Little Boots

Little Boots

Little Boots was one of the most hyped artists of 2009, not only claiming the BRIT’s Critic Choice prize, but also win the BBC’s Sound of 2009 poll. Since the release of her debut album ‘Hands’, Little Boots (Victoria when out of the studio) has gone a little bit quiet, not giving word on when we might get to see her take to the airwaves once again.

Now she’s back with the release of ‘Nocturnes’, which sees the Blackpool born singer take her music in a totally different electronic direction. We chatted to her about the difficulties she’s had getting this album out, the pressure of the accolades and Daft Punk.


So, what can we expect from Nocturnes?

Well, I did it all with Tim Goldsworthy who has produced albums for people like Hercules & The Love Affair and Cut Copy and what he brought to the table sonically was amazing . It definitely feels like more of a cohesive record to me than the first one. I’ve really thought carefully and tried really hard to make it feel like a real journey throughout the album, not just picking random tracks. I hope that it’s more of an all-round experience to listen to.

I think if you’re a fan of the first record, you’ll still find that melodic, pop song writing at heart, but I tried to push it slightly further into music that I listen to and am influenced by. So there’s going to be lots of early disco and house references and while it’s still very synthy, it’s not quite as 80s synth pop as the last one was. I tried to draw lots of inspiration from lots of different places.

This album definitely feels more ethereal than the last one, is that more of you as an artist coming through?

Yeah, I guess it is, but I didn’t really make it intentionally that way. The first album was made in quite a disjointed way, it was all over the place. I think doing it in one place, with one person and one set of instruments helped. 99% of the sounds we used on the album were analogue which just adds that warmth that I just don’t think you get with computers and digital stuff.

I think that makes it feel more special, at least to me it does. That might be just because I’m a nerd and hear all that stuff in it. I feel like I’ve taken back control of the project and I’m very much in creative charge of it, whereas I might not have been so the first time around. I feel like I’ve consciously wanted to define myself and my sound more than before.

You’ve already released two tracks from the album out there, so what’s the reaction been like?

Really good. Motorway probably had the biggest impact as it was the first song off the album and the first thing I’d put out in some time. The whole reaction was amazingly positive and just so many people just got it. It doesn’t sound like what you heard on the radio every day or what is trendy right now. I’ve not tried to copy anything, it’s just something I really love and I’m proud of and that when somebody else gets that, it feels so much better. With Broken Record, we’ve just shot the video, so that will be out soon. It’s all really exciting right now.

The videos you’ve put out as well are a bit trippy, what’s with those?

The video for Motorway wasn’t a real video. It was more just a teaser song, so we just made an artwork video. It’s actually all outtakes from the album artwork shoot, when we took loads of photos at really slow speed. When you put them all together they make these little animations, so the videos actually lots of photos. If you loop them, they make these ghostly movements so it’s really cool.

The whole artwork for the album is something I’m really happy with and I’m hoping to work with two really cool guys. Everybody does those lyric videos right now because there’s so much pressure to get something on YouTube and I just hate those. They look really naff! This is a nice way to do something visual that says something about the record without having to do one of those or just sticking a holding image up.

There was a lot of pressure on you making the first album, coming of the BRITs Critics Choice award and winning the BBC’s Sound of 2009 poll. So, did you feel a little less pressure going into this second album?

Yeah, but it’s a totally different kind of pressure. First time around there was so much expectation and there was time pressure as well as we really rushed it through. There were maybe compromises that were made that I wouldn’t make now. It was not nice of having that pressure of everyone looking at you and deciding what it should sound like before you’ve even finished it.

On the other hand, there was a lot of pressure on me. I kind of put pressure on myself to make sure I made a  record I was really happy and proud with. There were some really tough decisions along the way. Obviously it’s taken me quite a while to get this record out and I had to make decision to delay the whole thing to go and record with Tim, which I definitely think was worth it looking back. There never stops being pressure when you’re making an album.

The album’s coming out a couple of days after your birthday, is Nocturnes kind of a present to the fans?

I’d rather it be before my birthday so it could be a year younger when it comes out. (laughs) It could be yeah, it’s going to be a crazy week. We’re on tour in America, this album I’ve been trying to put out for so long finally gets released and it’s my birthday so it’s going to be so mad. We’re doing a different city every day and I think it’s going to be fun but I’m going to have to live on adrenaline for that week.

