Elly Jackson, or La Roux as she goes by in the music industry, known for her first single ‘In For The Kill’ reaching number two in the UK charts, and the follow-up ‘Bulletproof’ going to number one, has released a new studio album titled ‘Trouble in Paradise’.
Her popularity has grown quickly, but as with all overnight success, the La Roux sound took time to evolve. Music was always an escape, a way of expressing herself, and Elly started writing songs on guitar when she was 13, influenced by singers her parents played, like Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake. But she didn’t find an identity of her own until she was 17 and discovered clubbing, dancing, and the endless possibilities of electronic music. Evidently, it was a sound the world was ready for. In total, La Roux sold more than six million singles worldwide, and over two million copies of her eponymous debut album. The record was released in the US a year later, winning the Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance album in 2011. As a result, Elly ended up touring or promoting for two years virtually non-stop, and afterwards she needed to take some time out to relax, and learn how to take care of herself better. ‘I really enjoyed touring,’ she says. ‘But it happens so fast, it spirals and you don’t have time to process it all. And then it catches up with you.’
So when it came to making the new album, she took her time. ‘I wanted to create something more special, to take myself up a level,’ she says. ‘I also wanted to play pretty much everything as I did on the first record, but there was more complicated instrumentation this time, and it took me a while to get to grips with some of it.’ In the process, Elly realized she was moving in a different direction, creatively, from Ben Langmaid, her collaborator on the first album, and eventually she decided to record the album with Ian Sherwin taking over production. ‘There was a general concept that Ian and I connected strongly on and discussed at length, which was the idea of what people in the 70s thought the future would look and sound like,’ she says.
‘Trouble In Paradise’ is slightly different from La Roux’s previous work. It is all about the darkness lurking behind the most beautiful tune, the doubts in even the happiest of relationships, and trouble in all its forms, whether it’s the riots in Brixton, the part of south London she still calls home (Uptight Downtown); conflict between couples (Cruel Sexuality, Kiss And Not Tell); or cheeky stories like Sexoteque. ‘It’s about a bloke who can’t stop going to sex clubs, inspired by a club I saw when I was on tour in Montreal. I just thought the name was brilliant’. It’s a less personal album this time round, more mature and ambitious, but also more playful in its subject matter. But though the lyrics are important to Elly, it’s in the music that she tells her real stories. ‘When I listen to the Young Americans album, for instance, I don’t listen to Bowie’s vocal, particularly,’ she says. ‘It’s the music that really gets me, the way the parts play off each other, it’s the syncopation, the playfulness of it. Or in a Tom Tom Club track, where you hear a little noise and it actually makes you laugh because it’s got so much character. ‘That’s why I chose to do slightly extended versions of the tracks. It means I get to explore the music of that song a lot more, I get to do a lot more. This time round, I really wanted to let the music do the talking.’
To hear and purchase La Roux’s ‘Trouble in Paradise’, please click here.