help open and change minds.
Dorian Electra exists as a quote “extra” character- your outfits always exist in the dandy to some sort of ‘neo-street fighter’ character realm – what drives your style? And do you ever have lazy days?
DE: I definitely have “lazy days” sometimes! Haha – but I definitely feel my best and feel most like “myself” when I’m dressed up (even just putting makeup and jewelry on helps me feel more awake). I usually only wear the mustache at night for going out or for special day time occasions only.
As queer artist who likes to blend a certain sense of fun into big topics, are you a fan of Youtube’s Contrapoints? ‘Man 2 Man’ could easily be the theme song of Contra’s ‘Men’.
DE: I love Contrapoints! There’s not a lot of content I come across that really examines multiple viewpoints or positions of an issue and Contrapoints absolutely does that in a really in depth and entertaining way.
If you had to make a collab album, who would it be with?
DE: Johan Sebastian Bach? Would also love to write a song with Hall & Oates.
Catch Dorian Electra in Melbourne and Sydney this week! TICKETS HERE.
Interview by Lloyd Crackett
Image: Charlotte Rutherford