“I like my pop music a little bit weird,” says FEMME. “I like it to challenge, to push the envelope a little bit – not just repeat what’s gone before.” Fans of the Midlands-born, London-based singer and producer will be well aware of her individual take on pop, from her retro-futuristic 2016 album Debutante , and her genre-bending collaboration with Radiohead super-producer Nigel Godrich as Ultraista. But her latest material is perhaps her most forward-thinking yet. As she puts it, “I love to just keep moving.”
The newly released video for the track also fits that description, and has an unusual inspiration.”Like most of my best ideas they usually come to me in the middle of night deep in a cheese dream. With a habit of cooking up big ideas on DIY budgets, I knew we had to find a clever way of getting the heat into the video without setting everything on fire. With that in mind we arrived at this dystopian chili pepper eating competition. Director Ben Mahon took this initial idea and ran with it and together I think we’ve created one of my best videos to date. The lyrics of the song are about picking a fight and squaring up to a challenge, letting the world know you’re not about to be steamrolled – it’s cheeky and a little bit twisted. Just like the video.”
Growing up in Rugby, FEMME – real name Laura Bettinson – learned piano, and devoured the “massive female voices” passed on to her by her parents and grandparents: Doris Day, Dusty Springfield, Aretha Franklin, and Carole King. As a teenager, that love merged with an ear for indie bands and catchy melodies, including anything from Smashing Pumpkins to Sean Paul. By the time she was studying Popular Music at London’s Goldsmiths University, she discovered performance artists like Laurie Anderson and Klaus Nomi, and delved into the back catalogue of Bjork. From all this, she emerged as an artist with several sides: performer, producer, writer, voice.
Bettinson first decided to learn how to create electronic loops live when it became too much of a nuisance to drag her keyboard to the pub gigs she played while at university. From there, she learned how to produce her own songs in Logic, and it quickly became the backbone of her writing process. Her earliest music was released under the name Dimbleby & Capper, a moniker she conceived of as a way to remain enigmatic, but also to hint at the duality of her role as both producer and singer.