For the love of all things expeditious, thank goodness this new Little Boots album is finally coming out. It feels as though its predecessor, Hands, was released in 1972, so long has the anticipation for a follow-up been strung out.

We are, of course, being the most extreme of Exaggerating Edwinas here: while still quite a wee bit old, Hands only came out in 2009 and, despite what many detractors may think, Victoria Hesketh hasn't just been sitting around twiddling her thumbs during the four-year interval. Instead, she's been twiddling various knobs and buttons on her studio equipment, recording a rather hefty bunch of tunes, trying to get her former label to release them, hitting a brick wall on that front and then realising that the best way forward was to go it alone.

And so comes Nocturnes, her long-delayed-but-very-much-worth-the-wait postgraduate record. In a world of sweeping statements, let us sweepingly state that Nocturnes may well be 2013's Confessions On A Dancefloor - it is both a celebration of club life and a soundtrack to a euphoric night out. As current single, 'Broken Record', verily demonstrates, not dancing is not an option.

Victoria met our probesome questions with candour, aplomb and admirable openness, as is evidenced from our chat below.


How many demos and full tracks would you say you've recorded since the end of the Hands campaign?

Oh gosh, about a billion? Umm... I think about 40 or 50. It's hard to say because I write all the time. People seem to think that I've just been hanging out on a desert island drinking piña coladas for three years but I definitely haven't. I'm writing all the time. There are lots of songs that didn't make the record that maybe didn't feel right but that I still don't want to get buried and forgotten about so I'm hoping to record some of those maybe later in the year. And a few of them have gone to other people.

It's all been condensed into the neat 10-track set that is Nocturnes. Admittedly, the tracks are quite long so one gets one's money's worth but were you not tempted to include more material?

They are long tracks [laughs]. I mean, there's a track that's almost seven minutes long, which is something I never thought I'd do on one of my records! But it was so important for me to make this album cohesive and when I sat down with Tim [Goldsworthy of DFA Records] who produced it and we went through it all - we had so many options for songs and, you know, I had to take the ones that felt right and the ones that fitted in with the sound and with the direction. There would be nothing worse for me than doing something that I didn't feel like it had a vision behind it. And even though there were songs that were left off and that people may be annoyed about, I wanted it to sound right.

Which conveniently brings us to 'Headphones', one of the recent singles you released last year. Why was that particular one left off the album?

Tim and I talked about it and, at first the plan was for it to be on it. But the song just didn't fit in with the rest of the album. The guys I did it with, The Knocks, are really talented and I think it's a really good, catchy song. But it is out there already so people can get it.

In December 2011 you launched what was to be the first single from the album, 'Shake', with a massive warehouse party in Hackney, hosted by Munroe Bergdorf -

Oh my god, that was a crazy night, that was so wild. Everyone I spoke to who came said they had an amazing time. We made a loss of about a million pounds [laughs] but yeah, it was really fun.

Do you see yourself doing more of those kinds of parties in the future?

Maybe. I mean, it was really, really fun but a lot of work. It wasn't a commercial venture, it was just to have a good time and also a different way to launch the single. But the scale of it was much bigger than I initially anticipated. I would like to do more stuff like that but it's quite time-consuming and, at the time I wasn't touring so it kind-of filled that gap. But now we're approaching the live shows and touring again, there won't be that much time. I think what we will do, instead, is have after-parties for most of the shows.

A couple of months ago you released a 12" with 'Superstitious Heart' and 'Whatever Sets You Free' under the moniker LB but neither track ended up on the new record. What was their role in the build-up to the album?

They were actually meant to come out earlier - they were meant for last year but it all got a bit delayed and it was a bit close to the album announcement. But they were actually never meant to be part of the campaign. They were just collaborations I did with a couple of producers I really liked [Maya Jane Coles and Dario Vola, respectively]. I'm a huge fan of Maya and we'd been talking about doing something together and I had this song that I'd written with James Ford and I thought she could do something really cool with it, which she did. I mean, I think you've just got to keep doing interesting things and fresh things. There are no rules anymore. So what if it doesn't fit into a campaign plan or a timeline or whatever people want to call it? You know, all the rules are getting broken so I don't think artists need to be tied down like that anymore. It's a cool song, it doesn't fit into the album, you do something else with it. I'm glad we got it out there and people seem to like it.

You tweeted in December that there was going to be a 9-minute song on the album. Which of the tracks was originally so epic?

[laughs] It was 'Strangers'. We still have the 9-minute version which is coming out as a special 12" single for Record Store Day. This is the thing about working with Tim. The tracks are constantly changing and it's amazing how the music evolves. Unfortunately, for radio edits and album versions you can't have a ten-minute synth-jam. So there have to be cuts here and there but it does sound fantastic. The 12" is called Nocturnal Versions and the extended version is on that. I guess you have to be kind of nerdy to enjoy 9 minutes of that but it is amazing [laughs].

