Hailing from the supposedly sunny city of Brighton, Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell are the two founding – well, the two only – members of Blood Red Shoes. Armed with just a guitar and drums respectively, they still manage to make an impressive amount of riotous punk-inspired noise. Citing influences such as Fugazi, Babes in Toyland and Nirvana to name but a few, Laura-Mary describes their songs as “heavy sounding loud music with sweet melodies” – a point proven with their exceptional debut Box of Secrets. Now two years on they’re back with a brand new album, Fire Like This, due for release on March 1st and coinciding with a UK tour. I asked guitarist and vocalist Laura-Mary a few questions about the band’s beginnings, and where they’re headed.
“Steven and I were in different bands before Blood Red Shoes and used to play on the same circuits. We met at a show in London and started emailing each other. It was soon clear that we had similar tastes and musical influences. We also shared a trait of being control freaks when it came to our bands, and we both had a lot of ambition. After emailing for a year or so, we finally got round to making some music – I got the train to Brighton for a jam and we never looked back. We didn’t even feel the need to get any more members.”
Cue the release of impressive singles such as ‘ADHD’ and ‘You Bring Me Down’ in 2006, paving the way for Box of Secrets in 2008. They also built up a reputation for pulling off notable live performances, which saw them gain slots at major festivals such as Reading and Leeds, and Glastonbury, as well as touring with various bands – Laura-Mary describes supporting Rage Against the Machine in Paris as the most memorable, mainly “cos we somehow pulled it off.”
This year though they’re looking forward to playing new material as they tour the country. Despite sticking with the same producer (Mike Crossey) from the first record, Laura-Mary says that the band looked towards a different direction for Fire Like This. “We all had a different vision of how we wanted this record to sound. Instead of layering on loads of parts we actually took stuff away; I guess it’s kinda minimal. We spent ages getting an amazing drum sound and guitar sound. We wanted to create space within the songs and make them more ambient than the first record. We all had a better knowledge in terms of production this time and we really focused on making this record sound intimate and live. We also avoided putting too much compression on everything like most records have these days and looked to old school records that have depth the more you turn them up – so this time we recorded everything onto tape not digital.”
We really focused on making this record sound intimate and live
Previews from the forthcoming album – ‘Colours Fade’ and new single ‘Light It Up’ – sound very promising, and there is much anticipation over hearing the fresh material in a live setting. Speaking about the tour, Laura-May says “[I’m] feeling great about it – it seems like a long time since we did our own tour. We have been doing a lot of one-off shows and a support tour since we finished our last album campaign. It will be a good feeling to be playing loads of new songs too. We haven’t confirmed our support band yet, but hopefully it will be Underground Railroad. Fans can expect more of an atmospheric show and performance from us.”
And that’s not all 2010 has in store for Blood Red Shoes – there is talk of more appearances at UK festivals this summer, as well as tours in Japan and the United States. It’s clear that the band feel privileged to have so many great opportunities ahead of them – as Laura-May says, “we make a living out of doing something we love.” They have also leant support towards causes such as Love Music Hate Racism and Shelter, as well as being personally involved with selling ethical merchandise: “we feel strongly about sweatshop clothes – we only sell Fairtrade T-shirts and bags. It’s something Steven made me aware of when we started the band, and I am really glad he did.” It would appear that Blood Red Shoes really have got it made at the moment – and things are only set to get better for them over the next few months.