Little Boots returns to take on the world

POULTON'S FINEST: Victoria Hesketh, aka Little Boots
POULTON'S FINEST: Victoria Hesketh, aka Little Boots
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Blackpool’s finest export of recent years has been a little quiet of late.

Named the BBC Sound of Music in 2009 - seeing off the likes of Florence and the Machine, Lady Gaga and La Roux - Little Boots, aka Poulton’s Victoria Hesketh, took the country by storm with the release of debut album Hands.

It peaked at number five in the charts and spawned the hits Remedy, New in Town and Earthquake.

She played sell out gigs - including a memorable appearance at HMV in Blackpool town centre - then turned her hand to DJing and toured the world. And then … well as far as her fans in this country were concerned, it went a little quiet.

All that is about to change though.

Giving an exclusive interview to The Gazette, 28-year-old Hesketh, whose parents and three brothers all live on the Fylde, is about to release her eagerly-awaited second album.

All eyes now are on whether the former Rossall School and Blackpool and Sixth Form College pupil can match the efforts of her widely-praised first album.

Whatever happens, Hesketh - or Boots, whichever you prefer - is pleased she took her time getting the new album out. “I’ve just finished it and it was a bit frustrating that is took me longer than I would like,” she said.

“But after having such a crazy start with the first album by the time I got back home from tour it was difficult to sit down and write at first. There was a lot to take in and come down from.

“But now I’ve finished I’m so happy with how it sounds and I know if I had rushed it then it wouldn’t be as good. There’s a lot of pressure in the industry to rush things through these days and I think creatively I just needed to take my time.”

Debut album Hands was pure pop over electronic beats, with Hesketh’s keyboard playing to the fore.

Asked about the sound of the new release - due to hit the streets by March - Hesketh said: “The album is definitely different from the first one but I think the fans will still love it.

“It’s still very melodic and danceable and is pop at its heart.

“I worked with a super talented producer called Tim Goldsworthy (DFA, Hercules & Love Affair, The Maccabes). We produced the whole record in Bristol this year and I’m very proud of it.

“Sonically its still electronic but draws a lot more influences from early house music and classic disco.”

What is slightly disappointing is that Hesketh won’t be playing her new songs in Blackpool. But that’s not her fault - there just isn’t a venue suitable for her.

“I will tour in Blackpool one day, but I’m still waiting for a good mid size venue to open up with a sound desk that has enough channels for us to play live,” she said. “Unfortunately the last time I checked there wasn’t one!

“But we will be touring the new album very soon so hopefully we will get close enough for you (the people of Blackpool).”

Hesketh, who has played piano since the age of five and who can also play the flute and harp, performed with a jazz trio when she was younger and earned money while she doing a cultural studies degree at Leeds University by playing cover songs at hotels in the north.

It was at Leeds that she first began to make the music industry sit up and take notice, forming the all-girl band Dead Disco, quickly earning a recording contract.

But showing the independence and single-mindedness which makes her the artist she is, she decided to leave the group when she realised she had different musical ideas.

She went it alone and within a year - helped by posting hugely popular videos of her singing on YouTube - earned a record deal.

That led to the album Hands, and to worldwide fame.

“It’s been a crazy couple of years, touring and recording all over the world,” she admitted from her London home.

“We just finished our first tour of South America before Christmas, which was amazing as it was our first time out there so it was quite strange to meet so many fans!

“I’ve also been DJing a lot (since the first album), which is something I really enjoy. I’ve been everywhere from Tokyo to San Francisco and back again, but mainly I’ve been focusing on writing and recording the new album.”

Asked how life has changed over the past few years, she said: “I suppose everything has changed.

“I’m so grateful I get to do what I love for a living which is the most anyone can ask for. It sounds ridiculous complaining about touring the world but sometimes it can be very hard - lots of people cooped up in a tour bus driving for days on end is definitely not glamorous and living out of a suitcase. Sometimes I feel like I should just move into Heathrow!

“But the best feeling in the world is when you happen to be in a shop or a taxi somewhere and the world and all of a sudden one of your songs comes on, you can’t beat it.”

Though she won’t be stopping in Blackpool when she begins a UK tour later in the year, Hesketh makes a point of coming home when she can.

“My parents are still in Poulton and my brothers are around and I come as often as I can … although usually I have to hold my mum off coming down to London for a shopping trip instead!” she added.

“I was around after Christmas and had a great time. In fact I love the new Spanish restaurant and Boca bar in Poulton!”

Good to see Hesketh hasn’t forgotten her roots. We now wait to see what this super-talented girl has got in store for us on the new record. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be something good.