Wednesday, February 04, 2009
With the cacophony of central London roaring behind her, Victoria Hesketh -- the burgeoning 25-year-old electro-pop sensation known as Little Boots -- is insisting she’s more than just another blog-driven flash in the pan.
“My new songs are even more commercial,” she says of her forthcoming debut album, which does not yet have a release date. Of course, her previous material isn't exactly old.
Hesketh rode to Internet prominence late last year with “Stuck on Repeat,” a throbbing dance-floor anthem that alternates massive synth melodies with ominous sleigh bells. Through it all, Hesketh’s clear, higher-register bell-like voice stands front and center.
And yet, she says "Stuck on Repeat" isn't an indication of where she's heading.
“My music is brighter and more colorful than that," she says via cellphone. "To me, ‘Stuck on Repeat’ is kind of disco-y and dark. The other songs are more varied. There are slow songs, some weird ones, it’s a real mix. I really hate two-dimensional albums ... I want to be more like early Madonna albums, where she would do all sorts of different things, but her voice is what tied it all together.”
Hesketh is currently spending a lot of time in Los Angeles, putting the finishing touches on the album with producer Greg Kurstin of L.A. band the Bird and the Bee. “He’s just so talented and really gets me," she says. "He’s got such a broad range of experience. He and I co-wrote and produced all of the tracks. But I also did some things with a new guy called Kid Gloves, and Joe Goddard from Hot Chip.”
Hesketh’s Little Boots moniker is taken from English translation of the Latin “Caligula,” the notorious third Roman emperor who inspired the infamous 1979 movie of the same name. She's been a mini YouTube sensation, where she posted videos of herself performing original songs as well as covers, such as Haddaway’s “What Is Love” and, more well-known, Hot Chip’s “Ready for the Floor.” The latter is striking in its simplicity, as she's accompanied only by a Yamaha Tenori-On, a hand-held music sequencer that lights up in time with the music it produces.
“I just borrowed it from a friend, and picked up it pretty quickly,” she says of the device, “because quite honestly, I’m really quite nerdy. I love getting new things to sit and geek out on until I totally understand it. But they are a bit tricky at first. I use one in concert. It’s a great visual aid with all of the lights, so much better than just another laptop. We’re working with Yamaha to create a special one to take out to festivals and things.
“So often people think it’s all just robots and machines, and that’s not the case," Hesketh continues, the sounds of the city still churning in the background. "To me, it should be just as exciting as seeing a great guitar player. That’s what I’m trying to do, anyway.”
(Originally published in the L.A. Times.)