Victoria Christina Hesketh better known as LITTLE BOOTS is about to release her new record Working Girl via her own imprint On Repeat in a few days (July 10th). In anticipation of the follow-up to 2013’s Nocturnes we forced the artist LITTLE BOOTS as well as the business person Hesketh into our infamous CONFRONTING corsett. She replied with open-hearted comments on her first musical steps, the addiction called pop and shallow comparisons to other artists.
01. Norah Jones – ‘Sunrise’
I’ve heard you used to cover some songs of this pretty lady while studying at university. How do you remember those times and why NORAH JONES?
Haha, yes it’s true. I used to play and sing around restaurants and hotels when I was younger. I actually once got tipped 20 pounds to play a NORAH JONES song again by Bill Tarmey (a famous actor from the British soap Coronation Street) once which was my claim to fame for some time! I learnt a lot being the background music playing other people’s songs, I think it’s what finally pushed me over the edge and gave me the confidence to start writing my own material and taking it seriously.
02. Dead Disco – ‘The Treatment’
Oh sweet memories! From electro punk to pop – that’s quite a journey. Listening to it now, which thougths come to your mind immediately?
This was a good song! I remember being in Leeds at university where the indie scene was really kicking off at the time, and it just felt so exciting to be in a band, and a band of girls nonetheless. My voice sounds so different! I used to sing along to Gwen Stefani and Debbie Harry obsessively at the time which is probably why. I remember just being so proud and amazed that someone had put our song out on a piece of vinyl that I could hold in my hands and people could go and buy, I still have it framed at my mum’s. The novelty of those feelings wears off quickly in this industry and it’s important to not forget how special it felt.
03. Britney Spears – ‘Toxic’
Let’s talk about pop music! A few years ago, you’ve stated Britney as an influence for your own productions. How much pop is in you and your music? What inspires you today?
I am a pop junkie, it’s an obsession that consumes me constantly. I can’t put into words how the perfect little melody or ear worm makes me feel when combined with the right phrase or word, how when I’m writing and structuring songs I feel like I’m in the matrix, when I’m listening to pop music I can’t stop analysing every beat and blip. It’s probably slightly unhealthy. BRITNEY is just such a great example because she always has the best writers and producers in the world working for her, but no one can nail that delivery like she can even now, hit songs of hers in other artists’ hands may never have been hits. My own music is definitely pop but I try and push the production and use lots of lyrics with double meanings, I try and weave lots of little tricks and layers into my songs that I know only a handful of people who really ‘get it’ will notice but when they do it’s worth it.
04. Miley Cyrus – ‘We Can’t Stop’
A former child-TV princess in the universe of popular tunes. Or better, of controversy and provocation. Observing such metamorphoses in the industry, how would you describe the role of female singers these days? Any favourites among them?
I’m not sure if female singers in particular have a definite role to play. All of pop is playing characters and performance even in extremes. I mainly care about the songs and MILEY has some great ones, I can take or leave how its dressed up a lot of the time. Personally my favourite female pop stars at the moment are women like ROBYN, LORDE, GRIMES (although she is more left field). Girls that won’t be reduced to stereotypes easily but still deliver everything you want in an artist. Even TAYLOR SWIFT to some extent manages to keep some humour and knowingness and feels like she’s calling the shots which is something I have a lot of admiration for on a project at such a high level.
05. Hozier – ‘Take Me To Church’
Again pop, but from a more serious point of view. They are all talking about freedom and modern lifestyle, about acceptance and tolerance. Recent events show that there is still much hatred in our society, e.g. Russia and its anti-LGBT law. How do you see such a movement backwards in government, even humanity? Any advices for them?
Hang on I’m confused. Is this song about Russia and anti-LGBT issues?! I never really heard it as that? I’m not a huge fan of this song although it seems very popular, it’s a bit too earnest for me. The discrimination happening in Russia is obviously terrible and that a law so archaic and backwards seeming can be passed is something I just cannot understand, but whenever I perform there I meet so many amazing people who have told me my music helps them so that means the world to me, I have a lot of respect for the LGBT community in Russia they are very strong.
06. La Roux – ‘Bulletproof’
Year 2009. Year of LITTLE BOOTS and LA ROUX. Back then, no one could miss the comparison between you two in the music press. What was your reaction when media started to make a competition between you and other singers? What is your opinion on comparisons in the music business in general?
The press just love to join the dots and invent a scene, even when musical styles or artists aren’t particularly similar it helps their story and makes it easier to write features. There were lots of female artists who might have a couple of keyboards in their set ups emerging at that time, there still are a lot of female artists who might have a couple of keyboards in their set ups emerging now. Also male artists with keyboards. Also female artists without keyboards. There can be a scene wherever you look for it if you want. There is a famous quote ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’, I think there’s a lot of truth in that.
07. Vicky Christina Barcelona
Your name and a city you might remember from touring. Let our last round be a vision to the future: where do you see LITTLE BOOTS in ten years and which part of the world would you like to visit the most to conquer it with your music? By the way: do you know the movie above?
Yes I know the movie as it’s close to my own name. Barcelona is always such a fun place to play it always ends in a party. I would love to play more in South America as we have such a great following there I get so many touching messages from people in those countries. I would also like to play Europe more, for some reason it never happens as much as I would like. 10 years is a long time so who knows. The music industry is tough so you have to be even tougher especially to last that long, but when I look at artists like ROÍSÍN MURPHY and GOLDFRAPP who are still releasing the records they want when they want on their own terms that feels very inspiring and would be a wonderful place to be. I also want to write more for other artists so I would imagine I will take that more seriously as time goes on, but who knows. Maybe I will retire and write a book instead.