Little Boots

Lancashire electropopper Victoria Hesketh explains how grit, glamour and Joe Goddard helped her to take control of her multi-faceted creation, Little Boots 

Blackpool

“Growing up there, I guess the place has always been a big part of me. It’s known as a dilapidated ghost town, but it’s also got a history as this Mecca of entertainment. My parents are always telling me stories about the celebrities who used to come to Blackpool. I left as soon as I could, but I always go back. It’s definitely a big part of who I am and the kind of music I make, it’s the grit and glamour of the place. Musically, all of that stuff like The Human League and Heaven 17 combined the everyday northern realism with something more fantastical and glamorous and that’s something I’ve always been influenced by growing up in Blackpool and the north. My grandad was the mayor of Blackpool at one point. I used to go to a lot of ribbon-cutting events with him!”

Pi-an-o

“I was classically trained on piano from the age of six. My mum took me to a ballet class when I was little and there was this guy there playing piano. I wasn’t very good at the dancing, so I said, ‘Can I do that instead?’. Fortunately, my mum listened and booked me lessons. I played for years as well as learning flute and harp and singing. Then a friend of mine was in a prog band and showed me a Yes video. I saw they were playing a synth and I was like, ‘That’s just like the piano, but cooler!’. It was around the time The Killers were getting big. I wound up selling my harp and buying a Korg MS2000. My grandma bought me the harp, so I felt quite guilty about making the trade, but then again, years later, I wound up making a laser harp, so it did kind of come full circle.”

Joe Goddard

“I’m pretty picky about the people I work with. I have high standards! There’s lots that were memorable, but working with Joe Goddard on ‘Stuck On Repeat’ sticks out. I’d written the song over a beat in my mum’s garage. Joe did some production for me that sounded amazing, I remember recording that vocal sat on the end of his bed at his flat in Kensal Rise. I didn’t really know what I was doing, and he somehow captured that naivety in the vocals. When it came to re-recording, the label wanted to send us to a studio to do some new vocals and he put his foot down and said, ‘No, I’m using the demo for this one’, which I thought was cool, because they changed the song a lot on the album version. I’m really glad he did that. It’s that thing of having limitations and not listening to the crowd’s opinions too much. I wish I’d had more of that at the time. I definitely do now. Joe was always like that.”

1,000 True Fans

“I’ve just completed a Kickstarter campaign to reissue my debut ‘Hands’ for its 10th anniversary. I realised that it’s quite a small amount of people who have raised a lot of money. It’s Kevin Kelly’s ‘1,000 True Fans’ theory – that you only need 1,000 true fans to have a career and everything after that is diminishing returns. There are a lot of artists at the moment with millions of streams worldwide because they’ve got on some playlist, but they couldn’t put a gig on and sell 10 tickets. Kickstarter was interesting because it taught me not to care about the things the record industry cares about, streaming numbers! New Music Fridays!. Instead, it’s like, ‘Well, I just raised nearly £60,000 in a month. I don’t need a record label’. It’s just really empowering and inspiring. I wasn’t expecting it. I have promised to write a new album though, so I’m going to have to get on with it.”

The Reynolds Boy

“I’ve been DJing since about 2008, but now it’s become completely inextricable from the other side of what I do. I read ‘Energy Flash’ by Simon Reynolds and that just blew my mind. It opened me up to the history of house and disco and I just started going out in a different way and appreciating how you build those tunes to get that reaction – and then incorporating that back into pop songs. It’s got to the point now where my last EP, ‘Jump’, is electronic pop music that’s designed for the dancefloor so I can play it in my sets. Bringing it together has been a 10-year task. Now I get people coming to see me who want to hear ‘Remedy’ and other people who only know me from my Mixmag sets and who are there for house and disco. I’ve been trying to pull those two sides together.”

Doing It Yourself

“When I set up my label, On Repeat, it was a massive turning point for me. I know it’s really common for people to set up labels, but back then, especially for someone coming from the pop world, there weren’t many examples of people doing it. I remember feeling like I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. I just knew that I wanted to set the label up and put out music myself. Having to kind of stumble through that and make it myself and learn everything very quickly, I didn’t really have anywhere to hide. I had to do it all. I didn’t have anyone to blame if it went wrong, or other people involved. It was just on me, but scary as it was it was completely empowering. I’ve not been able to do it any other way since then. I find it very hard to give up any shred of creative control these days!”

The 10th anniversary edition of Little Boots’ debut album ‘Hands’ is on On Repeat

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