Little Boots, At Her Most Independent

It can sometimes feel cool to talk to “stars” on the record… Although it tends to be less satisfying than meeting an actually interesting person, with good taste and...

It can sometimes feel cool to talk to “stars” on the record… Although it tends to be less satisfying than meeting an actually interesting person, with good taste and a working understanding of the world in which we live… But rarely do the two sentiments overlap (And even when they do, they’re almost never nice.)  Well, Victoria Hesketh, better known as Little Boots, happens to be exceptional (in more ways than one): Her intellect is immediately apparent, she likes to talk about things worth talking about, and, on top of everything, she’s one of the most pleasant people I’ve conversed with in as long as I can remember…

It seems like just yesterday Little Boots was being buzzed about as the hottest up-and-coming electro chanteuse, with major charting singles like “New in Town” and “Remedy,” but time must fly when you’re an adult because she’s already on her third full-length.  This Friday, July 10th, Little Boots will release Working Girl, her third LP and follow-up to 2013’s Nocturnes (Her debut LP, Hands, dropped in 2009.) and July 15th she kicks off a US tour that begins at the Echo in LA and wraps the 25th at U Street Music Hall in DC.  The album is likely Little Boots’ most accomplished and eclectic yet.  At its core it’s a nu-disco record by a synthpop savant, but filled with island beats, ‘90s R&B grooves, and even the occasional piano pop sensibility.  Late in May Victoria and I had a chance to chat about her new album and recent developments in her career and she admits that Working Girl is, indeed, something new for her, and also something she’s very excited about.

“The process of how I make things has changed.  I always wanna evolve and never repeat myself.  The first two albums were written under the pressure of trying to make things quickly and make a certain type of song, but this album allowed me to try out some more things.  It was just more an opportunity where you just write songs for the hell of it and not worry about if it’s going to be a hit. It was like going back to the beginning.”

Hesketh tells me that a lot of the inspiration behind her current direction was actually a lot of the positive critical feedback she got for Nocturnes: “I think Nocturnes got a lot of good reviews and I think that’s what I wanted to prove with that; it’s credible pop.  And that was important to me and also to go on doing things independently with my own label and being a bit independent and boss of my own label.  It’s scary, but in a good way.”

In addition to an independence of her own, Hesketh says that one of her biggest inspirations at the moment is the relative plethora of other females doing really interesting things on a really big scale in music.

“My biggest influences at the moment are empowerment and female empowerment and success and cool girls making cool shit, and it’s quite exciting.  It’s quite an exciting time for women in music.  I mean, like Lordes, such impressive artistic persona from such a young age.  I wish I was that way at that age, but I was more into drinking [laughs].  And people like Grimes, who aren’t afraid to talk about the experience [of being a female in music].  There are just a lot of girls doing great things that aren’t necessarily expected.

In addition to taking control of releasing her albums herself, Little Boots has also taken ultimate control of the visual elements of her work, most notably in the music videos she’s been putting out recently.

“When I started making videos I wasn’t that involved and I didn’t know about that and just left that in the hands of other people, but after a while you realize, it’s your face, it’s your work.  I kind of do all of the art direction now and am in the mindset of, if you’ve got an idea in your head, you’ve gotta be bold and gotta be confident with it.  I can see all the color pallets.  It’s all in my hands.”

As far as how she came about her recent videos for “Taste It” and “Better in the Morning” Hesketh admits that the influences were fairly precise: “They’re inspired by a lot of late ‘80s/early ‘90s yuppie movies… kind of a surreal take on that.  I mean now, it’s a new kind of yuppie, but a different kind of yuppie, a hipster digital yuppie, constantly on their cell phones, Tweeting.”

And in terms of what can be expected on her 6-date US live tour (and one additional DJ date), which unfortunately doesn’t hit Philly (but includes NY and DC, for those who have cars or are up for navigating the mid-Atlantic via bus or train), she tells me that the show is just as carefully constructed as any other aspect of her work, and even has a recommendation as to something fans may want to consider prior to attending.

“I’ve tried to make this whole Working Girl world onstage.  I wish I could bring a bigger show, but I have a whole show, I have my backup singers, and there’s a lot of visuals that we’ve worked on.  I want it to be a full-on experience.  I’m encouraging people to wear blazers.”

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.