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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Little Boots Gets Down To "Business"
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Five years ago Little Boots burst onto the pop scene with her debut album, ‘Hands.’ As the years passed, however, she found herself wanting to go in other artistic directions. Using personal creativity as her GPS, she led herself to Business Pleasure.

Due out December 2nd, Business Pleasure is still in the pop genre, but the subject matter of the songs on the EP differ from the current pop fare. With a lead single, titled “Taste It,” that takes on society’s obsessions, Little Boots has created pop music with a purpose.

During a brief trip to the US, Little Boots sat down with me to discuss what brought about her artistic shift, and what she doesn’t plan on writing about again anytime soon. She also revealed what happened on a very exciting evening in NYC that involved drag queens and the music of a fellow pop superstar.

Adam Bernard: The new EP is Business Pleasure. What about it is business, and what about it is pleasure?

Little Boots: {laughs} It’s more just this kind of comment on where I’m at right now, which is I run my own label, I’m in an industry that is markedly changing, and (I’m) trying to be creative in that situation. It’s kind of this exploration of this journey I’ve been on.

It’s very much been business and pleasure. It’s kind of crazy when you do what you love, and that’s also how you make a living.

(The EP) is about where I’m at, and being my own boss, really, and everything that goes with that. The creative, fun, and independence, and being in control (aspects), but also the kind of scary side of it. If things go wrong it’s probably your fault, and no one else’s.

Adam Bernard: I’ve been my own boss, as well, so I’m wondering at any point have you looked in the mirror, or been doing something work related, and said, “Man, I’m a jerk of a boss to myself!”

Little Boots: Yeah, I mean, I’m pretty hard on myself, I think. I put myself under a lot of pressure sometimes, but I love it. I’m going from the situation of not being my own boss, and having someone else in control, and directing things. I much prefer how things work now.

Being able to have my own vision, and see it through, is just the best thing in the world.

Adam Bernard: Being your own boss obviously inspired some of the album, but what else was going on in your life that inspired the content of Business Pleasure?

Little Boots: I kind of tried not to write love songs, at least not straightforward love songs, because I just feel like that’s what every pop song is about, and it becomes this go-to, like knee jerk reaction songwriting, and it’s not keeping quite interesting.

I’ve done two albums now, I’m kind of bored of writing songs about being in love, or being brokenhearted, whether they’re personal or not, so let’s do something different, let’s put that topic off the agenda. It really makes me think of different things, and observe things. I looked for new areas of inspiration.

The new song, “Taste It,” is all about addictions, and this kind of crazy world that we’re living in at the minute, and everything that comes with it, this kind of hyper-culture. I probably never would have written a song about that a few years ago because I’d have been too busy writing about broken hearts.

It’s cool that this has really pushed me as a songwriter to think about some new things, and look around me, really, and it’s stuff that everyone can relate to. People go through problems about being enough.

Adam Bernard: Love. You’re over it!

Little Boots: I’m over love. At least I’m over writing about love for now. {laughs}

Adam Bernard: You mentioned “Taste It,” which you just released a video for that features a lot of interesting visuals. What brought on the desire to address the culture of addiction, and in such a direct way?

Little Boots: I was just looking for interesting topics. The moral of the song is be careful what you wish for, and (it looks at) why we’re addicted to these things that are bad for us, and why we’re obsessed with perfection, or success.

I guess some of it is personal, like what I went through being on a major label and trying to do this perfect pop thing that, in hindsight, wasn’t really me, but then once you get a taste of doing that stuff, like being there, then you just want more of it, you want to keep doing it.

I don’t think I could not be a musician now. Once you’ve been there, I can’t go back, there’s nothing else on earth I could do but make pop music. Now I’m doing it much more in my own way. I just couldn’t stop. It was like opening Pandora's box.

Adam Bernard: Was success almost an addiction you felt trapped by?

Little Boots: Um, I wouldn’t say trapped by. I most just mean I had gone from making songs in my pajamas on YouTube, and going from that to doing that as my profession was incredible, and I can’t go back. I don’t want to do anything else. I don’t want to go back to making videos in my pajamas on YouTube and having a crappy day job. I can't go back.

In some ways it’s addictive being a musician. I don’t know if it’s success. I’m addicted to making music, and making weird pop music.

Adam Bernard: Being that you’re your own boss, you can still do everything in your pajamas.

Little Boots: To be honest, I'm in my pajamas right now. {laughs}

Adam Bernard: You mentioned going from posting YouTube videos to doing this for a living, and I think in a lot of people’s minds you rocketed to fame fairly quickly, whether or not it actually felt that way in reality. Was there any aspect of fame you weren’t prepared for?

Little Boots: Yeah, most of it. In the UK, especially, I was very hyped. It was a very hype driven thing, and I think in the UK more than anywhere people are like, “What’s new? What’s next?” It’s a very throwaway kind of culture for a lot of artists and musicians. You have to be the hot new thing, and the next day you’re not, so I think one of the biggest challenges is having, and sustaining, and continuing to do it. It’s quite challenging.

