I’ve had a couple of tantalising gigs waft past my ears recently, so time to share in a generous-kind-of-Xmassy-sort-of-way. Tis the season to be jolly and all. Get involved and you won’t be disappointed. Do I ever let you down? OK, forget that shite performance by…um…no, thinking about it, I never let you down…
NME TOUR 2009
A new year begins and so another NME Tour rolls into town for it’s annual jaunt around the UK. This time hitting the Dome theatre with a larger capacity. Cue hordes of Brighton’s trendy teens en masse. They’re sticking to their trusted formula of four bands as the showcase. First on the bill will be the UK’s gorgeous answer to Ida Maria, Florence And The Machine with her troop of eclectic catchy Indie pop tuneage. Next up you should catch a band just about getting their fingertips over the edges of Radio One airplay, White Lies. With their New Romantic Rock, they’re placed too close on the shelf to The Bravery for me, but there you go . Third on the bill are the highlight of the night, Friendly Fires. Their self-titled album, released back in September, was a true highlight of 2008. When they hit their peaks they’re unreachable and live they give it an additional notch all together, especially watching both of the Ed’s (the frontman and the lead guitarist) hit it out. Lastly that night, a band that are NME darlings, (but then so was Pete Doherty and he’s a lost twat), the Scottish 4-piece Glasvegas. They ain’t bad and to be fair I’ve never seen them live, but for some reason their wave just didn’t wash upon my shore. The best thing to do in these circumstances is at the very least give them go. When have you ever taken my word as bible eh?
Just as you thought you were over the painful fact that Christmas and New Year had buggered up your wallets and you were climbing slowly closer to you bank account resembling something of normality – think again. Money will surely be flying back out of your account once more because February holds as much good live talent on our South shores as any previous year. Of the wide selection of acts performing for our pleasure this month I emplore you to check out this excellent group. I first fell in love with them after hearing one of my favourite songs of the year, Devils Crayon. Two singers, Tom and Hayden, the former providing the Edwyn Collins styled vocals and the latter giving us the tender Falsetto, almost reminiscent of Alison Moyet in part! The 4-piece’s sound is a guitar-based clambering brilliant piece of pop, that nestles somewhere inbetween nobody else. You won’t quite be able to shelve them and that’s definitely part of their charm. Set up in the tiny venue, Audio, this will be a truly up close and personal encounter not to be missed.
To catch a star is no mean feat. Victoria Hesketh, better known as the delectable Little Boots, is one such star that’s truly in the ascendancy.
I first approached Little Boots for this Q & A a few months ago, but she’s blown up so much in the music press since that she’s been dragged across Europe, across America and back again, so she simply couldn’t grab any spare time for my Q’s.
It’s all totally understandable of course, as she ticks just about every box on the music media’s list - creative musical talent, impossibly gorgeous looks that mean women want to be her and men want to be with her, bags of style and costume to hold any front page, true musical pedigree having fronted previous girl band Dead Disco, she even ticks the box that’s labelled ‘something different’ by holding intimate personal shows, in her own bedroom on Youtube – how ‘new media’ is that?!
It really is a powerful concoction. And we haven’t even elaborated on what she actually sounds like -namely a perfect pop craft of electro synths, pounding 4-beats, delicate Kate Bush styled vocals and sing-along chorus’. She will ride the charts as well as she will the underground, being found as easily on Hype.fm as Radio One and that’s a talent that surely deserves attention.
And so to the Q & A. Here is your Recommender introduction to Little Boots. Nothing too deep, I just ask for an overview and a little insight from them…
1) You’ve been busy, so how are you and what have you been up to of recent?
I’m just on the way back from a gig in Newcastle, its snowing and we’re watching ‘Stop Making Sense’ , the Talking Heads documentary in the bus. We’re halfway through the Automatic Lovers Tour around the UK with an amazing band called Heartbreak, which we have planned with special disco guests in each city. We’re also doing a limited split 7″ single and merchandise you can only buy on the tour so its quite exciting to try and do something special like this.
