CLT DRP – “I don’t care how much you love Harry Potter”

CLT DRP – “I don’t care how much you love Harry Potter”

By Liam Knowles

Oct 20, 2020 18:18

If I could encapsulate Brighton-based electro-punk trio CLT DRP in one word, that word would be “provocative”. From the radio unfriendly band name (pronounced 'Clit Drip'), to the risqué cover art of the band's latest release ‘Without The Eyes’ (there are pubes on it), to the unapologetic lyrical content and delivery, to the baffling cacophony of electronic noise happening behind the vocals... CLT DRP clearly aren't out to play it safe.

They’re a difficult band to sum up, but vocalist Annie Dorrett managed to do so fairly succinctly during our recent interview. “If you like The Prodigy and Peaches, I think you’ll like our stuff too.” It’s a perfectly good reference point to start with, but Annie’s influences aren’t as simple as that, and can’t be distilled down to specific bands and artists.

“I don’t really have one particular artist in mind, but rather a few different genres that I grew up with that influenced me like hip-hop and musical theatre.” These genres might seem opposed, but listening to CLT DRP it makes perfect sense that Annie draws from these places. Her dramatic enunciation and mocking tone on tracks like ‘Speak To My’ and ‘Where The Boys Are’ definitely leans on the exaggerated characters found in musical theatre, but she delivers this with the intimidating sense of self-confidence that hip-hop is often synonymous with. Whilst Annie and I didn’t go into too much detail about hip-hop, I can confirm that she thinks ‘WAP’ is the best song of 2020 when performed by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, and the worst song of 2020 when performed by Biffy Clyro. Honestly, I can’t disagree with the latter.

‘Without The Eyes’ was released back in August, but despite being a difficult listen both sonically and lyrically at times, it seems to have resonated with a lot of people. “I think all of us are really pleased and grateful at how well it’s been received”, Annie said when asked about the response to the record. “I must admit it was quite nice seeing the content and lyrics being taken so well, I was worried about some of the reactions that would come from them.”

Annie’s concern is understandable, given that ‘Without The Eyes’ is an unflinchingly personal record. It deals with themes of body positivity on ‘I Don’t Want To Go To The Gym’, music industry misogyny on ‘Where The Boys Are’ and female sexuality on ‘Speak To My’. Whilst these may be topics that bands have covered before, CLT DRP take them on with such a lack of subtlety that it’s impossible to ignore the messages contained within the songs.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s a weird feeling having it out there. I get scared sometimes of saying the wrong thing or worried that lyrics might be taken in the wrong way. I like to think that most of my lyrics are empowering enough to be heard and I find that more comforting than scary. I mean ‘Speak to My’ and ‘Where the Boys Are’ are centred around my sexuality and experiences and they’re quite abrasive so those were a little nerve-racking. The song I put out about my dad and I’s relationship was terrifying too. It’s not that often you get to tell someone how you feel without really telling them how you feel face to face.”

The song Annie is talking about here is ‘Like Father’, a song based around a letter that she once wrote, but never sent, to her dad. It’s an interesting take on a familial relationship that isn’t necessarily a bad one, but isn’t without its complications. Luckily, her dad seems to have taken this openness (and his new found fame) quite well.

“I think he was actually touched that I wanted to write about him. The song itself may sound aggressive but it’s actually more of a kind letter to him. It was like a ‘Hey, I know things have been hard and weird and we never spoke about it, but I’m here to talk it out and I’m learning and I’m trying and I can see that you are too’. I’m really lucky to have a family that supports my extremely emotional songwriting.”

As mentioned before, a lot of Annie’s lyrics centre around her experiences as a woman, in particular a woman in an industry and/or scene dominated by men, everywhere from the stage to the studio. When asked what changes she would like to see, she gives a justifiably frustrated response. “I just want to see some producers that are not a straight white man for starters. Please let us see some god damn diversity behind the scenes!”

She then turns the question back on me, whether she meant to or not. “I’d also like to see interviewers asking bands that don’t talk about feminism about feminism. It’s not a taboo subject, and men need to see other men talking about it.” It’s a fair comment. It’s easy to ask a band like CLT DRP about feminism and other matters of social justice, because you know from their lyrical content and public stance that you’re going to get a good, positive answer that won’t upset or alienate any of the band’s existing fanbase. It’s harder to have that conversation with bands that don’t have an answer ready, and Annie rightly feels that those are some potentially important platforms going unused.

“I want to see musicians talking about it, and raising awareness with the platforms we have. I feel like personally as a band we do the bare minimum and it’s still a lot more than other bands which is sad. I get it’s tiring but it’s necessary especially when things like BLM or #womeninmusic aren’t ‘trending’, it’s a conversation that just needs to keep happening over and over again.” Despite her passionate stance, Annie acknowledges that being a good person requires work and is an ongoing process rather than a concrete placement. “Everyone’s guilty of forgetting or participating in oppressive behaviour in one form or another, but the reality is if you’re trying to be better with these things and admitting when you mess up, people will forgive you and move on and we’ll start to learn a little bit more from each other.” Even Annie is reluctant to try and summarise what it means to be a feminist in 2020, but the one thing she is sure of is this – “I don’t care how much you love Harry Potter but J.K. Rowling and her absolute disrespect and hate for trans women is not what feminism looks like.”

So that’s CLT DRP; a pro-feminist, pro-trans rights, pro-female empowerment, anti-Biffy Clyro electro punk trio with elements of hip-hop and musical theatre. If you can’t imagine what that might sound like, ‘Without The Eyes’ is out now for your listening pleasure. It is a genuinely unique, innovative and just generally fantastic record that’s well worth your time. Hopefully it won’t be long before the band can, in Annie’s words, “play a god damn show with no Corona floating about and fucking it up”.