London DIY icon Delilah Holliday strikes with her first EP
7 July 2023
“There’s a positivity and self-assurance that runs through her lyrics that only emphasises the general contented narcotic haze of it all” – DIY
“Moving entirely at her own pace, she bares part of herself and encourages you to do the same” – Loud & Quiet
“Dreamlike, introspective yet laced with vivid realisation” – Clash Magazine
‘Invaluable Vol, 1’ exists in the space between fantasy and reality. It collects six tracks of downtempo electronic art pop with added layers of trip hop, that make up a musical and aesthetic environment using an intoxicating medley of heady synth, penetrated by dancefloor beats. Sonically it’s transportive, but in her lyrics Delilah was keen to keep things grounded. These opposing elements are capitalised on throughout; it’s consistently dreamlike but never without awareness, keeping the listener in expectation purgatory.
The EP was co-written and co-produced with audio/visual composer Suckour both remotely and in his Waterloo studio. As such, they found the location fed the process, with the grinding mechanics soundtracking Delilah’s train journeys and the bleak visual backdrop sculpting the narrative. She tells us that “we wanted to create a sonic world where each song had its own characteristics. We visualised the EP being a house, and imagined how all the songs would sound and feel as rooms in this imaginary house. If you listen to the tracks closely you might be able to hear some trains in some of the vocal takes. ‘Everything I Ever Wanted’ was created on Don Cherry’s piano in Neneh Cherry’s house in Sweden which I recorded then cut up and resampled”.
Delilah’s themes explore structural inequality and poverty, they’re politically nuanced, and without gratuitousness. On ‘Burn Money’, she reflects directly on the cost-of-living crisis but uses her metaphor to address consumer capitalism as the root cause. She says “it’s about the scare of most Brits not being able to put on their heating. And you know, we're all working hard to heat our homes. It's the concept of feeling like you’re physically burning money, but then it also has a double-sided concept of this kind of capitalist culture, you just burn money to afford the latest clothes and essentials too”.
Delilah Holliday grew up writing songs as a child and found an affinity with music from an early age, forming the punk band Skinny Girl Diet aged 14 with her sister Ursula and their cousin Amelia. In 2018, after a successful run, SGD went on a hiatus & Delilah posted her first solo song ‘Babylon’ on Soundcloud, which she wrote & produced herself. Since then, Delilah has been mentored by the likes of Neneh Cherry and Suckour.
The EP, the first of two, says that we are all a product of our upbringing, and Delilah’s creativity is intrinsically linked to her surroundings. She concludes; “Aesthetically I really wanted to communicate all the experiences that go into making yourself. All of us on this planet have had a unique experience. And I feel like they're invaluable experiences, and they are the riches in life, because they make you who you are. Growing up on a council estate, I feel like that's made me the person I am, made me create the art, and I just want the visuals to reflect that and be real. Because although I love conveying fantasy worlds and things like that, I do feel like sometimes realism is very important. And the brutal nature of London is the making of me personally as an artist. And although I like to be away with the fairies, it's good to come back down to earth and to portray that”.