Interview: La Roux

Unless you've been hiding in a soundproof room these last few months you've probably heard of La Roux, as they're currently occupying an enviable position of being somewhere between the next big thing and the current big thing. We recently caught up with Elly from the band and asked her all about the forthcoming album, her love of the 80s, and lots more. Here's what she told us.

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First published May 2009

Congratulations on the massive success of 'In For The Kill'. Had you prepared yourself for having such a hit on your hands?

Definitely not. Ben and I have always felt like it could be a big song but we released it as a set-up single and were very happy with that. We spoke about being happy if it made it into the top 40, so for it to reach number two was a lovely surprise. We certainly never expected it to be as well received as this and I don't think anyone else did either.

The Skream remix of 'In For The Kill' is also massively popular. How did that come about?

Basically we wanted a remix that showed a whole other side to the track and [that] would attract a different demographic. Having an electro/house remix wouldn't have done us any favours so we thought about other avenues, and dubstep seemed to be the outcome. It's a massive scene at the moment and one the original could probably never penetrate. Skream is obviously one of the biggest names in the genre and we love his stuff so Seb Chew at the label asked him if he'd do it and he kindly said yes.

How did it feel to be in everyone's "Ones To Watch" list? Do you think that has helped you gain exposure and popularity?

Of course. In terms of it correlating to record sales, it's a load of tripe though. It's almost as ridiculous as having Mystic Meg give her musical predictions of the year. How can you possibly know what the sound of 2009 is until 2009 is over? Ridiculous.

You have said that you want to bring back the spirit of 80s pop. What is it about the 80s that appeals to you so much? Are the fashion and music inextricably linked?

Fashion and music have always gone hand in hand. Fashion seems to have been missing from music for a long time. The 90s have a lot to answer for. I think it will always be known to me as the "casual wear decade", khaki, baggy trousers and vest tops. Fashion is definitely coming back though, the glamour and drama is returning to pop music and I think this is evident with acts like Lady GaGa and Patrick Wolf.

Would you like to time travel back there or are you happy enough with the retro thing that's going on right now?

I'm happy with living in my time: not everything in the 80s was great, obviously. Living now allows me to pick out the best bits. I just wish people didn’t have such a stigma about anything remotely influenced by the 80s. They seem to have a novelty factor that a lot of people can't take seriously as an influence. It's all leg warmers and Erasure for some. But I see it like indie bands see the 60s and 70s. For some reason it's ok to be influenced by those decades, but not the 80s.

It's not that well publicised that there are two of you in the band. Why the contrast between your profiles?

Ben hates all the other stuff that comes with making music: photoshoots, TV appearances etc. I think if musicians had it their way we would all like to stick to being in the studio and doing live gigs but it doesn't work like that unfortunately. The songs are about my life and it has always been an unspoken understanding that this is how it would play out. I think it makes sense. Also, he doesnt play an instrument. Neither of us would call ourselves keyboardists outside of the studio so he would have very little to do on stage, bar getting some maracas and fulfilling a Bez-style role! He will come out of the woodwork at some point to talk about the music in interviews and keep me company, but if he did that now people would just wonder why he wasn't on stage or in shoots. It would be more confusing.

The album's out at the end of the month. How does/did it feel to have that all sewn up? Are you excited about unleashing it to the public and critics?

It feels great to be finished, it's been a long time coming. I'm looking forward to seeing how it does and performing it. I'm particularly looking forward to how people will react to the slower, more vulnerable tracks on the album. I think a lot of people wont be expecting that.

You're playing at festivals all over Europe this summer. Any you're particularly looking forward to? Who will you be sticking around to watch?

I can't wait to go to Sonar as I have heard so much about it and it will be nice to spend time at a festival that's not totally freezing. But Bestival is something I look forward to all year and it will be the last of the summer so I'll be able to "enjoy" myself. I will be sticking around for both of those and hopefully a couple of days at Glastonbury too.

Are you a fan of acts like Passion Pit and Empire of the Sun and is it a good thing having other synth-pop outfits riding the charts with you?

Of course, no one likes to be alone. I like both of them. In fact I think I'm doing a small tour with Passion Pit later this year which will be good fun. It can only be a good thing to have other bands doing a similar thing, that's how movements happen.

Would you mind giving us your top five tracks that you are into right now that we should check out?

Not at all:

1. 'Candy Castle' by Glass Candy
2. 'Smalltown Boy' by Bronski Beat
3. 'Everybody Wants To Rule The World' by Tears For Fears.... Which I just noticed sounds a lot like the 'Fireman Sam' theme tune...
4. 'What's On Your Mind' by Information Society
5. The Fever Ray album in general.

Preview and download music by La Roux