Looking ahead to the US tour, are you pleased with who you’ve got supporting you there?

Yeah, we’ve got two great acts in America. I’m so happy because I thought we’d only get one but we got both, so that’s so good. There’s AVAN LAVA from New York and I’m really surprised they’re even doing it as they’ve already got a massive following out there. Then there’s Feathers who are four girls from Austin who play really cool synthpop. In the UK nothing’s confirmed yet, but it’s not a full tour, we’re just doing some launch parties so it’s a bit different. There are a few people we’re talking to, so I’m sure it will be someone cool.

You’ve been doing more and more DJ-ing over the last year or so, but how does that compare to doing a proper concert?

It’s completely different, for me DJ-ing will never replace, or even come close to doing a live show. Performing something you’ve written to a bunch of people who love it as much as you do and are singing along is the best feeling in the world. Even if I had the greatest DJ gig ever, I can’t imagine it comparing to that.

It’s a lot of fun though and since I’ve starting taking it more seriously, I’ve found it much more rewarding and it’s taught me a lot about dance music and who crowds react and function. A lot of dance music’s pretty hard to listen to unless you’re in a club, but that’s where the magic happens. It’s actually had quite a big influence on the record.

Originally it was just a way to keep getting out of the studio when I wasn’t touring and let me try out new songs or remixes, but it led me down this path of discovering lots of older dance music, which in turn influenced the sound of the album. It’s a rather happy accident.

You’re releasing this under your own label, what made you make that decision?

My old label 679 Recordings isn’t really putting out any more records now, but while they always understood what I was doing, I don’t think in the bigger picture that Atlantic and Warner Brothers really got me. So, without 679 being there and having their support I think it would have been a very difficult environment. I got pretty frustrated, the album would have been out a lot sooner if I hadn’t been playing games with record labels and messing around barking up wrong trees. It wasn’t until I got out of that I had to get real confidence in myself. Up until then, there had always been someone else in charge, but now I had to take control.

It worked out for the best though and working with Kobalt Label Services has been brilliant. They’re doing The Pet Shop Boy’s new record, they’ve just worked with Nick Cave, they’re just so artist friendly. You just get sick of a big company spending your money and taking your profits and I think a lot more people are going to do these type of deals. It’s scary and it’s a lot of work, but ultimately it’s really empowering and it’s really good.

You’re not the only electronic artist making a comeback new month, so are you just a little bit annoyed at Daft Punk for stealing your thunder a bit?

Yeah, those guys are so selfish (laughs). I’m super excited and just glad they’re coming back with a real bang. They’re working with some of the biggest artists in music and the combination of Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers and Gio Moroder even on paper is blowing my mind. I’m sure when I hear it will blow me away.

I’m so excited because dance music is so big right now, especially in the States, but it’s just gotten so derivative. I really want those guys to come along and go ‘Look, this is how it’s done’ and make some really fun and catchy dance music in an imaginative way. I just hope they come along, kick everyone up the arse and kick off the year of disco. If I can be a part of that, the wooohoo.

So, what’s the plan for you for the rest of the year, got any festivals lined up?

Yeah we’re doing Glastonbury, which I’m really excited about! We’re actually doing it with a new live set up. A lot of places I go, they want me to sing over my DJ like some people do like Sonique, but that’s not really my style. I was thinking about it for a while and we were finally able to set up this new show which a bit like Gorillaz when they do Gorillaz Sound System. It’s in between a DJ set and a live show. We’re doing live programming and remixing to make this constant dance mix and it’s really, really fun.

We just did it this weekend in Barcelona and it was great there, people were just dancing the entire time. We’re going to be doing that at Glastonbury’s new dance village, so that’s going to be really exciting. We’re doing shows all over the world from touring America to me heading out to Japan, but most importantly I’m just making sure that I keep writing and keep booking time in the studio.

One of the biggest mistakes that I made was that I didn’t write and record while I was on tour with the first album and that really set me back. These days, everything moves so quick that you’ve got to have new stuff constantly. I’ve got so many new songs that didn’t quite make it onto the album because they didn’t quite flow right, despite them being really great. So I’m hoping to get around and record those again and write some new ones as well.


Little Boot’s new album ‘Nocturnes’ is out May 6th.