Interview: Little Boots — "It's that dark side that I like…"
Mon, 01 Mar 2010 07:40:22
Space is the place to be for Little Boots.
In fact, she takes listeners on an intergalactic aural journey with each and every song. On her unforgettable debut album, Hands, Little Boots crafts a lush soundscape that's the perfect middle ground between Portishead's ethereal trip hop brilliance and Lady GaGa's infectious pop. In fact, that's what makes Little Boots so unique. She's got an undeniable pop sensibility, but she's not afraid to push boundaries musically. Just take one listen to "Hearts Collide" from Hands. It's so catchy could certainly be played in any club, but it's got enough depth to make listeners come back and delve into it. This is definitely the best sonic ride you'll take all year…
Little Boots sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about Hands, how poetry influences her, reading Edgar Allan Poe for her next offering and why we're all just atoms waiting for a "collision."
Hands has a lush, cinematic feel. Do you feel like you're painting pictures with these songs?
Maybe, it just has a lot to do with emotions. It wasn't really meant to be orchestral. We didn't use any orchestral instruments like strings. Everything is on the synths. Everyone has his or her own interpretation of Hands. For me, it was simply a way of expressing myself. The music is kind of spacey, quite escapist and, in many ways, fantastical. It takes you to another place…
If you were to compare Hands to a movie what would you compare it to?
I'd definitely compare it to something that takes place in space. I don't really watch very many movies, to be honest. Maybe, it'd be some kind of '70s, space-science documentary or something along those lines [Laughs]. It'd be something old and spacey.
Like 2001: A Space Odyssey but happier…
Are you constantly writing lyrical ideas?
I have a notebook that I write bits of ideas down as I'm going. Generally, I start at the piano and build it from there. Sometimes while I'm in the studio, I'll start by playing with the keyboards. Then I normally go to the melodies next. The lyrics are the last thing. It's like building—you build the base and then you keep adding layers on top of that. The lyrics are kind of like the icing on top.
What's the story behind "Hearts Collide?"
This song came about when I'd just met my boyfriend actually. I hadn't really been with anyone for a long time. The song's about how when you're not looking, that can happen! I was so immersed in music at the time. You're going along on your business and, all of a sudden, you have this collision with someone. It's like we're all atoms floating around. Then we hit someone else and explode. It stops everything. It's about colliding with somebody that you're meant to be with and not really expecting it. Everything changes after that though.
The song covers a whole emotional spectrum.
I never wanted to dwell on one feeling. Some of the songs are quite personal, and some of them are made up or they project about other people I know. Other songs are just observations. It's a mixture of vibes, personal feelings and made-up feelings [Laughs].
Do you read or write poetry while you're composing lyrics?
I read a lot, especially when I'm writing. I'll read poetry in specific, and that helps. I love a lot of '50s and '60s poetry and novels from around then—quite dark stuff. Poetry really helps me with lyrics because it gives me ideas on how to express feelings.
Who are some of your favorite poets and authors?
I was reading Sylvia Plath and J.D. Ballard a lot when I was writing the album. I'm quite into Edgar Allan Poe at the minute. There's not really one muse. I always change it around, and I like a bit of everything. I was also reading Ted Hughes while working on the record. I like the more weird science fiction stuff that J.D. Ballard did. I've only just gotten into Edgar Allan Poe's work. I wasn't really reading him when I wrote the album, but for the next album, I think I might be inspired by the darker Poe work. It's that dark side that I like.
Your sound is so spacey and ethereal that you could go into some dark places. Is that something you'd like to venture into?
Yeah, maybe in the future…The last album was fantastical and magic. It takes you away to another dimension, and I think the next album will be rawer and a bit more down-to-earth. It'll still be magical, but quite dark and spooky at the same time. Hands hints at it.
"Ghost" has that vibe.
Exactly! That's one of my favorite songs. It feels really honest and quite weird. It was inspired by some poetry that I was reading. There's the feeling of being ignored.
Why did you call the album Hands?
Well, it's the name of the first demo that I did as Little Boots. It's about having faith in your hands and what you can make. It's about taking things into your own hands, having confidence in yourself and what you can achieve. There are so many different connotations to the word that you can have a variety of meanings. I try to give listeners a lot of layers with the music, and they can take what they want to from it.
Check out Rick Florino's new novel Dolor available now for FREE here…