“I’ve Been Calling it ‘Depressive Suicidal Pop Music'”; Don’t Do It Neil Wanna Know What Dragon Tastes Like

You should all absolutely already know this by now, but Philadelphia’s Don’t do it, Neil was already a bit fucking special. Mabel Harper has long managed to combine a Weeknd-esque ability to document the seediness and pain behind revelry and intimacy with an exquisite understanding of how right these wrongs sometimes feel that can sometimes rival Stock, Aitken and Waterman’s grasp of sheer pop bliss. Her songs often sound like the building pleasure leading towards an orgasm while having sex with someone you really shouldn’t, but always with the underlying anxiety of the size of the mess you’ll have to clean up after your messy climax. This has been quite the opening paragraph, hasn’t it?

Worryingly, there were moments in the last couple of years involving suicidal thoughts and hospitalisations that might have led to the brilliant B/X album being her final record. However, Mabel managed to survive and process the experience, and today sees the release of her new album ‘I WANNA SEE WHAT DEATH IS LIKE‘, adding new perspectives on death, grief and mortality to an artist whose personal circumstances already made her one of the rarest perspectives in pop music. As soon as I heard of its release, I had to request an interview. Which meant only one thing.

The carrier pigeon

Yeah, I know, the handwriting’s terrible, but in my defence I asked my personal carrier pigeon (Twattori) to write it himself, so my hands are clean on this one. Unfortunately, Twattori did not survive the journey and so was unable to reach Philadelphia to deliver the message. He didn’t even survive long enough to leave the UK. In fact, he didn’t make it 50 metres from my window. Because I shot him. Seriously, did you see that handwriting? Mabel would never talk to me if she saw that. Christ, Twattori was such a prick wasn’t he?

So I just hit her up on Twitter. I was going to blow her mind with questions she’d never been asked before.

Firstly, and I’m sorry for being the 65’703rd person to ask you this question, but why ‘Don’t do it, Neil’?

In the movie Dead Poets Society, there was a kid named Neil who seemed pretty gay to me. Just a really sweet boy who discovered his love of acting only to have his passion ripped away from him by his father. Long story short, Neil kills himself during the climax of the movie, and it was really, really devastating to me. So “Don’t do it, Neil” means, “Don’t do it, Neil, don’t kill yourself.”

That’s an amazing origin story. Do you relate to Neil at all? Is having your passions stripped from you one of your greatest fears?
Honestly, I feel like I’ve had my passion withheld from me for most of my life on account of being raised as a boy. Transitioning and finally deciding to say fuck it and just be a woman was life-saving for me. It changed the entire trajectory of my life by virtue of finally allowing me to be who I really was. So I think it’s easy to relate to Neil, who’s just discovered himself, and it’s easy to relate to the despair of having that discovery of the self not only shamed but to have someone actively try and destroy it.

What IS your passion?? Of all the things you do, what gives you the most pleasure?
Music is the thing I feel most moved by and most moved to do. The best times of my life have been when I was actively working on music, while the worst have been when I felt too busy, depressed, or stressed out to do so. I’ll probably be reborn as a musician. It’s the thing I feel like I’m gonna do for eternity.

What makes the most money?? 
Porn, absolutely.

I wouldn’t feel right watching any of your porn because I respect you too much as an artist. Is that a really reductive stance?
Maybe? But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid of people seeing my porn and not being able to look at me, much less my art, the same way. I’m trying to conquer that fear, which is why I link my porn Twitter on my regular Twitter, because I don’t think that’s a me problem. I think that’s a problem with how everyone sees porn and the people who make it.

The negative way porn is viewed is definitely a problem with society, one that’s been here for a long time and seems like it will take a long time to normalise, it’s great (and correct) that you’re resisting that fear and shame that it’s been decided that you’re supposed to have, but it’s not easy being on the right side of history! You’ve previously mentioned how much you hate how all common preconceptions about doing porn and ‘adult services’ are that the woman doing it is naturally a tragic and dismal figure, only doing it because she’s at her lowest point. What’s the reality, especially now in 2020 when roughly 82% of all women seem to have an Only Fans?

