Saturday, 22 August 2009

Little Boots

Victoria Hesketh, aka Little Boots, has been pretty busy this year, what with being the ‘saviour of pop’ and everything. I caught up with her to find out how she’s handling the hype.

After a year of waiting, Little Boots’ debut album Hands has finally hit the shelves, and it’s being getting great reviews that have gone somewhere towards justifying the hype that surrounded the steadfastly normal Northern girl who, 18 months ago, was covering Madonna and Human League songs in her bedroom and posting them on YouTube.

This DIY approach garnered a lot of attention for the singer-songwriter. She was on all the Hot Lists at the beginning of 2009, and touted as one to watch by the music press. The mass hype saw Little Boots grace numerous covers and featured in everything from The Sun to NME. Her star seemed to rising faster than the speed of sound.

‘I’m not Jesus,’ Victoria told me in our recent interview, saying she thinks the best thing she can do is ‘just to kind of ignore it and keep my head down and just focus on doing what I do and being a good musician and songwriter and performer at live shows, that’s what matters, that’s what I care about.’

Her passion for music is evident, even in the DIY YouTube videos shot in her bedroom, where she covers pop songs on a weird looking Tenori-On (a Japanese sequencer) wearing her pyjamas. She’s come a long way from the 16 year old who failed an audition for Pop Idol, which was a stroke of luck as Victoria realised she didn’t want to be another manufactured pop star. Instead, she decided to go her own route, and after a stint in the band Dead Disco, who very nearly made it, her solo efforts really captured the attention of the mass music media.

Hype is a pretty mixed blessing, especially for an aspiring young artist, ‘It was really great and I had some amazing opportunities from that and it was a great, great thing,’ she told me, ‘but I think at the same time everyone automatically judges you on three songs and decides what you should be able to do and it kind of gets a bit impossible to live up to it all really.’

Judging her from only three songs is a mistake, as the singer has some pretty big plans for the future already. Hampered not by imagination but only cash flow, the spectacle of Little Boots live is certainly something worth seeing, which Victoria wants to build on in the future. ‘I’ve got a few plans, I’d love to do loads of stuff, but I think it’s just a case of building it up gradually, adding a bit at a time, you know?’ Her ideas include fibreglass wolves, but unfortunately she’s been unable to source any sturdy enough to withstand the frenetic live shows.

Did growing up in Blackpool, with its gaudy glamour and seedy seaside vibe feed her flights of fancy? ‘I suppose, I think I’ve just always had a really vivid imagination, I’ve always been into anything that’s fantasy or fairy tale or otherworldly, I don’t know whether that comes from Blackpool or not, it’s just how I’ve been,’ she tells me. Wherever her imagination comes from, it’s a key element that has put Little Boots up there with the raft of female electro musicians that are dominating the charts at the moment.

Female artists like La Roux, VV Brown and Lady Gaga have, like Little Boots, been getting a lot of hype recently, but having her music pigeon holed with these musicians isn’t necessarily something Victoria is comfortable with. ‘People like to paint this whole movement of female artists, we’re all completely different but it’s a bit silly really. I can see why people do it and it’s quite an exciting time, you know that there are so many musicians and artists doing interesting things, but I think it can be quite narrow minded to shove us all in one box and say that’s a genre,’ she says.

Even with all the differences between the artists, there’s no ignoring the fact that the ladies have been trampling all over the indie landfill that seemed to be a fixture at the top of the charts not so long ago. I asked whether she thought the public had gotten bored of boys in bands. ‘Yeah, that’s how music works isn’t it, every time something gets overdone something else comes along, I’m sure this time next year we’ll be sick of electric girls and be eyeing up something else.’

Pop music is undergoing a bit of a renaissance at the moment, with critics going into raptures over the new pop artists, one even crediting Little Boots as the ‘saviour’ of pop. She agrees, ‘I think people’s attitudes are changing, and pop’s quite cool at the minute. People are getting less snobbish about it now because the pop music that’s happening at the minute is more interesting.’

Hands is out now on Atlantic.

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