Blood Red Shoes
Live @ Bristol Anson Rooms
April 2, 2007
Interview & Photography: Steve Bateman
"NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW, BOY!"
is the piercing cry from Blood Red Shoes' enthralling 45, A.D.H.D. -
which by now, will have unquestionably lodged itself firmly in the hearts
and minds of many a music fan!
This blazing track, also exhibits several of the
motifs that you will find in the duo's other raw and biting songs, which
were once branded as "beautiful as they are brutal." From
their sense of urgency, to the crashing, distorted guitar riffs and
incessant drums combination. To the call-and-response vocals (sung in
their own accents) of Laura-Mary Carter (guitar) and Steven Ansell (drums).
To lyrics laced with themes such as restlessness and boredom, and interestingly,
which are sung by the band member who actually wrote them - resulting
in a recurrent abstract mash-up of thoughts and ideas.
And for two people, they make one hell of a noise
just witness one of their furious and jaw-dropping live performances
for further evidence!
Taking their name from an incident involving Ginger
Rogers, whereby the legendary American actress had to redo a tap-dance
scene for a film so many times, and danced so hard, that her white shoes
literally turned red with her own blood - the Brighton-based band are
understandably one of 2007's hotly-tipped new acts!
Having previously played in other groups who eventually
broke up - Lady Muck (Laura-Mary) and Cat On Form (Steven) - the two
friends got together in late 2004 for a jam, as Laura-Mary also wanted
to retrieve a hat that Steven had stolen from her in London! With an
instant chemistry between the pair, and with the minimal line-up enabling
a much-desired musical freedom. They quickly began playing live, toured
non-stop and issued 4 very limited edition 7" singles between 2005
and 2006 - Victory For The Magpie / Don't Always Say Yes (Jonson Family
Records), Stitch Me Back + A.D.H.D. (Try Harder Records), and You Bring
Me Down (Abeano Music).
Described by the band as "Disco Grunge,"
Blood Red Shoes' music ticks all the right boxes, not least their own
desire for it "to make people dance," and has rightfully gained
them a great deal of respect from their peers, including the likes of
Maxïmo Park, Metric, Panic! At The Disco, The Rumble Strips and
The Young Knives. Not to mention plaudits from influential Radio 1 DJs,
Zane Lowe and Steve Lamacq!
As an extremely impressed fan myself, I had the good
fortune of meeting Laura-Mary and Steven prior to their gig at Bristol
University, with the very beautiful and softly-spoken Laura-Mary (who
was about to join a Circus School before Blood Red Shoes happened),
kindly taking on today's interview after firstly making me a lovely
cup of coffee!
The duo's easy-going nature, appreciation of their
supporters, DIY punk ethic and obvious talent + hunger for what they
do, is both exemplary and commendable, and they "aren't in this
for fame and fortune - they're in this because they just always wanted
to be in a band!" Steven has also added, "We're obsessed with
blood, gore, knives, death and dancing (they once considered Flesh Eating
Mothers as a name), and we're two kids making mostly fast and loud music
to lose yourself in. We value energy, passion and honesty over any other
elements to music."
With minimum fuss and maximum impact, Blood Red Shoes'
songs are a youthful, exciting and joyous celebration of what it is
to love about music, and to be in a band making music that you love!
Or to put it another way, these are direct songs which capture the very
essence of rock 'n' roll, and what rock 'n' roll was always intended
So be prepared to fall under their spell very soon,
as this is a band that you will want to have in your life
1. For people who have an affinity with music and who really understand
it, not only can it be a sanctuary for them, but also a way of life!
Have you yourself, always felt so passionately about music?
"Yeah, and I don't think there's really anything else that either
of us were probably going to do with our lives. I remember being at
Primary School, and the first kind of music that I really got into,
was Elastica. All of my friends were kind of buying R. Kelly and stuff,
and I got an Elastica tape and everyone was taking the piss out of me
for it. But, there was just something about them. I mean they're not
one of my favourite bands now, but I do still really like them. So from
that moment onwards, I've just been completely obsessed with music really
*Laura-Mary once ran her own Fanzine*
"And like I said, I guess I always knew that I would end up doing
something in music, because it was the only thing that ever really interested
me. Everything else just seemed a bit boring (laughing)."
