La Roux is a talented British synthpop band that knows a good beat when they hear one. Made up of two musically talented (and 80s-loving) individuals—Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid—this fierce duo definitely knows what it’s like to be on top of the music industry.
With the success of their hit song ‘Bulletproof,’ there is no telling where this creative and original band will go. Since La Roux is definitely on the cutting edge of music and fashion, we wanted to ask a few questions to Elly Jackson about music, inspiration and, of course, trends. Check it out below!
1. How did you first get involved in music?
I’ve been playing music and writing songs since I was really young, I grew up with a lot of music around me at home. My dad played the guitar and the piano and taught me when I was little.
2. What motivates you to continue working in the music industry?
The music industry is a very difficult place to be at the moment. It’s in flux, and the way it functions is pretty depressing. No artist can prepare themselves for what it’s really like either. I want to keep making music that is honest and emotional and different from the ubiquitous ‘in the club’ dance stuff that’s everywhere at the moment. I am getting really sick of it, and so is everyone else, but as long as it makes money things won’t change.
3. What is an important trend you are seeing in the music industry?
There are quite a lot of one hit wonders, and I literally can’t tell one track from another when I listen to the radio. Like I said before, it’s all this ‘in the club’ stuff and it’s just chart fodder. No record label has the time or money to develop an artist over the course of a couple of albums anymore, or take a risk with anything different or original. There are so many songs on the radio that sound the same. Also, older artists are sidelined when its slightly older artists who’ve actually lived and experienced things. I can’t get my head round this obsession with shoving 15yr olds on to a stage when they’ve had very little life or emotional experience. I think its irresponsible. The end result is that listeners have no attention span or loyalty to an artist. It used to be that, as a fan, you would invest emotionally in an artist and feel personally connected to them and nothing could stand in the way of that. The problem is that there is actually very little out there that people can genuinely relate to at the moment. Look up the top ten in 1984 and the top ten now and you’ll see what I mean.
4. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Me and Ben (the other half of La Roux) have always used personal experiences as inspiration for our songs. We spend a lot of time talking about situations or things that have happened to us, and it tends to go from there. Musically, our first record was largely inspired by 80s acts such as Blancmange, Heaven 17 and Depeche Mode. We also listened to a lot of modern electro like The Knife. Our second record will take more from Disco, have fewer synths and more live instruments.
5. Do you have any rituals to reset yourself to be creative?
No, I need to be relaxed and focused though. You can’t concentrate on making music if your phone keeps ringing! I find it difficult to write on tour because of all the distractions.
6. How do you spot trends?
I don’t actively seek out trends, the total opposite in fact. I’d rather do something or wear something that wasn’t fashionable. Although sometimes however hard you try you realise you are part of a trend and there’s no escaping it! Basically, trends are how you end up looking and sounding like everyone else. It’s fine to start them, but don’t follow them. For instance, I’ve been wearing huge cameo necklaces for about 3 years now. Last week, I went up in to town to go shopping and everywhere I looked there were cameo necklaces, brooches, shoes, rings, hairbands. On everything!
7. What are your most important hobbies?
Um, I don’t really have ‘hobbies.’ I make music but that’s my job now, not really a hobby. I see my friends, watch TV, go to the cinema and theatre and stuff but they’re not exactly dedicated hobbies like stamp collecting or anything! I just bought a house so I guess my current hobby is buying antique furniture. I’m really enjoying it.
8. What other artist(s) do you admire and why?
I really admire artists like Prince and David Bowie, for being such incredible musicians and pop stars in the truest sense of the word. They have such a strong impact both musically and visually. I love the fact that you know so little about their personal lives too. That makes them intriguing. A pop star should have an air of mystery around them and always leave the audience wanting to find out more. And they still manage to do that, decades after their first records were released.
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