I had this big hype thing, and I really wasn't prepared for a lot of it. I went along with a lot of things I wouldn’t go along with now necessarily, but I guess it’s a learning curve. I was pretty young and everyone was just saying, “Go,” so I went.

It was pretty crazy, but I learned a lot from it, and I don’t regret anything, but looking back there are some things I wouldn’t do now, or maybe didn’t feel comfortable with.

Adam Bernard: You say you don’t regret anything, but if you could have one do-over, if there was one thing you could go back in time and fight to not do, what would it be?

Little Boots: That’s a good question. I think I would have done my first video differently, because I think videos are really important. I always find videos challenging. Now, creatively, I collaborate a bit more, but I didn’t really used to, and I think videos sum up so much; it’s a song, it’s a vision, it’s a personality, and maybe the first video, if I’d felt a bit more me about that, maybe things would have gone forward a bit differently, but I don’t regret anything. It was a fun video shoot.

Adam Bernard: Staying on the topic of music videos, “Taste It” has been very well received, although there is still the occasional YouTube comment from someone saying they prefer Hands, or, “Why doesn’t she just keep making music like Hands?” When you read those comments, or when some asshole journalist who’s interviewing you reads them to you, how do you want to respond?

Little Boots: Show me a video with 100% positive comments, first of all. They don’t exist.

You can’t please everybody, and I'm an artist, I’m growing creatively. That album was made five years ago. If I was putting out songs that sounded like that people would probably be like, “This is really dated.”

You’ve got to grow, and explore, as an artist. All my favorite artists have done that, the people who I love, and respect, and grew up listening to.

Who wants someone who makes exactly the same album every time? That’s boring.

You’re never gonna please everybody, and you never know, if a song off Hands came out now would it do the same thing? Would those people like it as much? It’s just impossible to tell.

I’m just trying to stay true to myself, and make songs that I hope my fans like. Hands was like, at least in the UK, it was a very mainstream album, and I’m exploring some things that are probably less mainstream now. That’s where I’m at, and what I’m enjoying.

Adam Bernard: You have a litany of instruments in your repertoire. Did anything new come into the mix for Business Pleasure?

Little Boots: Yeah, actually. I just started using this thing called Ableton Push. It’s the Ableton software, and it’s like this new control over it that lights up in pretty colors. I just started using that for the live show and it’s really good for that.

I just did this gig in Brooklyn, and I made all the music myself, so I didn’t have my band, and I kind of had to turn into octopus lady and do eight hundred things at once, but it was cool. I’s good to be building everything in front of people like that.

I’ve been playing around with that, and just using weird synths, as usual, (and) some pretty out of tune ones, which is impressive. (I’m also) working with cool people, they always have good toys.

Adam Bernard: You mentioned your Brooklyn show, and I know you tour extensively. With that in mind, what’s been the wildest, or most interesting, thing you’ve seen, or experienced, while on the road?

Little Boots: I remember we had a really good show in Mexico City on Day of the Dead. That was a lot of fun. I dressed up in a skeleton outfit with a skull mask, and the crowd was so crazy, and amazing. That was a really fun gig, and just being in Mexico City on Day of the Dead, everything is a visual feast, everywhere you look is incredible.

Adam Bernard: That sounds amazing! Finally, when you’re driving in your car, or you’re at the gym, what’s the most embarrassing thing someone might catch you singing along to?

Little Boots: {laughs} I don’t believe in guilty pleasures, so I don’t really get embarrassed by anything that people would think would be cheesy or whatever. What have I been listening to lately? A lot of Ariana Grande. I’ve been very into that. A lot of Taylor Swift, at the minute. I’ve been screaming those songs with no shame from my car quite a lot.

Adam Bernard: I enjoy both of their new albums.

Little Boots: Amazing pop writing. Like next level pop writing. But yeah, I generally don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I have some records that people probably think are terrible that I absolutely love. A lot of ABBA. There’s a lot of ABBA going on. Yay for good pop music!

Adam Bernard: Damned straight! Although occasionally I can be singing it too loudly at a stoplight and someone looks over.

Little Boots: Oh yeah, that happens to me a lot.

Adam Bernard: Taylor Swift lyrics sound weird coming out of me. They probably sound more appropriate coming out of you.

Little Boots: Hmm, I don’t know. I had a crazy night in New York after my show. I ended up in this drag bar, tipping drag queens to do Taylor Swift. It was amazing. She did “Shake It Off.” It was awesome. We tipped her $20 for it.

Adam Bernard: I asked for a crazy tour story and you didn’t tell that one!?!

Little Boots: I guess I kind of disconnected it from tour. That was like two nights ago. I was really wasted. It was fun.


Interview originally ran on Arena.com.

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