Laurel Kathleen: Your record Little Red Boots is now available. What makes it “the best piece of art that you’ve created”?
Lindi Ortega: It’s kind of the record I always wanted to make. I wanted to do something a little bit more rootsy, like recordings from Sun Studios. I kind of wanted to pay homage to those types of recordings. When I was signed to Interscope we were doing more of a pop sound, and when I parted ways from that label I had free reign to do anything that I wanted to do. I kind of went full on with the alt country and old school type vibe with it. We hired some really great musicians who have played with k.d. Lang and Norah Jones. I was so lucky to be able to work with them, and I’m just proud of the songs and the record. I was very involved with the artwork, everything that went into putting it together. I put my heart and soul in to make it, and I’m so so happy to be at this point.
LK: Is that how you got the nickname “Indie Lindi”?
LO: I think somebody just called me that one day. I’ve always been an indie musician. When I first started out, I was doing everything myself: releasing records, all the artwork, all the photos myself. I still do that today. I was just indie in all respects; I didn’t hire people, I just learned how to do it myself.
LK: You describe “waiting centuries” for Little Red Boots to come out. What do you mean by that?
LO: It felt like centuries while I was working on it. It’s been a long work in progress. But suddenly, things are going at light speed. I was signed to Interscope for about a year and a half. When I parted ways, there was a bit of time in between being released from that deal and then writing the additional eight songs on Little Red Boots took about six months, then recording, then signing on Last Gang… it was all a process. Now that things are all coming together, things are moving very quickly.
LK: Tell me about the video for “Little Lie” (see above).
LO: It was fun shooting that video in a little barn house converted into a studio. We kind of took it over with some of my day of the dead stuff from my apartment that we put on the walls as props for the video. It was really cool; they really got the vibe of what I was going for. They knew that the record was supposed to have this old school feel to it, and the video reflects that.
LK: You’ve described how you visualize yourself as a superhero before you get onstage. What kinds of crimes are you fighting while you’re up there?
LO: (laughs) You know, I came across that idea in my mind when I was writing the song “Little Red Boots”: while I was writing, I just envisioned myself in a spaghetti western comic book. The red boots stem from my early love of Wonder Woman. She had red boots, and the red lipstick. I was just talking about my hairdresser about influences and we mentioned Snow White. I’m a big bird lover, I love birds, and she was this dark-haired and ruby-lipped character who sang to the birds. I think it all comes from childhood. For me, I like to spice my reality with a little bit of my own fiction. Just to make life interesting. I remember being a kid and wishing I could sustain gravity. I used to think I could do that, and so I jumped down the stairs into my basement. But I couldn’t.
LK: What’s the back story on the boots?
LO: The red boots came from Nashville. I was on a writing trip, and red is my favorite color, so I wanted to get a pair of red boots. I was into red heels at the time, and I went to Nashville and the first boot store I walked into there were these red boots and I fell in love with them. I love that city, it’s a great city. Everyone is a musician or has family that’s a musician. Karaoke is pretty intimidating there, I must admit. I went to a bar while I was there, because everywhere I go I usually sing karaoke. But Nashville is a different thing: everyone is crazy talented and a really good singer. I couldn’t do it. I had to go to a different karaoke bar! I had to go to a little dive on the outskirts of town. It’s actually going to be my base for a couple of months. I’m going to stay there and play shows in and around the area, and probably not going to a lot of karaoke bars (laughs).
LK: So what’s the next big step now that the album is out?
LO: Some songwriting, recording, in and around that area. Then I have the record coming out in the UK in September, so there will definitely be promoting over there. Then I have another stint with Brandon Flowers doing a festival run with him for a few weeks. I’ve been working at this for such a long long time, and I’ve gone through many areas of time when I thought I was just spinning my wheels and going nowhere. It’s nice to be at a point where people want to talk to me about it, and paying a little attention to me for it. I’m happy about this record and I look forward to creating more. And actually some of the players that were on the record are going to be playing at the release party, and I’m really looking forward to meeting up with them again.
Lindi Ortega's album Little Red Boots is now available on Last Gang Records. She celebrated the release with a show in her hometown of Toronto last night, but you can catch her playing shows over the next few weeks in and around that area of Canada. For more information on tickets and upcoming dates, please visit her website here or on Facebook.