La Roux Biography
Their music is influenced by 1980s synthpop including Yazoo, Depeche Mode, The Human League, Heaven 17, and Blancmange. The band's name originates from Jackson's red hair and French heritage; she has said
To me, it means “red-haired one” – and it does, vaguely. It’s just a male version of “red-haired one”, which I think is even cooler, because I’m well androgynous anyway. So it kind of makes sense.
Elly Jackson's first interest in music revolved around folk music. She was particularly interested in Carole King and Nick Drake whom she discovered in her parents' record collection. (Her mother is Trudie Goodwin, who rose to fame playing June Ackland on long-running police series The Bill.) Jackson's early musical material consisted of folk ditties informed by Joni Mitchell. Her taste in music changed during her mid-teens when she became involved in the melodic death-metal scene.
Jackson has been linked to a pop music trend that features androgynous twenty-something women with a strong individualistic attitude. She has cited musicians David Bowie, Madonna, Max Cavalera, Prince , The Knife and actor David Schwimmer as her influences. She co-designs her own clothing with her pet dog, Snappy. Jackson is unhappy with what she perceives as a "normality" fashion trend among a majority of today's musical acts. Her clothing and hair style which has been compared to the 1980s group Flock of Seagulls is being imitated by young men in London.
Jackson has been critical of other musicians. She feels that a culture of positivity has lowered standards. Reacting to the polarization her remarks have caused, Jackson noted that she makes a distinction between a person's work and how they are as a person.
Ben Langmaid is the second half of La Roux, who partakes in all live performances with the band. Langmaid, a London-based producer and composer has been involved with various other music projects in the past. He has a close association with Rollo Armstrong of Faithless; the two musicians went to the same school and later collaborated as Huff & Puff in the mid 90s, releasing the house single 'Help Me Make It' in 1996. Langmaid also recorded as Atomic and was one half of Huff & Herb before contributing as a songwriter to indie band Kubb's debut album 'Mother', released in 2005. This project was again linked to Rollo Armstrong; Kubb's frontman Harry Collier was introduced to Langmaid after Collier sang Happy Birthday to Armstrong whilst working as a waiter in a North London organic cafe. Langmaid turned down the offer of a permanent position in Kubb.
Michael Norris (Keyboards and Computers) "Mikey" is a London-based musician and is one of two keyboard players that support La Roux on their tours and live dates. A native of the Chester area in Cheshire, UK, Norris studied music at University, joining La Roux shortly after graduating from a music degree.
Mickey O'Brien (Keyboards and Backing Vocals) Mickey has been playing with La Roux for 18 months, touring Europe and North America. Although her voice is unheard on the album, Mickey performs backing vocals during song performances; namely Bulletproof, As If By Magic and Armour Love. She is also known as "Ladyburden" and owns a MySpace page with her own songs. Mickey is currently in a long-term relationship with British actor Jim Sturgess.
William Bowerman (Drums) Ex-drummer of "I Was a Cub Scout," an Indie alternative band from Lincolnshire/Nottinghamshire.
In 2006 Jackson and Langmaid were introduced by a mutual friend. Their first project was named "Automan" and they wrote largely acoustic music.
La Roux's first single, "Quicksand", was released by independent record label Kitsuné Music in December 2007. They then signed to Polydor Records in order to release their debut album.
La Roux's second single "In for the Kill" was released on 16 March, 2009, and prominent dubstep producer Skream has created a remix of the track as well as one being made by Lifelike. "In for the Kill" debuted at number 11 in the UK Singles Chart on 22 March 2009, peaking at number 2 to date. Bulletproof was released on the 22 June 2009 and debuted at # 1 in the UK Singles Chart.. The song was released on 11 August, 2009 in the United States and topped the Dance/Club Play chart the week of September 17. I'm Not Your Toy was released on September 29th On the 10th September, Elly confirmed in a magazine interview that As if By Magic would be the 5th track from the album to be released as a single.
In order to promote La Roux, the band were the supporting act on Lily Allen's UK tour of March 2009. La Roux headlined the Samsung NME Radar Tour 2009 and played alongside Magistrates, Heartbreak and Megadeth. They were scheduled to perform at the Glastonbury, Reading, Oxegen and Leeds festivals as well as the Scala, Southend Chinnerys and Coventry Kasbah venues. In July and August 2009 La Roux toured North America. The 8 city tour included performances at the Montreal Osheaga Festival, All Points West Festival, and the Lollapalooza event. On 23 July the group performed on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show. The group will return to North America for a 7 date tour in October. The group sold out their two Australian dates within minutes forcing an upgrade in venues. November will see the duo embark on an 11 date United Kingdom and Ireland tour. La Roux gained fifth position on the BBC's Sound of 2009 poll. The Guardian website featured La Roux on their new band of the day column. The Guardian also featured La Roux as one of the "Best New Acts of 2009" in the January of that year. The album has been nominated for a Mercury Prize.
La Roux plans to wait until they finish touring, which will be well into 2010 before doing major work on a second album. They do not want to rush things and plan on bringing in a big name producer.
On 7 December La Roux is scheduled to duet with the New Wave group Heaven 17 on the 6 Music Live Combos show. Heaven 17 keyboardist Martyn Ware remarked that "We really like their attitude towards pop writing, and we’re also fans of Elly’s voice."
La Roux were scheduled to start writing material for their second album during Christmas 2009 at their manager's home. Jackson said, "I think there will be a natural instrument or two on there though, which will make a change from the first record." She added that due to limited time, she did not think there would be "anything in terms of a second record for a while".
As of January 2011, La Roux were writing their second album with a somewhat established indie rock band whose members are friends of Jackson. Jackson told the NME, "I know I'm not going to stop writing until we've got songs that can compete on the same level as 'In For The Kill' and 'Bulletproof'".
In January 2012, Jackson described the second album as "a lot cheekier. Not "Touch My Bum" cheeky or Carry On cheeky—just slightly suggestive [...] A lot of music that's quite sexual is aggressive, but the music itself doesn't sound sexy—it's more people shouting, 'Look at my bum! Look!' I'm not turned on by it, I'm terrified." She also noted she feels a lot of pressure to replicate the quality of the duo's debut album.
Unlike the first album, album two will draw more on acoustic sounds and instruments, including guitars, organs and percussion; however, analog and digital synthesizers will still feature as part of the overall sound. Jackson has confirmed she will be playing instruments on the record, in addition to co-writing, co-producing and providing vocals.
La Roux started a low-key comeback tour on 28 March 2013 in Brighton with two more venues in Bristol and Coventry during the following week. It was confirmed via a copy of the setlist that there are four new songs: "Uptight Downtown", "Kiss and Not Tell", "Sexoteque" and "Tropical Chancer". Early reactions to the new material have so far been positive.
Trouble in Paradise (2014–present)
Proof of a new album surfaced on 21 March 2014, when Tim Jonze, music columnist for The Guardian, tweeted that he "heard the new La Roux album yesterday and it was bloody brilliant." The official La Roux page responded with "Thanks!" On 8 April 2014, La Roux announced their second studio album, Trouble in Paradise, will be released on 7 July 2014, preceded by new single "Let Me Down Gently" as premiered on BBC Radio 1 on 12 May 2014.