Little Boots Struts Stateside
Victoria Hesketh, aka Little Boots, has been called Kylie Minogue’s “evil twin,” but she doesn’t mind. As a diehard pop enthusiast herself, she’s a fan of the Australian icon and, after all, they are “about the same height.” But Little Boots is poised to make some huge waves herself: recently voted #1 in BBC’s “Sound of 2009” competition, she’s been deemed UK Pop’s next great hope. On songs like “Stuck on Repeat,” her explorations of the Moroder era have already made her a star among the so-called “Italo revivalists.” But don’t call her retro: Boots draws plenty of inspiration from best of contemporary pop on sides of the Atlantic: though she prefers Britain’s own Girls Aloud to our Pussycat Dolls, she thinks Timbaland is brilliant and largely to thank for improving mainstream music. Most importantly, she thinks that Americans are, at long last, ready to dance.
Last weekend, Little Boots played Studio B for the second time in six months. Interview talked to the diminutive singer about frolicking, shopping, and clubbing in London and New York, cheap dates, image-building, and, of course, her music, which is already bigger, shinier, and hookier than anything produced by any boldname pop star of late. (Photo: Tom Oxley)
COLLEEN NIKA: You’re beginning promotional duties for a stateside campaign here, but have you been to New York before?
VICTORIA HESKETH: I’ve only been to New York once before, in October for the CMJ festival. It was love at first sight, but we were so busy with shows and promo that I didn’t really get too much of a chance to hang out. This time it’s another short visit, but I did manage to eat what is apparently the “best cheesecake in New York.”
CN: Have you been to the area of the Village called “Little Britain”? What do you think of New York’s obsession with teashops?
VH: No, but it sounds funny. I didn’t know there was an obsession with tea—I thought everyone was more into coffee? But I can understand… I drink tea like a mentalist!
(Photo: Mike Ling)
CN: You played at Studio B In Brooklyn. How was it compared with a club like Egg in London?
VH: I don’t really go clubbing very much unless I’m DJing, I’d rather go watch bands or go to the pub with friends and do karaoke. I had a great night out at Studio B: it’s really fun and they have good DJs and everyone is up for dancing. I don’t really like the Egg club in London- it’s kind of tacky and the music drives me crazy! If I were going clubbing in London I’d probably go to one of the low key disco nights or maybe late gig somewhere East. There’s also a club called Punk that has a “Smash n Grab” night that I’ve played a few times. It’s kind of cheesy: they play loads of 90s tunes, but it’s a laugh.
CN: In “New In Town” you sing about having an amazing night out with a date despite “not having a penny.” What’s your favorite cheap thrill?
VH: In London, probably drinks around my friend’s house for her home-brewed “schnaps” (nickname ‘petrol’), then down to Cocadisco in Dalston for an Italo night in the bottom of an old video shop. It only costs a fiver to get in. Then who knows? If we’re on a budget, then I guess the 192 bus home.
CN: You have a distinct look.
VH: It’s very important to me. I guess style-wise I like anything a bit futuristic with interesting shapes; I love metallic and space influenced stuff and Studio 54-era vintage dresses.
CN: Do you have any favorite designers? Where do you like to shop for clothing?
VH: I love Antipodium, they are my favorite! I also love Poltak & Walsh, Felder Felder and English Eccentrics. I don’t have that much time to shop anymore but I try and get stuff from young designers, or from the vintage shops around Brick Lane nearby my house. I also love Marc Jacobs.
CN: Do you see yourself working in the mainstream, or closer to indie?
VH: I’m not really sure such a specific division ever really existed, but I guess I’m aspiring to be a mainstream artist, as I don’t have any interest in making a weird record that will only appeal to a small number of people.
CN: On your breakthrough “Stuck On Repeat”, you worked with Joe Goddard from Hot Chip. Now, you’re working with Greg Kurstin and even Dr. Luke. Have your studio goals shifted as you work on your debut EP? Are you aiming for bigger and better-produced songs?
VH: Of course, it’s totally different. Joe and I rarely work in the studio; we do a lot over email and I sang the vocals on the end of his bed. Greg has an amazing really chilled out studio in his house. I don’t like big super glossy studios. I never get the best results from them. I’m lucky I have opportunities to work with such talented people, but my goals haven’t really shifted. I’ve always been aiming for the biggest and best songs I can possibly write.
CN: Who else do you want to work with?
VH: I’ve just had one of my collaborations come true but it’s a secret for now. But next, maybe someone Swedish, like Kleerup or Klaus Ahlund from the Teddybears.
CN: As a pop enthusiast, what are your five “perfect pop records”?
VH: Okay, that’s a huge question and would take me forever. I’m just gonna pick five from what I have with me and these are in no particular order! Gwen Stefani’s “What You Waiting For”; Britney Spears, “Toxic”; Kylie Minogue, “In Your Eyes,” All Saints, “Pure Shores”, and Destiny’s Child, “Say My Name.”
CN: Finally, what do you say to people who still see pop as a dirty word? Can listening to Little Boots miraculously change their mind?
VH: I just write pop songs because I love songwriting and it challenges me the most. I just don’t really see anything embarrassing about having a chorus.
Little Boots is now on tour in Europe.