Editors’ Notes The cover art for Dorian Electra’s 2020 project My Agenda is a world away from that of its predecessor Flamboyant—the 2019 debut that confirmed the singer as a pioneering new face of alt-pop. If the Dorian of Flamboyant was a hyperreal dandy, the sword-wielding artist we find here is engulfed in blurred, neon-flecked darkness. And it’s a fitting contrast: on My Agenda, Electra pivots away from the trailblazing pop of their debut to dive deep—over 11 songs lasting just 26 minutes—into incel culture, online trolling, masculinity and the birth of the alt-right online. “This project for me is extremely political and there’s a lot of angst and anger,” Electra tells Apple Music. “It’s very dark, but I just wanted to go there.” Where some artists in 2020 have turned to pop as an escape route for their despair, Electra doubles down on that darkness, embracing dubstep, metal, hardcore, EDM and even Gregorian monk chants. (Pop, of course, is still present.) My Agenda might surprise some of Electra’s fans, not least for its inspired list of guest artists (Pussy Riot, Village People, Rebecca Black and Faris Badwan of The Horrors), but this is, they are insistent, not a second album. “It feels very much like a 1.5 for me, rather than a two,” says Electra. “And I’m excited to re-approach pop in a bigger way, informed by this.” Read on as Dorian Electra walks us through that 1.5, one song at a time.

F the World (feat. The Garden, Quay Dash & d0llywood1)
“I wanted to have a really abrasive first track to this project, and something you can’t ignore and this song just gets straight to the point. It might be shocking for people when they hear this, because it is really intense. It’s about being so lonely and so downtrodden that you’re like, ‘F**k the world. It’s out to get me.’ But also being so lonely and so horny that you literally want to f**k the world. It’s about all of that angst and violence that can come out of loneliness. The song becomes much bigger with the features added to it. The Garden, for example, have always been very progressive and also captured that punk energy and vocals. And it’s so refreshing to see people that are the opposite of toxic masculinity embodying that really hardcore punk spirit.”

My Agenda (feat. Village People & Pussy Riot)
“I knew I wanted to do a collab with Pussy Riot, but it was my creative director Weston Allen’s idea to have Village People on here. We have the same booking agency, and we’d always joked about working with them, but it was always like, ‘Oh, lol, as if.’ Then we pitched this song and they loved it. Village People are like the most iconic LGBT act, but they’re mainstream. And there’s that versus Pussy Riot: probably one of the most well-known activist groups in the world. To have them together on a track that is so openly queer is amazing. At the end of this song, it goes into a hypnotic trance of saying ‘homosexual’. It comes from [conspiracy theorist] Alex Jones famously saying in 2017 that he didn’t want [the government] ‘putting chemicals in the water that are turning the freaking frogs gay.’ So, we sampled frog sound effects and stuff on it. At first we were like, ‘This is too ridiculous.’ And then we were like, ‘No, this has to be the ending of the song.’”

“This song reminds me of pick-up artists going to the club with a fedora on. But it’s a really uncool version of that. [DJ and producer] Count Baldor was just playing with this sax part [on his laptop], and it was the coolest, lamest, weakest, most powerful sound you could get. And we all just became obsessed with it. The song has this swagger to it—it’s like a TikTok-optimised club song. It’s the idea of this chivalrous gentleman, this nice guy who’s got it going on, and he’s trying to talk to you in the club. It’s that sort of the lighter side of the neckbeard, incel culture. The darker side is ‘M’Lady’.”

“This was written because it felt like ‘Gentleman’ was missing something. I tried doing a bridge on it and then someone came up with the idea of doing a double single. And then they became the dual music video, with me as both the neckbeard and this perfect fantasy, feminine elf creature with these huge boobs. There’s so much in incel culture where it’s like, ‘Well, this f**king bitch won’t put out. She’s not going to have sex with me.’ But then also it’s like, ‘Oh my God. But she’s a whore.’ There’s a weird double standard. And I really wanted to capture that in this really dark and obsessive thing.”

Iron Fist (feat. Faris Badwan)
“I wanted to have a track that was poppy, but which is also super gritty. And I knew I wanted to do a song called ‘Iron Fist’, because it references a totalitarian government rule, but I also thought about it applied to BDSM. I was also obsessed with gauntlets. I feel every song title has triple or quadruple entendres to me. That’s the only way I find something interesting. The Horrors honestly inspired me to start writing music—I was a super Stan. Faris and I met in November 2019 at one of my shows in London. Later I was like, ‘I have this song…He would sound amazing on this.’ It makes me think, ‘Oh wow, which of my super fans am I going to end up collabing with in 12 years?’”

