We Talk To Little Boots About Christmas Shopping, Quitting Pop, And Her Love For Mel B
The Debrief: 'I write songs! I don't give a shit if there's a photo of me that looks like I've got no makeup on when actually I have. Bollocks to that'
Little Boots, otherwise known as Victoria Hesketh, first emerged way back in the halcyon days of 2009 with her debut album Hands, a wall-to-wall banger of an electropop album that followed in the wake of her BBC Sound Of 2009 win. A handful of hits later she started work on her second album, Nocturnes, deciding in the process to part ways with her label and shift her sound slightly towards the dance floors of the early ’90s. Now the boss of her own record label, On Repeat, and with a third album due early next year, she's about to release an EP, Business Pleasure, that deals with the work/life balance, the constant chatter of the internet and, perhaps most importantly, the pleasure we can all take from rocking a pinstripe suit.
We had a chat with the lady herself...
The Debrief: Hello to you Little Boots. How have you been dealing with the current cold snap?
Little Boots: I’ve just got back from LA – not to sound too wanky and jet set – so it was obviously going to be a bit of shock for me.
DB: What are you winter essentials?
LB: Lip balm’s always a winner.
DB: So apart from lip balm what've you been up to?
LB: Basically just getting psycho about Christmas. I don’t care if it’s not cool, I love Christmas so much. As soon as Halloween is done I start going Christmas crazy – I fucking love it. Bring it on.
DB: How far along are you with your Christmas shopping?
LB: I’ve got a little bit. I’m about 30% done. I got some pretty unique presents from America. There’s this thing called Sky Mall and it’s like the Argos catalogue gone crazy. The pet section alone is incredible. You can get a massage hat for you and your dog, or a cat UFO bed. There’s something for everyone.
DB: OK, so we’ve entered your name in a hypothetical Secret Santa thing with five other pop stars: Grace Jones, Beyoncé, Olly Murs, Kate Bush and Bradley from S Club 7. What would you buy each of them?
LB: Shit OK. Go through them again.
DB: Grace Jones.
LB: She likes Wimbledon. I saw her there. Maybe I’d get her some Wimbledon memorabilia, like a signed ball or something.
LB: What do you get Beyoncé? I’d get her a little holiday. Just a few days where she doesn’t have to be super-human. I’d babysit Blue Ivy for her.
DB: Olly Murs.
LB: Neon gaffer tape to mark the edge of the stage stairs so her doesn’t fall down again.
DB: Kate Bush.
LB: What would I get Kate? I’d maybe get her some hairspray. She seems like someone who shops in an upmarket Monsoon, so maybe I’d get her some vouchers. Lots of flowing fabrics and Topaz necklaces.
DB: Bradley from S Club 7.
LB: I’d give the gift of a new Rachel Stevens solo album with Richard X, to be honest.
Read More: Little Boots On The Brits
DB: What’s the worst Christmas present you’ve ever received?
LB: There are the ones my old record label brought me and then charged me back for at a later date. Not sure if that counts. What does get old fast is people getting you things with boots on. ‘Look what I saw, I just couldn’t resist,’ and it’s an awful ornament with boots on it in some way.
DB: Enough of this madness, let’s talk about your new EP, Business Pleasure. How much was the look and concept influenced by you being the boss bitch of your own label now?
LB: 99%. It was kind of a joke at first that went too far and then I took it even further. Fuck it, why not? I’m at the point where I’m OK to be ridiculous again. There’s something amazing about that feeling that was there right at the start when I’d be like, ‘Oh I’m just going to post a picture of me on a unicorn,’ and just stupid shit that I’d do before I had to answer to anyone. I feel the same childish silly feeling about this now. It came from a few things like this tour we did where we all chain watched Girls and Working Girl, the Melanie Griffith film, and some other things I’d done to do with women in music issues. Also just having to be a business woman out of necessity. It’s very real and very genuine. Plus, I really like blazers.
Watch the video for Taste It here:
DB: Who or what has inspired the look for the new EP? We’re noticing a lot of shoulder pad action and pinstripes.