Would you say that the primary influence on your sound with this record comes from your growing Djing activities over the past couple of years?

I knew where I wanted to go with my sound before then. When I did 'Shake' something felt right about it. Something excited me about it. I was feeling rather pressured by the type of dance that was coming out, all the David Guetta stuff, even though I think there are some brilliant songs in that world but there's also a lot of rubbish. There was some pressure from my label to do something in that vein but I just knew it wasn't right. After 'Shake' I thought to myself, hang on - you can actually make pop-dance music that is exciting. And it can be drawn from influences I like, it doesn't have to be the same as all the other stuff. And it just so happened that around that time I started pushing my DJing a bit more and, since then, I've been doing it all over the world pretty regularly. It has made me understand dance music a bit more, how it functions. With some stuff you wouldn't really listen to it at home but then when you get to the club, that's where the magic happens, you know? DJing has definitely taught me a lot and made me keep up to date with all the latest stuff as well as going back and finding out about rare disco stuff that I didn't know I had. All those influences just sort of came together organically.

Are you prepared to talk about what happened with your former label, 679?

Umm... to a degree, yeah.

OK. The first couple of post-Hands releases obviously still came out on 679 but you've indicated via Twitter that you'd been sitting on new material that was ready to come out for ages and that, if it was up to you, you'd have brought it out much sooner. You then ended up parting ways with 679 last year -

Well, 679 isn't really there anymore. The main guy who was my A&R for a long time has gone off to set up a new company. So that was a huge deal. 679 were the ones who actually got me and who understood me. They signed me from my very first band and I had a long relationship with them. And I think, without that as a buffer there, it left me with Atlantic and [pauses] I didn't really see eye to eye with them, ever. I just don't think they ever really got me as an artist. They jumped on the project and got involved when they thought - oh, hang on, there's quite a lot of Youtube hits on this. So, I don't think that would have worked out anyway, without 679 there.

It just got frustrating because they didn't know what they wanted and I was trying to please them all the time. All the songs that I've got were all written over a year ago. Well, all the songs on the album, at any rate. And it was just frustrating trying to get Atlantic to understand the material and get them excited about it. Without them green-lighting it for me, you know, I couldn't do it. At some point I just wanted to leak the whole album online. Everyday I was getting fans saying "where's the album? where's the album?" and it was, like, oh my god it's on my computer! It was such a frustrating time for me, as much as it was for those guys.

You know, I'm not going to whine about it - it wasn't anyone's fault or some big bad person's doing. It was just hard - you know, the classic major label A&R don't-know-what-they-want-even-when-they-hear-it type of thing. I mean, 'Toxic' got turned down three times before someone put it out, you know? It's a shame, because I wish someone had the faith in me when I said I wanted to do this record with Tim Goldsworthy and that it was going to be wicked.

But in the end I just had to go and do it on my own. I got sick of somebody spending all my money and not telling me how they were spending it and then taking anything I earned. It was like a really mean parent who wouldn't give you any of the pocket money they'd promised you. And I just wanted money to invest in my live show and put the album out. But I was in a crappy 360º deal that I got signed on because I was in a band with them before so I was kept in contract and it was a rubbish deal. I wasn't getting anything out of it and they weren't getting anything out of it. It was just not working. I was one of the guinea pigs for those kinds of deals and it just didn't function.

Ultimately, it's been really, really good for me, though, because I think that if I'd stayed in that environment I would have constantly tried to please somebody else and not trust in myself and when I decided to part ways with them, I had to trust myself and had to get the confidence to go with my gut instinct. And that was the point when I listened to all the songs I had and I thought to myself: there's some great pop songs here but the direction is all over the place. I need to seize it now and take control of it. That's why, although the album was originally supposed to come out in October, I pushed it back to this year so I could re-record everything with Tim. And it was a big decision and a hard one to make but I think, ultimately, it paid off.

And you've set up your own label, On Repeat, which will distribute the album via Kobalt.

Yeah and Kobalt are so brilliant and artist-friendly. Everything is so transparent and they totally get it. I think more and more people are going to be doing it like this. They're putting the Pet Shop Boys album next and they've just put out the Nick Cave album. They really know what they're doing. This way allows me to keep control of everything. I mean, don't get me wrong - it's scary and it's more work than I anticipated but I think that for me, as an artist, I know who I am and where I am at now and I know that I can do this, whereas before I just didn't have the confidence to trust myself. And maybe that was part of the problem.

Was it then easy getting Atlantic to agree to license the copyright in the sound recordings for 'Shake' and 'Every Night'?

