British synth-pop perfectionist Little Boots had a specific mood in mind for her new sophomore effort, “Nocturnes,” and its New Order-ish percolators such as “Motorway,” “Broken Record” and “Beat Beat” with its telltale line “Every night that you’re sleeping/I stay awake until dawn.”
“It’s got a real nocturnal feel,” says the keyboardist, born Victoria Hesketh. “But even though it’s dark, there are still fun songs like ‘Beat Beat,’ where you’re getting ready to go out. So it’s really more of a
full-spectrum experience of the night.”
Hesketh, who plays The City on Friday, is writing what she knows. After the release of her 2009 debut, “Hands,” her recording contract fell apart, and — with no tour dates scheduled — she wound up going stir-crazy, locked away in the studio.
So she hit the road in a whole new guise: Little Boots, the professional DJ who began rocking nightclubs all over the world. Everything she learned in the DJ booth she put right back into “Nocturnes.”
Hesketh’s platter-spinning career started innocently enough in her early days in London.
“I was really broke, and my manager got me a gig DJing in a pub,” she says. “Honestly, I didn’t have a clue how to DJ at the time, so I had to learn on the job. But then I started putting more time into it, and actually studying it, and I started enjoying it a lot more.”
Soon, she was jetting off to DJ bookings in Berlin; Osaka, Japan; Ibiza, Spain; even China and South America. “It really became this kind of therapy,” she says.
Some modern DJs store tunes on laptops, some on vinyl. Hesketh preferred CDs, which she purchased herself in once-a-month spending sprees. Given her friendship with English electronic bands and producers, she was constantly being slipped exclusive tracks. She even premiered works in progress from “Nocturnes” at clubs, just to gauge the reaction.
“I’m not the most technical DJ in the world, I’m not doing anything really crazy,” Hesketh admits. “It’s more about just picking good songs and being able to tell what the crowd needs at certain times.”
But she hasn’t lost sight of herself as a performer. “For me, even the best DJ gig in the world won’t be as good as my live show,” she says. “But DJing is fun. It’s like going to a party where you get to pick all the music!”