The reality is we live in a patriarchal, capitalist world where any given woman is arbitrarily assigned a value based on how supposedly fuckable they are. Porn, camming, OnlyFans, shit like that is just a way of turning that value into actual dollars.

Do you consider yourself a ‘sex worker’?
I work in the sex industry, so yes.

Have you ever or would you ever have sex with someone for money?
How much are we talking?

I’ve got £35 in my wallet, and the exchange rate is pretty good at the moment.
I’m worth at least fifty times that.

Which musical act has the world’s greatest name?
The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die. I don’t know why they picked that name, but it’s like a mantra to me. Paradoxically, the most I’ve been able to embrace life has been when I felt most okay with death.

The group soon regretted inviting Jackson Pollock to their biweekly orgy

My uncle is called Neil, what would you strongly advise him not to do?
Nothing that’d trap him for another lifetime in the cycle of rebirth.

Tell me about transitioning into a woman- was there a moment, a person, or specific blinding light on the road to Damascus that inspired you to make the change, or was it something you always knew you would do and just wanted the opportunity?
I feel like it was something I knew on and off, with varying shades of awareness. And eventually there came a point where, to me, there was just no turning back.

Do you remember what point that was?
When I knew that that empty feeling of non-recognition I got when I looked at myself in the mirror meant that I wasn’t seeing myself as I should be.

[Embarrassing truth time- I actually assumed ‘Neil’ was your name before you transitioned and your band name was a reference to either other people’s reactions or your own doubts about doing it 😳]

I joke a lot with friends that if I ever blow up, people are gonna think I’m named Neil. But, no, I’ve never been a Neil, nor do I plan on being one.

Assuming (which, as we’ve already seen, makes an ass out of etc and etc) it wasn’t the name you were born with, what led to you to go by ‘Mabel’?

Mabel’ was the name of a character in a novel I was working on. She was kind of an aspirational character, a person I wanted to be, and I didn’t even know how much I had wanted to be her until I began my transition.

I know it’s an obvious question, but who would play you in the inevitable Mabel Harper biopic? Obviously, this will be a 13 part HBO series so will have the time to cover your life pre and post transition, so you can either pick the same actor for both parts or different ones. Also, you can’t play yourself because, I dunno, SAG rules.
We’re gonna get Kim Taehyung from BTS to play me, because the actors they get always look like a better looking version of the real-life person.

Is ‘I WANNA SEE WHAT DEATH IS LIKE’ the death metal album that you’ve long been threatening to release?
Every single moment of the album is pop, and it has some of my catchiest and poppiest hooks to date. But I definitely brought some of my old black metal project’s vibes to it, so much that I’ve been calling it “depressive suicidal pop music.”

Is the title always to be stylised as all capitalised? Are you supposed to shout when you say it out loud?
You’re supposed to say it in a perfectly serene voice, as if you’ve realized this great weight you’ve been carrying throughout your whole life could be cast off in an instant.

How does ‘Tinder Gold’ relate to the album? Is it in any way a companion piece or is it more a collection of songs that wouldn’t fit on ‘IWSWDIL’?
Tinder Gold is very much part of the same narrative, but it’s really focused on what’s going on outside, whereas IWSWDIL is like what happened before and what’s still happening beneath the surface. Tinder Gold is being totally in denial and fucking around, self-aggrandizing, and trying to feel something while being internally devastated. Like, I’m gonna be a bad bitch because I want to fucking believe I’m better than this. The last track is really crucial to understanding that mindset.
Originally the plan was to do a triple album, the first third being most like B/X thematically, the second being IWSWDIL, and the third being Tinder Gold. Like, infatuation, dissolution, and then denial, in that order. But the grieving process is a little more chaotic than any linear narrative like that would imply. Besides, who would honestly listen to a triple album? I’m not even sure how many people still listen to albums proper these days.

