Little Boots Discusses The World Of Her New Album ‘Working Girl’: Idolator Interview
Today sees the release of Little Boots‘ third album, Working Girl (buy it here), which the British singer and On Repeat label chief first teased with last fall’s Business Pleasure EP. If a mix of ’80s R&B flavor, ’90s house beats and solid pop sounds like the perfect music cocktail, then Working Girl is likely to become one of your summer favorites.
Next week, Little Boots (aka Victoria Hesketh) will throw on her power suit and head out on a North American tour in support of the album. Ahead of that, we rang her up in London to discuss just why Working Girl, her best album yet, works so well.
It’s so nice to speak with you again. We last talked in November, when your released your Business Pleasure EP. How many more songs did you have to record for the album after that. LITTLE BOOTS: I’d done the EP songs already. I think all the songs were finished, but it’s just that thing of trying to get coherency to an album, which is always quite challenging. So it’s that tweaking and pulling and pushing each song. It’s actually time consuming and a bit boring, pulling everything together so it fits together. It’s important to me, though, because a lot of pop albums just designed to be stand-alone singles don’t hold together as an album. I really feel that now. When I’m excited because there’s a big pop album coming out and I get it, there’ll be some great singles but it just won’t hang together as a record. I find that really disappointing. When I was younger, an album was a whole experience, and you’d just keep playing it until it wore out pretty much. So it’s still important to me to get that coherency and to have a little world for an hour or however long it is.
This is now your second album since going independent and making music for your own label, On Repeat. During Nocturnes, it was just quite an intense time of me figuring things out and really wanted to make this credible record. I’m obviously really proud of it, but I think I’ve just lightened up a bit. I’ve got some more blazers in my wardrobe and it’s really working out.
Oh, the Melanie Griffith/Working Girl realness is on-point. What’s been the reaction of your fans? It’s more fun than ever. I’m having the most fun talking to my fans! There are so many places you can take it. I’m having fans sending me art that’s like flowcharts and diagrams and stuff. It’s super fun. Instead of touring, we’re planning a series of conferences. Now I’ve got a Linked In profile, which you should check out. But everyone’s like, “Is she joking or isn’t she?” I don’t think even I know if I’m joking or not.
Has running your own label gotten any easier at this point? I’ve just got so much more confidence now in doing things. We’re shooting [the “Better In The Morning”] video tomorrow and I’m completely behind every bit of it and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s weird thinking how I used to do things; I’d never do them like that anymore. It’s important for me to be in control of everything. And the more you do it — you know, people have been saying how much they love the artwork, and that was all me. So that makes me go, okay, I can do this. With every step, I’m getting more confident. It makes me take bigger risks and try more things.
Let’s discuss a few of the tracks on Working Girl, starting with my favorite, “Paradise.” Interesting. Everyone has different favorites. Interesting. “Paradise,” I’m glad you like it, because I almost didn’t put it on. That one’s very much about [sings the chorus from Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life”]. It’s like that kind of thing where you’ve been out at an amazing festival or a party or holiday, and that feeling of going back into the real world. I get it quite a lot when I come back from L.A., where I go a lot. It’s so different from London, and there’s this real feeling when come back here of being back in the grey.
“Paradise” is pretty housey, and then there’s “The Game,” which has a bit of a reggae-pop vibe. It’s obviously an homage of that Ace Of Base, Soul II Soul, excellent era of ’90s pop. I wrote “The Game” with my friend Jeppe [Laursen], who wrote Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” and he worked with me on Nocturnes. He was in Junior Senior. He’s an amazing pop songwriter. We wrote it in the desert, in Joshua Tree. It was this amazing, barren place to be writing pop music. But that song’s very much about the music industry and life — all the pressure of what you’re supposed to do, and how much you play along and go along with it. Or if you actually don’t like your life and want to change things, you’ve got to break the chain of things. I guess it’s related to me in the way that I was very caught up in the game of having to play by someone else’s rules, and the only way to really change that is to break out of that and start making your own rules.
Another Working Girl highlight: “No Pressure.” I wrote “No Pressure” in L.A. So many people are like, “You just need that game-changer, that magic song that will change everything. You just need that one hit song and everything will be amazing!” And, like, alright — it’s not like I’ve not been trying to do that. It’s very much about that process of songwriting, I guess, but you could put it to any situation. “It could just be around the corner and you just gotta keep faith that it’s going to happen.” It’s about the pressure of having a hit. You could relate it to any situation, but that’s just how my crazy pop brain works.
I saw your “Taste It” video won an award at the Berlin Festival recently. Congratulations! It got nominated for two different award at two different film festivals, the London one and the Berlin one, which was super cool! That video really was pretty out there and we put a lot of work into it. I felt like some people loved it and some people just hated it and didn’t get it. So the fact that it’s got these artsy award nominations is great. It’s that thing of, well, alright, maybe I can do this.
We called the video “beautifully disturbing” here on the site. It definitely stays with you after you watch it. I think it’s better to divide people than to be bland. It’s nice to be shocking in a way that’s not just getting your bum out or dry-humping things. Basically, if you let me have control, I just start dressing up in stupid suits and holding giant mobile phones. I have a blue screen in my studio upstairs. If you look on Instagram, there’s one where it looks like I’m in a corner office in New York with the whole of New York behind me. It’s amazing — I’ve got all these ’90s office backgrounds, so I can green-screen myself into any of these backgrounds. I’m just gonna do a series of videos direct from my skyscraper office.
The only thing missing is the workout bike from our office that you hopped on last time you were here. Maybe I can ship that to you. Yeah! I know — I need some more props in my fake office. But I guess that’s the Internet now: you can pretend to be anyone and anything, and no one really knows what’s real and what’s not. That’s kind of what Working Girl is about. I think that’s the age we’re living in. You don’t really know what’s real and what isn’t. Is a joke or is it real? I think that’s a really exciting place for pop to be, in between these worlds of reality and surface. I just like making a whole little world around an album. That’s really important to me still. Even if you’re going to download the tracks in isolation, as everyone does these days, I still want the people who actually buy a whole album to have this more immersive experience and really get into this little fantasy world, and escape into it for an hour.
Of course Working Girl is the main focus now. But looking ahead, any idea what’s next? I’m gonna see how the rest of this year goes, because that’s mapped out. I’m still writing. I’ve probably got another three albums of stuff already written. I’m trying to do more writing for other artists, and with the label I’m looking for new artists. I really feel like the On Repeat skyscraper office is off and running. It’s good.