2)You have many Youtube’s posted with you sitting at home playing your songs, giving the fans a real honest, fun, light-hearted, personable view of you as an artist. Are you the world’s first pop star that’s successfully utilised Youtube in such a way? I have no idea, I don’t really pay much attention to other people’s Youtube channels! Its just something I started doing messing around one day and I seemed to really connect with people, that’s how I spend most of my time if I get days off just messing around making music in my t-shirt and pants in my room. I think it works because they are very raw. Usually just one take recorded on a web cam. I’ll have worked it out 5 minutes before so you get a sense of immediacy and honesty, as well as it exposing the process of making music.
3)What made you turn to showcasing yourself online in this fresh, modern format? Now you are breaking through, do you think you will ever return to it?
I still do them when I get a chance. I just have less time now, but whenever I get spare moments I will still do it.
4)Why do you think it’s grabbed so much attention?
Kind of answered this in 2 if thats ok.
5)You always had toys (I recall a regular slot for a golden cat and a unicorn), joining you as you played, so what’s with their appearances?
I dunno just a stupid joke thing, they were lying around so I put them in and then they kind of became good luck charms.
6)There’s a fair few singers/songwriters desperately trying to reach us through Youtube, but do you see it as a serious outlet for future artists or is your success a one-off?
Its the world’s number one website so its definitely a place where you can reach people and get ideas across, but I find unless another site or blog links to the videos they won’t really get that many views unless you get featured. Also there’s a lot of rubbish on Youtube which I don’t think everyone has the patience to trawl through so I doubt it will because it’s not as important for new bands as something like Myspace. You have to do something really original or genuine to stand out and get noticed.
7)In what other ways do you utilise the online communities to communicate with your fans?
I have a blog that I’m very active on and I post regularly, its very interactive and a lot of people comment and I reply, so is the forum. I also run a Myspace and coordinate all the designs and ideas on the page, I have a Facebook account too but don’t really use that one as much. There’s also a mailing list where I always try to do something different and give away some stuff.
8 ) For those readers new to Little Boots how would you describe your ‘sound’? Who are your main influences and favourite artists?
I would say its hopefully well written pop songs that everyone can enjoy, with interesting production mainly on synthesizers but a more warm and organic sound rather than the slick, cold kind of synthesized pop that’s popular. Some favourite artists are Kate Bush, David Bowie, Gary Numan, Cyndi Lauper, The Beach Boys and more recently Metronomy, Hot Chip, Heartbreak, Fan Death.
9) Where does the name ‘Little Boots’ come from? Do people call you this in person, or is it simply a ‘stage name’? It was a nickname from a friend which comes from the Roman Emperor ‘Calligula‘ which is Latin for Little Boots. Most friends still call me Victoria, although a lot of people I work with have started calling me Boooooots or Bootsie!!
10) You’ve recently played a few live gigs, including in my local town of Brighton, so how have you been received?
Really well, we have played Brighton 4 times now which is more than anywhere else, and the last one was sold out. We recently sold out the ICA in London which was great, although sad that we had to turn so many people away including lots of friends. I have gained a lot of confidence from the early gigs where I was worrying too much about the technological side of things which is very complicated, and now I just really enjoy performing and interacting with the crowd.
11) Do you have enough tracks written for an album and what will your debut be called? Any heads up on who is producing for you? Is there any release date planned?
We have enough but I want to have more than enough to choose from so I am doing one more month in the studio in LA after we finish touring Europe in December, then it will hopefully be all tied up by the end of January. There are a few producers but mainly Greg Kurstin who produces Kylie, Lilly Allen, Peaches etc. and Joe Goddard from Hot Chip, as well as a track with Jas from Simian Mobile Disco and a few others. The release date is unknown yet but will be sometime 2009.
12)Just so you can become an honorary Recommender, do you know of any new bands/acts/DJ’s that have recently caught your eye that you’d like to recommend to us?
I mentioned them before in my influences but Heartbreak are brilliant, also I love Fan Death from New York. We had a guy play with us the other night called Anoraak from France who is also very good. And there’s a band called Pollyester and I liked what I heard.
13) What is next for Little Boots?
Touring UK… then Germany… then Italy… then maybe have a little time off with my boyfriend and family for Xmas, who knows?? Probably not knowing my luck! Then recording in LA, then finish album, shoot videos, do all that stuff… more touring… maybe festivals? maybe release some music???! would be good!. fingers crossed 2009.
OK, I hope that helped you gain a little more from your dose of The Recommender. Got a ‘Best Of 2008′ list coming up in the next few days, so get yourselves back here for more from us real soon…