Dorian Electra just wanna make you squirm
Dorian Electra I can’t imagine waiting years to release new music. In the weeks leading up to their debut album Flamboyant, the songwriter and singer was already gearing up for the next one, releasing his debut single a full month before the previous album hit the streaming services. “For me, I’ve always felt the urgency,” they say on a Zoom call from their home in Los Angeles. “After my collaboration with Charli xcx, I knew I had to release an album the following year.
Electra hints at their guest function on “Femmebot”, the star produced by AG Cook from Charli’s mixtape 2017 Pop 2. A staple of an otherwise star-studded release, the track felt like a fitting introduction to Electra’s music, with a brilliant production that reinforced the emphasis on the song’s genre in the age of robotics. The track was just the beginning for the singer, who is fluent and uses them / them pronouns. Singles solo “From man to man,” “Career boy” and “Daddy loves” remake Electra as a puffy-eyed boxer, coffee-thirsty workaholic, and greasy-haired pimp – a drag king determined to showcase some of the more toxic qualities associated with masculinity. The album presented a singular message of empowerment amid the wide variety of voices and characters it portrayed, while also asserting Electra’s place in the pantheon of post-PC Music superstars as committed to brain production as in writing moving pop songs.
Never one to stand still, Electra has maintained a stable release schedule ever since. Flamboyant, dropping five singles into the build at My agenda. Not quite a full-fledged album, the tight 26-minute release is packed with plenty of co-writers and guest singers, including former collaborators like Earl Baldor, umru, and 100 guys‘ Dylan brady as well as a few unlikely newcomers namely Rebecca Black, Village People and Pussy Riot. “Each person on the project is very specific to the song,” they tell me.
With so many people confined to states of relative isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, collaborators may have been more intentional about their contributions to the project, following Electra in fairly unorthodox places that may not have were possible under normal conditions. The album’s title track explores the stereotypes conservatives often project about the LGBTQIA + community, using guest contributions from Village People and Pussy Riot as counterpoints to anchor Electra’s adventurous spirit. “It’s really crazy because for me, [Village People] represent the most amazing integration of gay culture, ”says Electra. “But on the other side of the spectrum, we have the Pussy Riot, which is like one of the best-known activist groups in the world. These two together on a conspiracy theories song, I just can’t believe it all came together. ”
This interest in right-wing conspiracies takes the project into bold new territory, exploring a deeper fascination with reactionary politics through the contemporary image of incel. Songs like “F The World,” Monk Mode “and” Ram It Down “examine the perspectives of various confused young men drawn to violence when they cannot fuck, while others like” Gentleman “and” Edgelord ” Emphasize the grotesque aesthetic of Chan culture through cargo shorts, Mountain Dews and fedoras. “With this project, I wanted to deepen more and more the misogyny of Internet culture and explore more intense and more hardcore musical themes,” they say. “To make music more edgy and emotional than before.”
Filled with racing breakbeats, throbbing guitars and colossal dubstep drops, it’s deeply disorienting listening, listening that walks the knife edge between heartfelt appreciation and deconstruction of the campy genre in a way that even Electra seems unable to explain. “I’m a troll that way – I’m the ‘Edgelord’ – but I like to do it with progressive causes in mind,” they say, referring to the previously released single. “Making people squirm and feel uncomfortable or excited, but confused.” Whatever the imagined outcome, the project is fearless in its dedication to Electra’s vision, even when it means sell your own bath water, create your own TikTok dances, or become the joker. Sometimes all it takes is a commitment to the bit.