What are your thoughts on dating apps? Are you young enough to never remember dating before they existed?
Dating apps suck. They’re the worst. But also it’s not like I’m great at meeting people outside of them. Outside of dating apps, it’s totally ambiguous. I don’t know how to be if, say, I like someone but I have no idea if they’re into me. At least if I meet someone through Tinder, I know they’re attracted to me, and I know that means I can be a little flirty. So it’s a necessary evil.
When I was like 18, I didn’t have Tinder. I guess there was OkCupid and stuff, but I was just meeting people through social media. I was kind of a fuckboy back then though, so I was more fearless and way less conscientious. So I don’t think I’d pursue someone purely through social media these days. I feel like it’s just very, very easy to make someone feel uncomfortable—I know it because I get uncomfortable really easily—and there’s nothing comfortable about having someone slide into your DMs. If someone really has it bad for me, they can try and be my friend first.

What would you class as Tinder gold? What aspect of somebody’s picture or bio is an automatic win?
I like people who sound savvy but don’t seem like they’re trying to sound smart. I’m not trying to fuck a sapiosexual.

And what would you say is Tinder turd? Yeah, I know, I thought I’d be able to think of a better name than that…
Super ironic bios. If they’re cute, I’ll swipe right, but that’s strike one.

Be honest now, what are your feelings toward the band Queen? I grew up in the 90s, when they were justifiably regarded as the shittest thing ever, so the retconning of them as ‘the greatest rock band ever’ is a little jarring.
They’re pretty cool sometimes. I guess Bohemian Rhapsody is actually kind of a great song, though I do fucking hate We Are the Champions and find most of their work boring. I don’t know. I’m not deeply opposed to the rock canon, though I am largely skeptical of it.

Who ARE the greatest rock band ever?
Eraserheads, hands down. They’re a Filipino band, so no one outside the Philippines gives a fuck about them, but they should. Everyone who doesn’t know them has a deep lack in their lives.

While we all wait excitedly for the 13th November, what other albums could we listen to as primers?
Underneath‘ by Code Orange, ‘PAGAN’ by Palmistry, and ‘Wings’ by BTS. Seriously.

I start writing my albums of the year on December 1st. Assuming (correctly) that your biggest ambition for ‘IWSWDIL’ is to win Necessary Evil’s album of the year, are you not worried that you’re leaving it a bit late?
Maybe, but it’s gonna be totally fresh in your mind. And, if I did my music math correctly, you’re gonna be listening to it and dwelling on it for a while, so when you write your list, you’ll have my album playing in your head.

What would success look like for this album? Do you measure it by units shifted?
I guess some part of me does, because that seems like an obvious metric of success, but it’s really not. It’s a snapshot of a particular moment in time. The moment I finished it and listened through the whole thing and felt moved by it and proud of it, that was the real success. Everything after is just a bonus.

What was the last record you paid money for?
I pre-ordered the new BTS record. They had a way more direct hand in it creatively, so I’m excited to see what the boys come up with

I have to say that I’m more of a BLΛƆKPIИK fan, I think this means that we are now mortal enemies. I’m not a superfan of either, but I think I’m drawn more to BLΛƆKPIИK because of the high levels of ridiculousness, which I think are always important in a pop act. What do you appreciate most about BTS?
Honestly, and this sounds wild given that they’re the biggest musical artist in the world right now and exist within the hyper-capitalist paradigm within the music industry, but I find their music and content very genuine and inspiring. The themes that pervade their work largely revolve around introspection, compassion for oneself, and the myriad of struggles and triumphs that go along with that. The fundamental solution to so many of my life’s problems, traumas, and difficulties has been to look deeper inside myself and have compassion for the hurt and terrified parts of myself. Doing that has been key to my own growth and transformation as an individual, and BTS is all about that shift in perspective.

I’m not sure I could even hum or even name a BTS song, what song(s) is an essential introduction to their sound and what you think is special about them?
I don’t really know. There’s no one good introduction to their sound, because all of their songs sound different. I guess Blood, Sweat, & Tears got me hooked though. I don’t know that any one song can really get across how special they are in itself, but it’s a pretty fucking amazing song and music video.

