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Interview with ADHARMA

ADHARMA photographed by Claire Hodgkins
ADHARMA photographed by Claire Hodgkins

A song I've had on repeat recently has been 'Hush Hush' by ADHARMA, so I reached out to the band to see if they would be up for an interview with me about the song and their creative processes.

"Through the lyrical work of Charlie Draper, and the backing of pop infused metal, a melodrama has been formed of equal parts truth and sincerity. The music explores the stories of a dramatic past, infused with honesty and experience, and tackles subjects of human nature and soul. ADHARMA was born out of frustration for the lack of female issues addressed in modern, alternative music, then moulded into more of an escape for everyone involved as more influences became prevalent in their writing."

I was lucky enough to catch up with singer and lyricist Charlie Draper to talk all about 'Hush Hush', playing live and what's next for them.

Hi Charlie, how are you?

Good thank you! Busy busy but that's the way I like it, how are you? 

How would you describe your sound to the readers?

Good question, I always say that my sound is a fusion, between pop, djent and metal. Some of my listeners have described it as 'Disney goes metal' and I think that hits it on the head.

Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?

I don't think I could pinpoint it to just one, but pretty much any female musician in the metal scene, they're all killing it. And it's so good to see the industry grow more and more diverse, we all hype each other up. But if I had to pick some musicians that have an influence on my writing style I'd probably pick Poppy and Billie Eillish.

How did your musical journey start?

My parents always said as soon as I was talking, I was singing. I come from a very creative family and from the age of 3 I knew I wanted to perform, so it's always been in my blood I guess you could say. But it definitely took a more professional stance when ADHARMA was created, I found my people who help curate my voice and help me fulfil my artistic visions.

Your new single ‘Hush Hush’ is out now, congratulations! I absolutely love this song and have been playing it a lot recently, how was the process of creating this song for you? Can you explain more about the inspiration behind the lyrics for this song?

Thank you! I'm super proud of Hush Hush, I took a real leap of faith. This song was designed to be a statement, to give a voice to all those who may not have one. This song represents the voice being taken away from the victims, most often the case women. Specifically, I wanted to tap into the gruelling subject of abuse, assault and female medical healthcare. Hence 'Hush Hush, be a good girl'. representing that we're often forced into silence because our voice isn't taken as seriously as our male counterparts. Specifically medically, I have endometriosis, a chronic, incurable condition that affects 1 in 10 women, there is no cure..why?! It took me 10 years to be diagnosed after multiple scans, surgeries and I was always told there was nothing wrong. When in actual fact my organs were fused together with scar tissue. I spent years of my life in agony, not being believed, sadly my story isn't unique in that. So, I really wanted to represent that in this song, that whether it's 'no' or 'i'm in pain' we're often disregarded.

Do you have a favourite lyric or line from the song?

'Put a bow around a bomb, watch me blackout' sticks out to me, representing that women are often left feeling like they have to keep quiet and look pretty. Hence the bow round a bomb, dress me up and suppress my voice all you like, but eventually as a human I will implode. It came to me inspired by Frida Kahlo's 'A Bomb, with Ribbon Around It' where the ribbon represents a trigger for an explosion of subject matter that addresses politics, gender equality and sexism.

What’s something you want listeners to take away from listening to ‘Hush Hush’?

I ideally want people to watch the video and think, question about how it made them feel. I've had women comment how grossed out they were by the menstrual blood scene in the video...and I ask them why? Why are you repulsed by a natural thing that your body does? It offers the start of a lot of internal dialogue and growth, for everyone regardless of gender. Do you offer the same amount of respect for the women in your life as you do men? Why is women's pain dismissed so easily, and what can we do to improve the rights that women hold over their body.

I saw you play live back at Burn It Down in 2022, and thought your set left a really great impression! What do you love most about playing live?

I mean I live for that high, that feeling as soon as you finish where you're like 'wow I did that' there is no high like it. But I love getting to connect with people, look people in the eyes whilst I'm on stage (ironically i'm far worse at eye contact when off stage) but story telling is something i'm passionate to do, to anyone willing to listen :)

Do you have a favourite memory from tour?

Oooh, i've made so many fantastic memories with the boys, it's hard to pick just one. There was one gig where our Drummer Ben, lost his keys. He was convinced we'd moved them or taken them to wind him up. We all spend nearly an hour searching, panicking that we're not going to be able to get our gear home...he'd put his keys in his backpack. We still rinse him for that to this day. 

What's next for you, do you have more music on the way?

I do! Very soon actually. My next song touches upon a subject far more universal to my listeners....mental health. I want to raise awareness of mental health as much as I can and break the stigma for men too. So that's exciting, but also looking forward to getting back on stage in April. 

And lastly, what music have you been listening to recently? Anything you can recommend to us?

I've gotten big into Sleep Theory and DeathbyRomy recently, some absolute bangers there!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions for us, it’s really appreciated!

Thanks so much for wanting to hear from me, it's been an honour!

ADHARMA photographed by Claire Hodgkins
ADHARMA photographed by Claire Hodgkins

You can listen to Hush Hush by ADHARMA here.

You can follow ADHARMA here.

You can find all things After Midnight here.


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