Barbie Boy (feat. Sega Bodega)
“I always loved the Aqua song ‘Barbie Girl’. Anything that’s gender to the extreme, I just love and find so fascinating and fun and sexy. I definitely identify as a feminine-masculine vibe a lot of the time. Butch is a word that I’m like, ‘That is so far from my vibe.’ So I like the idea of this feminine Barbie Boy. Not GI Joe, not a Ken doll, but Barbie Boy. And the idea of getting obsessed with bodies and making yourself plastic and perfect—whether that’s through Photoshop or working out or elective surgery. I wanted to do a big pop track, because I do love that, but also to give people a break from everything else on here.”

Sorry Bro (I Love You)
“You can interpret this song in a lot of different ways. First, I wanted to make a song that was really fun and felt good. But the idea for it came from remembering seeing one dude accidentally touching another dude in middle school, and being like, ‘Oh, sorry bro!’ Then it’s kind of this thing of, ‘Sorry bro, I love you.’ I guess, feeling apologetic for your emotions about somebody. But then also the ambiguity of romance, bromance and feelings for someone that are maybe more than platonic. I also find this one empowering. Being bros with somebody—even if it’s a man and a woman, two women, two non-binary people, whatever it is—the idea that you can be like, ‘This is my bro.’ And it’s just kind of reclaiming that, because that’s something that’s been so powerful in relationships for me. Before I came to my own gender identity as genderfluid and they/them, it was like, ‘I don’t like being somebody’s girlfriend.’ Something about it didn’t sit with me. And then realising that the best relationships that I had were really the ones where it started out as just friends and just as bros. And how meaningful and special that can be.”

Monk Mode (feat. GAYLORD) [Interlude]
“The idea was about trying to make ‘monkstep’—fusing Gregorian monk chant with dubstep. Then, as I was researching incels, I came across the term ‘monk mode’, which means you’re going voluntarily celibate, like, ‘I’m going to just focus on myself and self-improvement.’ I was like, ‘Well, that obviously has to be the monkstep song.’ Weston was just reading some stuff online, and came across GAYLORD—a queer Black Metal artist. I emailed them, and we just had this amazing connection. Black metal is known for heinous white supremacy, which is tainting the whole genre. To see somebody [like GAYLORD] who’s like, ‘No, I’m taking this hardcore music and I’m turning that against all this hate and stuff’ just perfectly embodied the vibe of what I wanted to do musically with this project.”

Edgelord [feat. Rebecca Black]
“This song was made in quarantine. There were all the Zoom parties in the beginning, and people were spamming swastikas and racial slurs in the chat. And it was just like, ‘Who are these people? They know this is a queer party.’ And trying to contemplate that. Rebecca Black is a person who has dealt with, at such a young age, the most heinous internet trolls and online bullying—even from adults on talk shows and celebrities making fun of her—because of her song ‘Friday’. She’s been able to take that back and make it this empowering thing, and then also she’s recently come out as queer and is a big fan of the hyperpop community. So I was like, ‘Wow, I really should reach out to her.’ But I was really nervous at first because I thought there was no way she was going to say yes. But she was super down and into it.”

Ram It Down (feat. Mood Killer, Lil Mariko & Lil Texas)
“My inspiration for songs is often hearing an interesting or weird phrase. ‘Ram it down’ caught my attention because I would hear people say things like, ‘Oh, hey man, I’m okay with gay people. But don’t be holding hands in public, man. Don’t ram it down my throat.’ And the fact is, there’s this highly charged, homoerotic language that accompanies that deep homophobia. I wanted this song to be super intense, charged, masculine, with screaming guitars and hardcore. And I felt like all three of the artists were perfect for this song. They’re all breaking down genre or gender barriers.”

Give Great Thanks
“[Producer] Socialchair made the instrumental for this part. It was a very cheesy ballad vibe, but it was beautiful. We’d been talking about BDSM at the writing camp, so it was on the brain. And we were like, ‘Well, what if this is some really hardcore, nasty kind of stuff, but it’s over this beautiful thing?’ I was like, ‘Okay, I think everyone needs to leave the room for me to try to write these vocals, because it’s actually going to be really personal.’ This is really deeply personal and serious about the intensity of a relationship when you want to give them power over you and your body, and how meaningful that can be. And how you can really lose yourself in it. It is a love song to me. I think traditionally I have been so self-conscious about writing love songs but to me, I feel comfortable because this is so weird and bizarre. I’ve had some people reach out to me where they were like, ‘This song got to me.’ And I’m like, ‘Thank you,’ because there are also a lot of people who are like, ‘This song is f**king weird.’ It was nice to be vulnerable, but in a traditionally vulnerable way.”


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