Shit, this is supposed to be a Don’t Do It Neil interview, isn’t it? What DDIN song are you most proud of? I honestly think Raw is your highpoint so far, as it combines the best examples of things that I most consider essential aspects of the DDIN sound (basically, unashamed sexuality mixed with dark undertones of despair) with an absolutely banging song.
Probably Miss Me, because it just makes me feel like a badass and it’s my catchiest song yet. There’s a new one on the new album, BELIEF, that’s a little strange but the way it evolves musically and sonically throughout the song kind of captures this manic shift in perspective that I think is important to understanding my mindset and inner struggles at the time. Not to mention the bassline… I’ve never written a better bassline.

How many cakes are too much cakes?
The answer depends on if you’re diabetic or not.

I am beyond happy to see that Raw is on the album, easily in the top five best songs of 2020. How does it fit into the wider themes of the album?
If the album is about the grieving process following the dissolution of a relationship and the self, then Raw is about wanting to desperately be in denial. That if you can just get fucked good enough by the person you’re losing your mind over, it can make all the bad shit go away.

When was the last time somebody fucked you raw? When was the *best* time??
Like a month ago? I haven’t been having a crazy amount of sex in quarantine. It’s really not on my mind that much, despite what my lyrics might have you think. As for the best time, well, I’ve had a few, and I don’t think it’d be fair of me to rank them.

What other singer could get away with a chorus of ‘Just fuck me up/Just fuck me raw’?
Maybe The Weeknd. He kind of has that interplay of sexy and despairing going on. I relate to it a lot.

As he looked down, Abel tried to politely put on a brave face but it was clear his debauchery had caught up to him and it really wasn’t the pedicure he was hoping for

Are all your sex songs, at their heart, actually *really* sad?
Absolutely. I don’t think I have an unusually unhealthy relationship with sex or anything, but sometimes I equate my worth in any given relationship with my desirability as a sexual partner. And there have been many times I’ve been prone to hypersexuality as a way of putting off dealing with my own inner conflicts. Desire and physical intimacy are interesting to me, because I think these things can exist in a mentally, socially, and spiritually healthy context, and I’ve had plenty of good, healthy sex. But desire can also consume you, and it’s easy to mistake physical intimacy for actual human intimacy

I’d agree that your relationship isn’t unusual at all, I’d say it was actually widely relatable. Do you think any human being has a 100% psychologically sound relationship with sex and desire?
Never say never, but I don’t think so, at least not for the vast majority of people. Having a 100% sound relationship with sex and desire means working through not only your own individual trauma, but the structure of oppression and trauma of our society—not even just as it relates to sex and gender but everything, because everything is fundamentally connected. That’s a lot to unpack, and I don’t know if we’ll have a collective idea of what is or isn’t perfectly healthy or sound until we can bring the cycle of trauma to a grinding halt.

An issue that I always had in the past is accepting that my partner found me desirable, but that just not being good enough, I had to feel that EVERYONE wanted to have sex with me, and would often set out to prove it. Has this ever been an issue for you?
I do want to be desirable, even generally desirable, sure. But I don’t really wanna just be fuckable to everyone based on some abstract measure of desire. I like connecting with people, and I want that to be the basis of any fucking I do.

What actually *is* the best song of 2020? You can’t choose Raw, that’s clearly a biased conflict of interest
Can I pick the best three songs of 2020? Because they’re Dynamite by BTS, haydée by theydevil, and Stunt Cams by They Hate Change.

Have you ever been punched in the face, not necessarily intentionally?
Who hasn’t been?

Who punched you and, be honest, did you deserve it?
I’ve been punched by plenty of people, and I’ve done a lot of punching myself. Sometimes I’ve deserved it, sometimes not, but what I can tell you is that even if I did deserve it, as soon as you throw a punch at me, you’re asking for one back.

If nobody EVER found out, what animal do you secretly want to know the taste of?
Can it be a fictional animal? Because I’ve been really curious about dragon meat for a while, and I’m curious as to why Game of Thrones didn’t cover that. It seems like the kind of thing that show would do.

“Aw, come on, mate, just let me nibble one of your toes or something…”

Oh my God, WHY WASN’T THAT EVER ADDRESSED?? That show just keeps disappointing me. How do you imagine it tasting- what flavour, what texture?
Spicy. Tender. Probably a little greasy.

