This is a partial article and interview from WUSSY Vol. 6. Be sure to order your copy for more exclusives!
Dorian Electra played their cards in a way that (intentionally or not) led them to become a queer underground icon in an incredibly short time. Their first full length, Flamboyant, now available on all platforms, is a solid show of Electra’s strength as a singer and musician, sans the physical persona in media they are extremely well-known for. Though it’s impossible to separate the mental imagery for the 4 well-loved previously released videos (“Flamboyant”, “Career Boy”, “Man to Man” and “Daddy Like”), each song shines bright and brilliantly in this 11-track record. Opening track “Mr. To You” immediately invites the listener into the shiny megaverse of Electra eccentricity one can’t deny is irrevocably delicious.
Flamboyant follows the title track’s Liberace-esque layout into a decadent showcase of infectious back-to-back tracks, irresistibly easy to listen to fully through. “Guyliner” and “Emasculate” amp Electra’s paraded panache of opulence in masculine-feminine peacocking, whereas “Adam and Steve” and “Live by the Sword” explore mythic ballads in theatrical tenacity. And even in Flamboyant’s humour (as they joke of in “Musical Genius”), Electra has attained a certain status of character creation that is both chuckle-friendly and clever. It is a sham to call Electra simply a musician. With meticulous attention to detail, Electra is a bonafide performance artist who advocates queer visibility, sexual expression and tender communication, sweetened with philosophical positivity and comedic timing alongside their fervent 90’s boy band sound.
Childhood roots in musical theater, their mother a singer (for a living) and father in a classic rock cover band (for fun), Electra crafted vids as young as 14 with bestie Clara before ever writing songs. Adorkable montages of ELO and James Pants became the large foundation for their own personal compositions i.e. “It was really natural for me to start with the visual stuff in mind even before the music.” Electra embraced a week during early Winter 2019 in Vegas for a madcap experiment of coordination and collaboration with a large crew to compose and record material. Producers Dylan Brady, Umru, Social Chair, ABSRDST and songwriters Bonnie McKee, Mood Killer and Weston Allen soaked in the neon-locale to create fresh tracks as well as putting together the song “2 Fast” with fan input via Instagram live. Flamboyant is a result of this writing camp, its Vegas vibe glittering in the energy of this record.
Long-standing creative partner Weston Allen (above) has co-directed and edited nearly every Electra video, wizarding behind the curtain to bring narratives alive with precision. The ingenious imagery sheds further light on the songs’ context and have undoubtedly been a major point of exposure, cementing Electra as a quirky storyteller for a queer crowd. Early works retell the trials and tribulations of “female sexuality” via “Vibrator”, which found the creative duo hosting a sex ed series through Refinery29. “Clitopia” gained immense Internet adoration and budding fans, but the candy-coated mod meets Rococo of “High Heels” was an official step into more masculine characterization as Electra found their own non-binary identity naturally magnetized towards material lovingly mocking masculine egos and stereotypes. “Career Boy” sizzled as a caricature of work addiction and the orange-tan cheeseballs of “VIP” club battled in childish popularity contests, Slay Rizz laying down verses in a tiny space age bikini. “Man to Man” has been the most direct challenge of toxic masculinity to date, Electra’s actoral abilities alone branding them a concept artist challenging the needed breakdown of gender expectations. Electra’s own journey as both an artist and individual have intertwined immensely.
“As I became more involved in the drag scene, and was introduced to the notion that I, as a person assigned female at birth, could be doing ‘drag’ when dressed as a ‘woman’, I started to really understand and embrace my own gender fluidity especially when I felt supported by those communities.”
Their resurrection of over-the-top dance genres with impressive range in vocal stylings and high-polished production alone surpasses many indie artists. Electra’s steadfast studious melodies and aesthetic astuteness are one part of a larger picture and purpose, heightened by impeccable tongue-in-cheek lyrics and embellishments of camp and irony in unexpected turns. As a quickly prolific poster boy and next-level queer Weird Al, their long-standing love of satirizing rigid gender roles yet earnest challenge of oppression is packaged seamlessly with technotronic tempos and MTV choreography.
“I love pop music because it’s accessible, it’s everywhere, it’s fun and mainstream, yet can also be used to challenge the status quo in a way that can have a wide impact and not just be constrained to a niche audience,” Electra acknowledges. “So many of the same tired tropes (of relationships, sex, gender roles, etc) have historically been perpetuated through pop music, through the same stories and language, only highlighting what are deemed as ‘relatable’/sellable experiences. But as more queer people come out and are able to have the courage to be visible, people are starting to realize that straight and cis romances and identities are not the only kind of ‘relatable’ experiences out there. Pop music doesn’t always have to be ‘directly relatable’ - it can be used as tool for sharing and learning about the different experiences of others.”