La Roux is a British electro / pop duo. They rose to fame in 2009, when they were selected as part of the BBC's annual 'Sound of.' poll. The female pop singer Little Boots won the overall vote. La Roux is comprised of Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid. The band has cited Heaven 17, Yazoo and The Human League as influences.
Formation:Elly Jackson was born on 8th March 1988, to the actress Trudie Goodwin (aka June Ackland in the Bill). Elly grew up in Herne Hill, London and was bullied at school, to the point where she almost left at the age of eight.
Jackson's love of music stemmed from listening to the likes of Nick Drake and Carole King, which she found in her parents' record collections. Whilst studying at Tabor Academy in the USA, she experimented with both folk and electronic music. Elly Jackson started a degree at the University of Nottingham but left in order to follow her music career.
On a personal level, Elly Jackson has referred to Molly Ringwald, Madonna and Annie Lennox as influences on her style. Her haircut has been compared to the hairstyles of the 1980s pop band A Flock of Seagulls.
Ben Langmaid is a London-based producer. He has previously worked with Rollo Armstrong of Faithless. Ben and Rollo attended the same school together and they formed an act called Huff & Puff in the 1990s.
Langmaid has also used the pseudonyms Atomic and Huff & Herb.
The other touring members of La Roux include Michael Norris on keys and computers, William Bowerman on drums and Mickey O'Brien on keys and backing vocals. O'Brien also performs as Ladyburden.
Career: Langmaid and Jackson were introduced by a mutual friend in 2006. Their first project was called Automan and consisted mainly of acoustic music.
La Roux's first single, 'Quicksand' was originally released by Kitsune Music. The band were then signed to Polydor Records, who released their debut album.
The second single from La Roux was 'In For The Kill'. Released in March 2009, Skream's remix of the single also became hugely popular. Polydor then released 'Bulletproof' as a single, before releasing the album, entitled La Roux.
In March 2009, La Roux were chosen as the main tour support on Lily Allen's tour. They also headlined the NME Radar Tour, supported by Magistrates, Heartbreak and The Chapman Family.
When La Roux went to America, they performed live on The Jimmy Kimmel Live show.
The album La Roux was nominated for the 2009 Mercury Music Prize, along with The Horrors, Kasabian, Bat For Lashes and Florence and the Machine. They lost out to Big Dada's new signing Speech Debelle.
Ben Langmaid has made his feelings on his replacement very clear
It all started when Elly Jackson of La Roux fame answered a question on Kanye West by saying: "No, f*ck him. Nobody likes him." Actually, it seems like it all started when Jackson showed her erstwhile collaborator some disco tracks while producing the follow up album, ‘Trouble in Paradise’. Either way, there’s bad blood.
Hey, it's La Roux
Langmaid seems to have stirred the proverbial pot of faeces by declaring his love for Kanye on Twitter, flying directly in the face of Jackson’s comments. Whatever your opinions on Kanye, it’s clear that at least a few people do actually like him. But that’s not really what Langmaid was getting at, we presume.
Since the departure of producer Ben Langmaid, synth-pop duo La Roux is now the solo project of Elly Jackson, who is finally back five years after their well-acclaimed 2009 self-titled debut. The new single is 'Uptight Downtown', taken from upcoming album 'Trouble In Paradise' (out 7th of July, via Polydor). So how does Jackson sound on her own?
From the get go, it's clear that this song takes a more 70s-influenced disco sound as opposed to the more 80s synth-pop La Roux is known for, due to the funky rhythm section and lavish use of guitars. Despite the change in sound though, there's still a distinct La Roux vibe to it; it proves Jackson's unmistakable vocals are capable of being sassy and fun as well as soulful and emotional.
In terms of the lyrics on this song, they're nothing amazing, but there's a strong theme of escapism: 'I can only ask myself, oh where are you all going, and won't you take me with you too, where all the sirens are blaring'. These lyrics in particular help build up to the incredibly catchy chorus that sees Jackson hitting sensually long notes as she sings 'It's all the way downtown' before the echoing effect of 'temperature is rising, is rising'.
Continue reading: La Roux - Uptight Downtown Single Review
Review of La Roux live at Warehouse Project Manchester on September 21st 2009
Continue reading: La Roux, Warehouse Project Manchester, 21st September 09 Live Review