Wouldn’t you be more interested in eating a smaller fictional creature like a Smurf, where you could just throw them in your mouth whole and chew of their entire bodies?
Probably not. I hate picking bones out of my teeth. Also Smurfs are sapient, aren’t they? That could be someone’s cousin.

Is the threat of no sex in the afterlife the best reason for staying alive?
I think there’s plenty of sex in the afterlife, but staying alive as long as possible is good because it gives me more opportunity to work through my bullshit and get closer to moksha.

What’s your relationship with religion?
I’m very, maybe even intensely, spiritual, but organized religion doesn’t do it for me. I have a really personal relationship with the divine, and no structure can possibly contain or contextualize that.

Did you ever go through a ‘I’m an atheist because I’m so incredibly fucking smarter then everyone’ stage?
Absolutely. I was a total bitch about it for a little bit. But over time my attachment to the hyper-rational world, to strict materialism, lessens. I’ve had moments where I felt in touch with something greater than and beyond the material world, and, over time, I just keep having those moments more and more.

What would make death more appealing, an afterlife or just the end of everything?
I know what’ll happen when I die, I just don’t know exactly how it’ll happen. But I know it’s not the end of anything, and that’s exciting.

You know what will happen?? Am I allowed to know?
Read the Bhagavad Gita, then google “Vaikuntha.”

‘Vaikuntha’ roughly translates as ‘without anxiety’, is that heaven for you?
Yeah. No anxiety, no suffering. Just boundless love.

You can see why a lot of religions state that suicide prevents you from entering heaven, can’t you? If you honestly believed in this idyllic afterlife, who WOULDN’T commit suicide?? You’ve got to introduce a penalty for that to stop people skipping the queue 
No one gets to skip. You only get there through learning and progressing, and you can only progress by being alive.

Which dead person would you most want to fuck? While they were alive, I mean, we’re not getting THAT kinky…
I’ve had a thing for Joan of Arc for a while. Headstrong-but-repressed people from strongly Christian backgrounds seem drawn to me, and I’m drawn to them too.

Andrea Dworkin writes some amazing stuff about Joan of Arc in her book ‘Intercourse’, which I definitely think you should either read or pretend you’ve read to impress people at parties. What was the last book you read?
I’m currently working on the Mahabharata. The translation I’m trying to get my hands on consists of ten volumes in total, so it’ll take me a bit.

Have you ever considered writing a book?
My best friend and I write together all the time. We’re working on a web serial at the moment about mages called Form and Void. It’s got switchblades, queerness, and a lot of trauma. You should read it.

What was your upbringing like? Any repression and religious fundamentalism?
Gender repression, absolutely. Fundamentalism, not really. Filipinos are weird because they are very Catholic, but also not terribly strict about its tenets. Or at least my family wasn’t. My mom does cry an awful lot during Holy Week, though.

What do your parents think you do for a living?
Honestly, I don’t know. If they found out about the porn, I don’t know that I’d be too upset. I love them a lot as people, but at the end of the day I’m my own parent and I call the shots. If they had an issue with my job, they’d have to either learn to accept it or bite their tongues. But I can’t imagine they’d be too weirded out. I’m the black sheep of my family. They’re used to me doing things my way

What’s your favourite noise?
A glass of coke being poured into a glass filled with ice.

What game are you playing at the moment, and what’s the greatest video game ever?
Stellaris, because I feel the need to conquer the known universe at this point of my life. Greatest video game ever is tough, but it’s between The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Dark Souls, and Final Fantasy VII.

Tell me about the game you’re sound tracking and how it came about.
I’ll be real, I don’t really know much about the game except that my friends are making it, and it’s a sci-fi dating sim. I’m not that closely involved with the actual writing or design of it, but from what I’ve seen so far it looks really sick.
As for how it came about, my friends making the game—one of them actually helped me come up with the chord progression on “Raw” (shouts out to Quinn)—needed someone to help soundtrack their game, and they knew I made music, so it was kind of a no-brainer.