LB: A very specific era of late-’80s and early’ 90s. Just after huge power shoulder pads and beehives and before Clueless pastel suits there was this interesting era of beige that I’ve become fascinated with. All the pop stars that I loved were pretty rowdy like Gwen Stefani and Shirley Manson and it all felt really exciting, and then as I got older – and I love Britney – but it was suddenly Britney and the Pussycat Dolls. It feels like things are getting exciting again and it’s contagious. Everywhere I look it feels like girls are doing cool shit. Although, there are also bottoms everywhere as well. I can’t avoid them. I'm so desensitised to them now. I’d just rather be known for me music than my bottom.
DB: How do you feel about Nocturnes now, looking back? We know it was quite a hard album to write and get finished…
LB: It was made for a major label and then I tried to turn it into an alternative pop thing. I think it worked and I’m really proud of it, and the people who got it, got it. But it was always going to be compromised one by the time and two by it being written for one thing and then released as another thing. It’s nice to be starting from a place of, ‘Where can I go? Who do I want to work with?’ It was quite restrictive before.
DB: Does this forthcoming third album feel like a true representation of you?
LB: I think you’re always true to yourself in that moment. I feel very free with it. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll look back and think, ‘Someone really should have told me to stop.’
DB: Are there any aspects of the Hands album era that you miss?
LB: I quite liked all the free presents, having a taxi account and getting my hair and make-up everyday. Going on telly was quite fun. I really want to go on Sunday Brunch. I’m also waiting for the Celebrity Bake Off call. I would be so dope.
DB: We were interested to read about the EP being inspired by this sort of constant chatter and opinion-giving on Twitter and the internet in general. It's all quite exhausting isn't it?
LB: It is. It’s so judge-y and really unproductive a lot of the time. There are some songs on the album that are about that specifically. You’re constantly connected and disconnected. I spend so much time travelling and I’m always in touch with people, but you can’t help feeling lonely. I was reading about this new kind of loneliness where people are so busy boasting about their amazing lives and Instagram-ing with these filters that aren’t real and then you go, ‘Oh my God, am I doing cool stuff?’ and you look at your pictures and think, ‘What does this say about me? How am I doing?’ I do it with other artists and see how many followers they have and think it reflects badly on me – ‘Am I not cute? Am I not relatable?’ But then it’s like what the fuck am I doing? I write songs! I don’t give a shit if there’s a photo of me that looks like I’ve got no make-up on when actually I have. Bollocks to that. Comparison is the thief of joy. I’m trying to live in the moment a bit more rather than constantly looking ahead.
DB: We wonder if we should try and organise some sort of social media blackout period over Christmas?
LB: Maybe Twitter should just close for the week. They could just say, ‘Sorry we can’t load, it’s Christmas.’ That would be amazing.
Read More: Is Social Media Ruining Your Life?
DB: Did you ever think of giving up on this being a pop star lark?
DB: How seriously did you think about it?
LB: Pretty damn seriously. I don’t like calling it a job, but doing this completely defines you and changes how you feel from day to day. I can feel on top of the world one day and then rock bottom the next. I hate how much it effects me, but it does. When you’re in a vacuum and you’re not putting music out and you're waiting for things to happen it's very easy to feel low about things. So I did really seriously consider it, but then I realised I can’t stop making my own music.
DB: Have you been watching The X Factor?
LB: Bits of it. I love Mel B, I think she’s incredible. I’m still obsessed with her comeback single where she snogs herself in the video. I’m almost starting to like OctoBand [Stereo Kicks], which is terrifying. I’d like to enter The X Factor one year undercover, but I’d probably not get through.
DB: What’s your favourite emoji?
LB: I’ve been doing a combo at the minute, trying to sum up the EP in emojis. I decided it was a bicep for strength, a lipstick for woman-ness, a floppy disc for retro work and maybe a fax machine one too. The poo is always a classic of course.
DB: If there could be a Little Boots collection of emojis what would they include?
LB: I’d have a synth one and a suit for a woman.
Little Boots' new EP Business Pleasure is out now.
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