Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Renowned For Sound

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Interview: Little Boots

8 min read

Over the last few years Victoria Hesketh, aka Little Boots has been busy working on a number of EP releases that have been met with acclaim from both critics and a fanbase that extends across the world. The musician responsible for hits including the 2009 synth-pop earworm, Remedy hasn’t had an full length album out in since 2015’s Working Girl, but all of that is about to change as the singer prepares for the release of her latest studio album, teased by lead single Silver Balloons and todays release of brand new disco inspired number, Landline.

As she prepares herself for a busy 2022 alongside one of the most iconic bands in history and the release of her first album in 6 years, Renowned For Sound were able to steal some of the musicians time to ask a few questions about her career, her two brand new singles and the surprises 2022 has in store for us. Here’s what she had to tell us…

Brendon Veevers: Hi Little Boots! How are you and where does our interview find you today?

Little Boots: Hello I’m actually currently in Belize in the Caribbean, I’ve been living here as part of Umaya Village digital nomad community which was started by some friends of mine, and have actually found it super productive – I even finished my album out here!

BV: A lot has been going on this year in the Little Boots world but let’s start things off with new music which we are very excited about. Silver Balloons was the first new single we have had from you in a while. Can you tell us a little about this track and its backstory?

LB: The track was written in lockdown and is about all of our plans bursting apart in front of our faces like shiny balloons. I had a fairly limited set up but experimented with the synths I had and stacked a lot of vocals to get the bouncy electronic feel.

BV: Your brand-new single Landline is released on November 11th and just like Silver Balloons it’s an earworm if ever there was one. The track talks about being apart from loved ones but being together through the telephone. Did lockdown have a role to play when it came to the inspiration behind this record?

LB: Absolutely, I was thinking how even though we were forced apart music had the power to bring people back together, whether through a shared playlist or zoom hang out. And it reminded me of when I was at high school and would play songs down the phone or listen to tracks on the phone with friends and my boyfriend at the time.

BV: The upcoming new album which includes Silver Balloons and Landline has been described as “electronic pop with a disco tinge”. This takes us back to your breakthrough years with the likes of Remedy in the early noughties. Is this new album a return to your roots?

LB: In many ways yes, its a return to me writing pop songs I love and not trying to be anyone I’m not, with DIY electronic production similar to how I started out writing in my mum’s garage – I found myself back there in lockdown writing a decade later! (Fortunately was upgraded from the garage to a spare room now). I’d say its quite a nostalgic warm sounding record –  lot of 70’s songwriter influences and happy disco vibes.

BV: It’s been a while since your latest studio album but you have been exceptionally busy during this time with other projects. Can you tell us a bit about those?

LB: I’ve released 3 solo EPs plus a bunch of collaborations, I do a lot of co-writing especially featuring on dance tracks. I also auditioned to be in the new band for ABBA Voyage which is starting next year. And as well as my record label I run a DJ agency and Music Consultancy. So, when people say what have you been up to since your last record like I’ve been sat around doing nothing it’s really not the case! Albums just kind of stopped making sense to me for a while, but this time I really felt like I had something to say and the time was right.

BV: What was it about 2021 that made you think now is the time for a new studio album?

LB: Well, as I just mentioned I never stopped releasing new music, I just didn’t do a full LP format as it didn’t really make sense to me, the amount of costs and time and energy as an independent artist and the pressure to keep on constantly releasing these days… Albums and one of collaborations felt a lot more liberating for a while. But I think I’ve had this record in me for a long time. I’ve always wanted to completely self-produce and write an album for myself and actually lockdown was the push I needed.

BV: Disco clearly flows quite strong in your veins. Was it a genre that you were surrounded by a lot growing up?

LB: Not at all really, my mum listened to Barbra Streisand and my dad listened to The Beatles. I guess Barbra had her disco moments though – her Guilty album with Barry Gibb is one of my all time favourites!

BV: You self-produced this new record. What did you enjoy the most about this role of producer for the new album? Did it come with a new sense of freedom in terms of the style and direction compared to previous releases?

LB: Yes absolutely it was very liberating although I did really have to push myself and spent a lot of time watching YouTube tutorials when I didn’t know something! It was nice finally having confidence in myself as a producer and not having to defer to someone else, I really had to get over my own imposter syndrome.

BV: What would you say most inspired you during the writing and recording process of this new album?

LB: Wanting to write and produce as much of the record as possible, the extremes of pre, during and post lockdown, huge changes on so many levels… wanting to write classic songs, coming back to the piano and pop music.

BV: What’s your songwriting process like? How do songs start to take shape for you and what would you say is the most challenging aspect of being a songwriter?

LB: It really changes but for this record I put the piano at the centre of all of my songwriting, everything started from there maybe with a title or phrase or vague concept, and I would just see what chords came. The most challenging aspect is self-confidence, to brave enough to do a silly idea that might just be genius.

BV: Some other huge news is something you mentioned earlier – that you are going to be part of the ABBA Voyage tour live band which is massive! How did this opportunity come to you?

LB: James Righton who I know from Klaxons put the band together and Called me straightaway as he knew I was a big fan and a good pianist. I auditioned with about 40 musicians and got the part!

BV: Have rehearsals started for the tour and how are things coming along?

LB: We haven’t started yet but the show is going to be really special.

BV: Having already started working with these icons as we see through some of your Instagram posts alongside Benny, what would you say you have learned about them as musicians that perhaps you didn’t know prior to this opportunity?

LB: I learned a lot from Benny whilst we were in the studio, the way he approaches songwriting and structures, always adding twists and turns, layers and layers, it made me approach songwriting for this album differently and think how can I push it?

BV: What would you say most inspires you about ABBA and were the band a prominent act for you growing up and within your own musical journey?

LB: I think they are some of the best pop songs every written, and there is an intelligence and poignancy in the music balanced with such catch and clever hooks and sequences that it really is a genius tapestry. I’ve been a big fan ever since my teens when I discovered ABBA Gold.

BV: Any new artist that emerges obviously feels a lot of pressure to make their mark and carry their success through each of their releases. At this stage in your career where you have achieved so much as a writer, performer, producer and now ABBA collaborator, do you feel that same pressure to replicate success with each new project?

LB: I don’t feel pressure in the same way, but I still have secret hopes things will do well and of course get let down if I don’t achieve some things I set out to. But I’ve learned to ride the roller coaster of the music industry and at the end of the day you just have to do things you think are great, show up and do the very best you can on every level and then even if no one likes it you can still sleep at night.

BV: You will obviously be incredibly busy with rehearsing and touring in 2022 with ABBA Voyage but will fans get to see Little Boots out on the road at all to promote your upcoming new album

LB: I’m hoping to make some time for a few key dates, but I can’t see a world tour on the horizon right now! But I do live streams gigs on my Patreon channel every month which I hope to keep up.

BV: It seems almost greedy of me to ask you this BUT aside from all the many things you are doing right now, is there anything else on the Little Boots calendar that you can tell us about for us to look forward to?

LB: I’ve just released my new single as an NFT, I’m really interested in the web3 space and the potential for fair rights for musicians so I’m keen to see what happens next in this technology. I’m also believe it or not working on a few other projects but right now they are top secret!

BV: Thanks so much and best of luck with the new single, album and ABBA tour.