What computer game has the best soundtrack and by God how could it not be the original Donkey Kong Country on the SNES??
That one’s good, but the best one is Chrono Trigger actually. The main theme still gives me chills.

Have you ever been a Harry Potter fan, and can you still enjoy it?
I was as a kid, like everyone else I knew. But I was kind of over it for a while, even before all the TERF shit about its jackshit author came out. And, to be fair, it’s not like I probably couldn’t enjoy seeing one of the movies on nostalgia alone, but there are other things I’m more nostalgic for that are far more rewarding and come from less shitty people.

“These days, it’s actually ILLEGAL to call yourself a woman…”

My interviews are usually a lot more jokey and irreverent, but the themes and background of ‘I WANNA SEE WHAT DEATH IS LIKE’ kind of make that difficult. Is the grief mentioned referencing anything in particular that you’d feel comfortable talking about?
The long and short of it is I got really wrapped up in a relationship I was in, because I wasn’t in a healthy place with myself at the time. I have borderline personality disorder and dissociative identity disorder, and relationships bring up a lot for me. You can hear what it was like being in the relationship itself if you listen to B/X. And you can hear what it was like dealing with the emotional fallout of its dissolution on I WANNA SEE WHAT DEATH IS LIKE.

I was wondering how best to dance around what happened at the end of 2018, but you mention it in the album’s blurb, so it’s obviously no secret. Are you able yet to give your feelings on it, or is the experience still far too sensitive to talk about?
I’m a pretty candid individual by nature, and I’ve processed that experience a lot. I don’t mind talking about it. It’s become part of who I am.

How has it informed the album?
It was a necessary part of my growth. I knew I had problems, like some really fucked up shit going on, some really traumatic shit, but I hadn’t realized the depth of the situation nor how the way I was navigating my relationship at the time was totally counterproductive to the work I’d been doing on myself. Trying to kill myself, getting hospitalized, and having to just sit with myself and deal with the most fundamental problems of my being, all while being totally disconnected from much of the world and from most of my support network—those were vital experiences that shaped my understanding of myself. It took a little bit to process all of it, and there have been moments since then when I’ve slipped and been unhealthy, but overall, since the attempt itself, I’ve been a lot healthier and happier
The only substantial regret I have is that, if I hadn’t suddenly had doubts and if my phone hadn’t crashed, it could’ve very well been a livestreamed suicide. I’m glad that didn’t happen, and I’m glad I didn’t end up scarring anyone for life. That probably wouldn’t be so good for my karmic record.

That’s so brilliantly put. How far would you agree with one of my favourite songs that ‘Self disgust is self obsession (honey)’?
The interesting thing is, it’s self-obsession but in a totally backwards way. Same with self-aggrandizement. It’s all sidestepping the actual issue. Truly loving yourself, in a totally compassionate and selfless way as you would to anyone you loved, is fundamentally transformative. So a lot of self-reflection, including periods where you just focus very strongly on yourself, is vital. But it’s not an obsession, where you’re sort of objectifying this idea of yourself, whether as something you hate or as something you uncritically worship. It’s curiosity and fascination.

Was the person whose lack of love affected you so much at the end of 2018 the same person who you mentioned on Twitter recently (“it’s literally 2020 and i’m sad over a boy??? how passé“)?
Nah, just some dumb boy I had a good talk with out of the blue who ghosted me after he found out I was trans.
And, on that note, I need to clarify that it wasn’t a lack of love from the person that had affected me so deeply towards the end of 2019, but a fundamental lack of love for myself. Regardless of whatever raw feelings I express on the album, that person didn’t do anything wrong.

Isn’t it so unbelievably cringe how much our own sense of self-worth is affected by the thoughts and actions of other people?
You mention “cringe,” except what you described is quite literally what the concept of “cringe” is. I think “cringe” as an idea is a fucking problem, and it reflects the hateful and detached attitudes of people right now, especially towards themselves. Fuck that.

As far as I can tell, ‘cringe’ means acting in ways that don’t fit society’s cultural norms and not feeling sufficiently ashamed about it. This can include exhibiting human feelings which are, obviously, totes embarrassing. What are the top three words or phrases that people need to use less?
Society’s cultural norms are poison, because the roots of society itself are rotted and sick with disease. So I really have no opinion on this, because I don’t see things that way at all.