Yeah, I mean, we didn't part ways in a particularly bad way. It was like - look, I want to put this album out, you don't get it so that's not going to work, is it? I'm not sitting around any longer waiting around for you to get it. Because you're not going to. I don't know [she sighs] - maybe if I'd done something like Ed Sheeran they'd have been happy. But, you know, I've jut got to be true to myself. I've got a lot more confidence now and I am less worried about pleasing people and about what people expect of me. All my favourite artists are doing things this way and are independent. They've got opinions, they've got a direction and ideas and they just do it. And they have control. And those are the kinds of people who I respect and admire so I just thought - why am I not doing that? If you look at someone like Robyn who basically did what I am doing now - she did that years ago and she absolutely killed it. It's weird making something, doing something creative, which requires so much of your emotion and personal input and then letting someone else take control of it and balls it up half the time, you know? I mean, maybe I'll balls it up but at least it'll be me getting it right or getting it wrong.

You were talking about wanting to leak the album yourself earlier. About a week or so before the announcement of Nocturnes, a bunch of unreleased demos including the demo for 'Beat Beat' [our favourite choice for next single, incidentally] leaked online. On the basis that it's only hardcore fans who are likely to bother finding these songs, are you concerned about the leak?

I was when I first heard about it, especially as it was so close to the announcement of the album. It's the last thing that you want. But when I thought about it, it's pretty hard to track those things anyway and, at the end of the day, I'm not embarrassed about any of the songs that are out there and, in fact, some people have sent me some really nice messages about the songs. As it's probably only the fans who are listening to them, I guess it's not the end of the world. I mean, I would never release any of those songs in that format, they'd all need to be produced up. But, yeah, I guess you can't stop those things. If people are enjoying them, then that's a good thing.

That's a positive attitude!

I mean, I'm not condoning leaking music or illegally downloading it. If any of the new stuff was to leak I'd be really annoyed. I would be heartbroken if the album leaked before release.

Are any of the songs that leaked likely to be reworked in the future?

Possibly. I'm not entirely sure what actually leaked. It's annoying because I think there were some good ones...

Apparently (ahem!) there's one called 'Antarctica', which sounds like Kylie's next amazing single-

I think that one needs to be on the soundtrack of a crazy Disney film or something like that [laughs]. Something very dramatic. I might re-record some of them. I know that a bunch of them are probably pitched for other people. I've got about 40 or 50 songs from the album sessions out of which I've circled the ones that I would definitely like to re-record because I do want to do some recording this year and hopefully get a new EP out or even get another album, as soon as possible, really, so that I'm not hanging around again. Now that I feel more in charge and I've got my own label. I know my publishers have them and they're seeing if some of them might go anywhere else. You never know, a track might be lying around for ages and then somebody might come and say: 'oooh, I really want this song'.

Have you done much song-writing for other artists?

Yeah. I'm doing more and more, actually. Recently, I've been doing stuff like going in with artists for sessions, writing especially for people, which is really cool. It's nice not having to worry whether it's me enough or whether it's reflective of where I am at right now. I've been co-writing with A*M*E. We've just done a really cool song together. She's got a wicked voice. I've also done a song with Richard X for the new Annie EP or album. It sounds much better with her singing it than me [laughs].

What's the song called?

Oh, god, I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about it. Well, no, I guess, why not! I used to be so safe in interviews, I don't care anymore, I'd rather not be boring. Ummm... it's called 'Bring It Back Together' and it's really good!

Will it be coming out soon?

Well, apparently. But, then again, I've been hearing that an Annie album was going to be coming out maybe longer than my album [laughs] but I hope that it does because it sounds wicked. I was really impressed.

You've named your label On Repeat. I hear that your biggest pet hate is being asked why 'Stuck On Repeat' was never released as a proper single from Hands -

It's probably my second biggest pet hate after being asked 'why are you named Little Boots' and why Captain Beefheart is an influence on me [laughs]. Wikipedia nonsense. But… umm, yeah it probably should have been a single.

Do I sense another label-related incident?

Yeah, it was another of their ace decisions.

Ok-

I mean, it wasn't me going 'oh, no, we're not doing it as a single!' We did put it out on a white label. Also, I didn't like the mix on the album. I think it lost what was special about it in the shiny pop mix on the album. But you live, you learn. Wow, I'm being so honest.

We're not complaining!

You caught me on a good day. I'm being very honest today!

What's going to be the next video from the album?

It'll be for 'Broken Record'. I've filmed it but I'm not going to say too much until I've seen it.

Finally, do you have a favourite lyric from the record?

Ooh, that's a good question. Umm… I'm not sure. My mind's gone blank. I guess… I like the bit on 'Broken Record', the self-referential "stuck on repeat" bit. That's one of the things I've always loved about Blondie and how Debbie Harry used to refer to Blondie songs in other songs. So I like that I managed to get a self-referential lyric in there.


Nocturnes is released on 6 May on On Repeat via Kobalt.