2. Some of Blood Red Shoes' influences include Blur, Huggy Bear,
Nirvana, The Slits, Sonic Youth and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But if you
were to compile and burn a Mix CD for me, including one of your own
songs, what would you put on there?
"Um (thinking), I would put on there
Babes In Toyland, probably
Laugh My Head Off - because it's like my favourite song (smiling)! Guns
'N Roses (laughing), You Could Be Mine. I'd probably put PJ Harvey on
there as well, but I don't know which song, because I don't know any
of the titles (laughing)! Um (thinking), there's so much to choose from
(pausing), if I was to put one of our songs on there, I would pick our
new single, It's Getting Boring By The Sea, because it's quite new and
not many people have heard it yet."
3. What posters did you have on your bedroom walls as you were growing
"Well, I wasn't really allowed any posters up on my bedroom walls
(laughing), but in my cupboard door, I had a Jared Leto poster (laughing),
because I liked him - he was in My So-Called Life and he's in the band,
30 Seconds To Mars, now. I had a Nirvana poster and Courtney Love pictures
(pausing), actually, I had a Hole poster - I just remembered (laughing)!"
4. I've read that when composing your songs, how this is "spontaneous
and you improvise until you find something that you like - that there's
a variation of lyrical themes and musical ideas, and you don't tend
to sit on straightforward structures or ways to play your instruments."
But do you think that you write in reaction to other bands and current
musical trends / stay true to yourselves?
"Yeah, and I think we never really planned to sound like anyone
else. We just kind of jam and it comes out! We have lots of inspirations,
but I don't think we're going with any trends - like if we play with
an Indie band, we're always the heavier band, but if we play with a
heavy band, we're always the quieter band! So, I don't think we fit
in anywhere really, and in that respect, it does feel like we're doing
something a bit different (smiling)."
*Steven also plays in the band Projections*
5. What has been the best thing that someone has said about Blood
"There was a recent live review in the NME, which was quite funny
- we'd played an NME Awards Show - and basically, it was about how loud
*Part of the article reads, "Stitch Me Back sounds like someone's
thrown a drumkit, 50 mallets, and a naked and shaved bassist into a
high security ward for psychopathic cannibals, and recorded the result."*
"I really liked it, but there's been quite a few actually!"
*Blood Red Shoes' Sound Engineer, Finian, who's sitting with us adds,
"It was a really off-the-wall analogy - it was very NME! Actually,
I've told Steve this, but not you (looking at Laura-Mary), but when
my band played in Norwich, the whole reason that the venue started putting
on gigs, was so that one day, their promotions company would be big
enough to book Blood Red Shoes. That's why they started to do it! So
that's like a goal which somebody else is trying to reach, because you've
"Wow, that's cool (smiling)!"
6. If you were granted one wish, what would you use it for?
"I would use it to make Steve's family OK."
7. Do you believe that rock 'n' roll is at its most interesting,
when it incorporates other musical genres and pushes boundaries?
"Not really, I think rock 'n' roll on its own can be pretty interesting.
It's not at its most interesting, but it can be! I mean any type of
musical genre can be interesting, it just depends how you do it! But,
I think rock 'n' roll in itself, can push boundaries without having
to go into other genres. Yeah (laughing)!"
8. Speaking of musical innovation, Primal Scream were deservedly crowned
as this year's NME Godlike Genius, but who for you, would also be worthy
of such an accolade?
"Um (thinking), I would like someone like the Pixies to receive
it, or Babes In Toyland
even though nobody really knows them (laughing).
They're my favourite band (smiling)!"
9. Do you think the Internet has taken away some of the mystery surrounding
"Yeah, maybe it has, but I don't think it's a bad thing, because
it's created something else, in that people now feel like they know
the bands and they can be involved with them. Like you can speak to
musicians on a personal level (pausing), it's removed that, "I'm
An Untouchable Rock Star" mentality. And, I think it's good for
people to know that we're just normal (laughing). It's nice to think
that fans can speak to bands, and that they can be in a band themselves
you know? So, I think the Internet has taken away some of the mystery,
but all for the good (smiling)!"
10. To date, you have released 4 very limited edition 7" singles
- but how did it feel to hold and play your very first pressed vinyl?
