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NUNN ON ONE MUSIC The portrait of Dorian Electra
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2020-02-22

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Dorian Electra is part of a whole new wave of artists currently changing the game.

Being gender-fluid has influenced their work in music videos that continue to be a big component to Electra's art. Through this work, viewers are only entertained and educated on philosophies from the economist Friedrich Hayek, the futurist Ray Kurzweil and theorist Steven Horwitz. Other stimulating topics have been covered over the course of their career with songs such as "Ode to the Clitoris" and "The History of Vibrators."

Chicago drag queens Imp Queen, The Vixen and Lucy Stoole, among others, have been featured prominently in Electra's videos. Many of their videos have been screened at LGBT film festivals around the world to critical acclaim.

Not only did Electra tour with Charli XCX recently, but they also performed on the track "Femmebot," with Mykki Blanco, on the mixtape Pop 2.

Flamboyant, Electra's debut album, was released in 2019, and included catchy bops like the memorable "Daddy Like" as well as "Adam & Steve."

Electra chatted about their career backstage at a recent sold-out Subterranean show in Bucktown.

Windy City Times: A diverse crowd is lined up outside for your show!

Dorian Electra: I haven't seen them yet, but I am always so in love with all the crowds that come to my shows. It's always a positive energy. That is what I always want to encourage, an inclusive, fun vibe.

WCT: Even the bathrooms are welcoming.

DE: Gender-neutral bathrooms are at all of my shows.

WCT: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

DE: I am from Houston, originally. I went to school in Chicago at Shimer College. I lived here four years. I would see shows here at Subterranean all the time. I have played shows as an opening act, but this is my first show headlining here.

WCT: Your name is actually Dorian Electra Fridkin Gomberg.

DE: Yes, my parents named me that. They are really cool people. My dad is actually here tonight. He came in from Austin and is very supportive.

WCT: Was it hard in Texas being different from everyone else?

DE: I was lucky because I was surrounded by a very nice, supportive community.

WCT: I noticed you are familiar with the drag scene in Chicago.

DE: Yes. We collaborated on a video for "2000 Years of Drag." It was part of a Refinery29 video series I did.

Chicago is super-special to me. I feel like that is where my queer family is.

WCT: You used local drag king Tenderoni for the video "VIP."

DE: Yes, Tenderoni is iconic and such a performer.

WCT: How did you wind up on tour with Charli XCX?

DE: We worked on a song together in 2017. We had done parties together. We did one in Chicago in 2018 called Femmebot Fantasy, which was based on our song "Femmebot." We had amazing, local queer performers. That was at Emporium Logan Square.

I came back in November to open for Charli and Allie X at House of Blues. We did an after party that night also.

WCT: Do you come up with the treatments on these creative videos? I believe you directed some.

DE: Yes. My partner, Weston Allen, and I direct all the videos together. Weston edits them and I style them. Our background is in film, so it is a DIY production where a lot of our friends work on it with us.

It is something we have been doing since 2013. Weston is a full time video director and editor. He also works on my graphic design and other projects with me.

WCT: Your latest video, "Guyliner," you have described as something for the straight guys.

DE: Oh, yeah—but it's for everybody, of course. I said that because the video is very inspired by the 2000 MySpace era. The idea is about celebrating makeup and you don't have to be a woman or a queer person or even feminine to wear makeup.

Music is a tool to express yourself. I identify as gender-fluid, so I originally felt conflicted about makeup and how it played into my identity. I didn't want to feel too fully feminine or masculine. I like to mix it up. Makeup through drag was a way to express myself.

WCT: Is this leading to you [creating] makeup?

DE: I want to put out a full line of makeup, but now we put out a limited edition collector's item. A portion of the profits from that is going to the LGBT Center in LA.

WCT: How you feel about living in LA?

DE: I really love it. A lot of people are making regular pop music, but they are bridging the gap between experimental and underground music. There is an energy there that pushes you to the next level as an artist.

The reason I like the LGBT Center there is that I know the people and they actually do things to help LGBT homeless youth and provide mental health services to people. There are lots of other great organizations, but with this one I see the direct impact.

WCT: How do you pack for a tour with so many different looks and clothing?

DE: I try to bring things that are within the same color scheme, so I can mix and match easily. I try to get the efficiency out of every piece.

I bring a lot of T-shirts. I have a new collection of skeleton-themed T-shirts. I sleep in those or do soundcheck while wearing them.

WCT: How do you come up with your style?

DE: I like to mix in high pop like Britney Spears with BDSM. I have a hardcore vibe with punk and bright colors. I like to juxtapose different styles together.

WCT: What would you like to tell your fans [who] are struggling with their identities?

DE: There are so many people online to connect with. Even if they are from a small town and don't have a supportive community, they are not alone. There are so many people out there like them. It has been cool to see my fans make friends with each other, just from the groups online, then they hang out in real life.

WCT: I've seen your fans online debating on which gender you are attracted to. Want to clear that up?

DE: There's a difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. I can identify as queer or pansexual, but not really categorize people's gender of who I am attracted to personally. People get preoccupied about things but, to me, queerness isn't even about who you are attracted to and more just about who you are.

Follow Electra on tour and keep up with all their projects at DorianElectra.com .


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