I’m always (half) jokingly planning to livestream my next suicide attempt, but I know that readership of this blog is far too low to make that anything other that pretty pathetic. If you’re ever planning to livestream a suicide could I possibly get in on it and maybe share some of your clout?
Sorry, you’ll have to find someone else, because I don’t plan on killing myself in the near future. There’s a place beyond time, and everyone’s waiting for me there, so I’m trying to make as much progress as I can in this life as possible.

You can see why a lot of religions state that suicide prevents you from entering heaven, can’t you? If you honestly believed in this idyllic afterlife, who WOULDN’T commit suicide?? You’ve got to introduce a penalty for that to stop people skipping the queue 
No one gets to skip. You only get there through learning and progressing, and you can only progress by being alive.

When you get asked to perform the Super Bowl halftime show, what are your plans?
Request that BTS perform with me.

I’m getting married on October 31st [edit: yeah, that actually happened], any song suggestions to walk down the aisle to?
Congratulations! I’m corny. I’d probably pick something like Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order or Euphoria by BTS.

Bizarre Love Triangle is a choon with a capital ‘ch’. Plus I’m from Manchester so it’s not entirely inappropriate. Tell me the best and worse thing about Philadelphia
The best thing is the people. The worst thing is the people.

How the fuck do you ever cook rice? I lived in China for three years, where every house has a rice cooker, and it still baffles me. Can your next single just be detailed instructions set to a trap beat or something?
It’s like instinct, and you can’t teach instinct.

How much of your identity and your behaviour linked to your Filipino heritage? 
Probably in all kinds of ways that aren’t plainly obvious. Like, I was born here in the States in a pretty diverse neighborhood, but also my entire familial community was Filipino. This wasn’t some nuclear family kinda shit. I was surrounded by siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins of cousins, etcetera, and we were all tight with each other and looked out for each other. So I couldn’t tell you for sure what aspects of who I am and how I do things are specifically Filipino, but just know it’s all based in that Filipino upbringing, and I definitely wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without it.

What Filipino dish receives the Official Mabel Harper Seal of Approval?
Chicken adobo sa gata will fuck your mind to Vaikuntha and back.

What does the official Mabel Harper Seal look like?
Probably something really flowery. I’m really gay.

How is your self-love at the moment?
It could always use improvement, but, these days, abundant and better and brighter than ever.

Who is your favourite wrestler?
Can’t decide who’s more goth—the Undertaker or Sting. One of those.

“Mark, you promised that this Halloween you wouldn’t talk about the size of that fish you supposedly caught”

And with that most important question answered- along with the state of her self-love happily confirmed- I bid Mabel Harper adieu.

I mean… not really… This interview was conducted over email. The questions and answers aren’t even in the correct order. Like, not even close. You think I actually spoke to Mabel face-to-face or- God forbid!- over the phone?? What year is this, 1997? The last phone call I made was in 2003, and even that was only because my Mum kept screaming that the fire department was unlikely to respond quickly enough to my MSN messenger requests. Still, mother died the way she lived: bloody nagging me about not phoning. And in the kitchen. Screaming as she burned alive. It’s what she would have wanted.

The reason Don’t do it, Neil gets nearly *checks* more than 6’000 words is because she’s freaking worth it. The new album’s out by the time you’re reading this, and none of you pathetic scrotes have any excuse not to buy it. Buying the digital album will guarantee aural pleasure while supporting individual and worthy truly independent music that’s in real danger during this age of Spotify entitlement and the bad sort of viral sensations. If you buy the cassette you’ll also be supporting The Okra Project, a collective that aims to support the wellbeing of black trans people wherever they can reach them, addressing black lives that people often forget matter as well.

Seriously, what else are you going to spend that $8 on? Two tins of baking salt?? Seriously, I worry about you sometimes…

4 thoughts on ““I’ve Been Calling it ‘Depressive Suicidal Pop Music'”; Don’t Do It Neil Wanna Know What Dragon Tastes Like

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