Little Boots Is Back with a "Secret"

by Jake Carver

Photographed by  Lucrecia Taormina

Photographed by Lucrecia Taormina

British vocalist, songwriter, performer, and DJ known as Little Boots is back bringing her brand of dance forward heavy electronica. Her debut album Hands, released in 2009, is certified Gold in the UK, while her two subsequent albums were hits on the US dance charts. Lately Little Boots has shifted focus from studio albums to EPs; on August 2nd, her newest EP Jump will be released. The new body of work will feature production from Jordan Reyes and Cyril Hahn.

The Grammy nominated musician just dropped her latest with “Secret” via her independent label On Repeat Records. To mark this occasion Flaunt hit her up to see what’s up for the electronic diva.

The cover of your album is inspired by the #flauntyourwealth trend in China. What is the meme about, and how did you find out about it in the first place?

Its a craze that went viral initially in China where wealthy kids and influencers were photographed posing as if they had fallen out of their expensive cars or houses with all their wealth displayed around them as if they’d just dropped it… the images immediately struck me as both fascinating and disturbing and I researched the trend more. It eventually spread to more places and themes, like people at work with all their tools around them or falling off a sofa surrounded by fast food! I thought it would  be a cool comment on it to recreate the image with the tools I use to make music. 

What is the emotional inspiration for Jump?

This EP was definitely a turning point for me, I went through a lot of upheaval the last couple of years moving countries and going through a bad break up so it felt like the start of a new chapter, where I finally felt myself again and was ready to take risks both creatively and emotionally. Its cliche but true that living in LA has really made me practice a bit of self love and realise that I am enough, I’m a lot more in touch with myself and now and whilst it wasn’t pleasant at the time actually having such big changes has made me a much stronger and better person overall. 

How has your relocation from the UK to LA affected your music?

LA is a strange place because it an make you feel invincible on some days and delusional on others… I think the secret is to find the balance. A bit of blind optimism is good for any creative process at times, but you need to keep it real and not get too lost in the sunshine bubble otherwise you lose touch with what’s actually important. I still go back to the UK a lot, all my family are there and its actually great being able to jump between the two, I love to get back to London and land straight in the grit and grind of it all, people are maybe a bit grumpier but they have such drive and wit, I miss their sarcasm the most. 

Does Jump follow up on the sound you’ve developed over your last few EPs, or is it a turn in a new direction?

Its definitely builds on the sound established in my last EP ‘Burn’ and my touring as a DJ the last few years, I’ve been steadily inching towards a more club focused sound to coincide with this but I like to try and keep my pop melodies in there. Its the marriage of the two that fascinates me. But whereas Burn was more of a sad bangers type tears on the dance floor sound, Jump definitely feels more optimistic. It has more of a baleric feel, it reminds me of driving around on hot summer nights in downtown LA looking for a warehouse party, or hazy warm late night Ibiza parties. 

Photographed by  Lucrecia Taormina

Photographed by Lucrecia Taormina

Secret had an all-female production team. Was that your intent from the beginning, or was it coincidental?

It was actually Burn that had an all female production team, ‘Secret’ was produced by an LA based producer called Jordan Reyes, we immediately hit it off and wrote the song in a day. He had this great bass line and I wanted to channel a super minimalist pop vibe, something like Kylie’s ‘Slow’ but take it into the club. I’ve been listening to a lot of great female artist/ DJ acts like Yaeji, Peggy gou and The bLack madonna so the EP sound is very much inspired by som of the great women acts around right now. 

Do you think an all-female team would have been possible at the start of your career? How do you think the music industry has changed since your debut?

The music industry has changed beyond recognition since I started out… people still bought CDs! I’m really glad there is such a focus on gender diversity across the creative industries right now, it feels like a real turning point. For a long time I was frustrated it felt like there was a lot of talk about this but no actually action, so finally it really feels like things are changing and there are some great things happening as a result. I think the key to surviving and continuing in the music industry is to be adaptable, to never stop evolving or bettering yourself. I started out in an indie band, I became a popstar, then a DJ and a songwriter, started a record label, I’m now getting more and more into production…. adapt or die is my mantra!

Who are some artists whose music influenced Jump? Were you inspired by any non-electronic acts?

Other than the artists mentioned above, I also works with Cyril Hahn on the lead track who I have been a huge fan of for years. I loved the new Robyn album, also the track Because by Smerz definitely influenced some ideas I had around playing with vocal textures on Secret. I’m so happy to have Kiddy Smile  feature on Lesson, another of the tracks, I have been following him for some time and love his whole vibe and aesthetic.  Non-Electronic acts… well I play piano a lot so I listen to a lot of Chopin and Brahms, it probably came out somewhere in the writing!

Do you have a favorite track on Jump?

I think ‘Jump’ is maybe my favourite track because I was having quite an emotional time when I wrote it, I really needed some space so I drove myself out to the desert and rented this house in the middle of nowhere with a grand piano. I spent 3 days playing and reading and didn’t see another human being (apart from a cop that pulled me over for speeding on the way home oops!), and the song just came out really fast. It was kind of like therapy and helped me work through a lot of the questions I was deliberating over and things that were worrying me, and like the lyrics say helped me find confidence to trust myself and others again and take risks at the jumping off point. On the last night I went running and saw the full moon rise over the mountains in the desert and it was so beautiful it was like a sign!

“Secret” is an insanely catchy, bouncy song, with great lyrics to boot--pun not intended. What was your inspiration for that track?

The lyrics were actually inspired by a chat with friends about dating in LA, or it could be anywhere…  but about how much to hold back or how much to reveal. If you ask all the questions and keep your own cards close to your chest there’s a theory you retain the power in the conversation. But unless you actually allow yourself to be vulnerable and open up to someone its unlikely  you will be able to have a meaningful connection. So its kind of about the games we play with dating and desire, how Secrets can be a powerful ally but sometimes also a curse. 

Jump was released by your own record label, On Repeat Records. How’s the label coming along?

Its challenging to be an independent label, so we’ve actually changed our business to be more of an agency now. We have a roster of female DJs and producers that we represent and are championing in London and LA, and we consult and run events like workshops teaching girls to DJ for brands like Adidas. Its really rewarding to be sharing our knowledge and helping girls who may have been put off by the masculine conception of the more technical side of music to demystify this and encourage them to get involved.

Can we expect a full studio album any time soon?

I’ve started work on some songs, but its not going to be a quick process, I want to really take time and make this an album I feel totally proud of. I also want to produce it myself so its going to be a lot of work and I don’t want to rush! But as well as this EP we are also working on a special 10 year anniversary project of my first record ‘Hands’, and will be reissuing a limited vinyl version of this with a special bonus disc of rarities and B sides, including newly recorded versions and never heard before demos, so there is plenty coming for fans to get excited about.