"Very good (smiling) - it was, it was great! For me, it was just
like the coolest thing ever (laughing), especially because the vinyl
is red and black! Like I didn't know, Steve kept it as a secret, so
I was really chuffed with it! I still am, everytime I see it, the first
one (smiling)! I'm like, "Ahhhhh" (laughing)!"
*I tell Laura-Mary that I've brought all of the band's 7" singles
along with me today, including Victory For The Magpie / Don't Always
Say Yes, to be signed*
"Wow, you have the first vinyl!?! There are only 300 of them and
they're going for like £60 now! You got in there at just the right
11. I know that you design all of Blood Red Shoes' record sleeves
- is art something that you've always been interested in?
"Well I went to Art School - that's kind of what I was doing before
*I ask Laura-Mary if the sleeves are typical of her style*
"Yeah, that's kind of my style I think (pausing), I don't know
really? It always ends up as an object, more than a person or a scene
or something (laughing), it's usually just like an image and that's
what we're going to carry on
so it kind of has a theme to it now
(smiling)! I like Horror Movies and I'm into Jack The Ripper stories
and stuff, so that's where the gore, blood and knives come from (laughing)!"
*In another recent online interview, Laura-Mary revealed
been reading books about Jack The Ripper ever since I can remember,
and I think I know pretty much every analysis there is to know about
him. I'm from South London, but when I was 16, I moved to East London
purely because I wanted to be nearer the crime scenes. I always wanted
to work in this pub called The Ten Bells, which is apparently where
he used to drink. I never got a job there though, not many people leave
12. There seems to be a real community amongst musicians these days
- do you think this is a healthy way of nurturing new talent?
"Yeah, there is a community, and it's weird, because everyone does
know everyone (smiling)! Like we're friends with bands through various
reasons, and they're friends with them, and they're friends with them
etc. etc. So it is like a community in a way. But it's good, it's nice!"
13. You're all for your fans as well?
"Yeah, definitely! We like to get fans up on stage, chat and just
meet new people! MySpace (www.myspace.com/bloodredshoes)
has been a good thing for us as well, because it's great to get your
music out there, and people can go on the site and listen to our songs,
and a lot of people have heard us through that. Like people living in
America, and when we played in France and Germany, people knew all of
the words and I was like, "How do you know all of the words?"
And they were like, "Oh, its MySpace." So wherever people
are in the World, they can hear you now, whereas before the Internet,
you just had to tour everywhere. But, I do think it's still good to
tour, even though it's possible for a band to have a # 1 Hit Single
without even having to play a gig anymore (laughing)! Which is a bit
14. Do you have any hobbies outside of the band?
"Well, it's all music-orientated really, like I enjoy going to
gigs! Um (thinking), I like playing Basketball (laughing), and I collect
Antiques, like Chinaware, so when I have any free time I go looking
for pieces (laughing)."
15. Is there anybody that you would love to have a drink with?
"Courtney Love (without any hesitation), just to see what she's
like (smiling)! I really, really want to get her diaries (Dirty Blonde:
The Diaries Of Courtney Love), but I haven't had the chance to yet,
because I haven't had any money recently."
*I tell Laura-Mary that I have the book, and that not only is it very
interesting, but that it's beautifully presented, in a similar vein
to the artwork for Live Through This*
"Wow, I'm definitely going to get it!"
16. Your live shows, are both cherished and celebrated for their
uncompromising nature, but what type of experience do you hope that
you give to your audience?
"Um (long pause + thinking), a good one
that's a really rubbish
answer (laughing). Sorry."
*Finian laughs hysterically*
"No (laughing), we like people to get really involved and get up
on stage, but when there's barriers, it's really difficult - we don't
like that. God, this is hard (laughing). Um (thinking), if we give our
audience a feeling of involvement and participation, and they leave
having been immersed in the show, then that would be really great!"
17. What have been some of your favourite gigs that you've attended
as a fan over the years?
"Sonic Youth at Shepherds Bush Empire is one of my favourites!
Babes In Toyland at the Mean Fiddler, which was the LA2 then. What else
(thinking)? Guns 'N Roses at Slane Castle (Use Your Illusion World Tour
1992) when I was a kid. And Cat On Form actually, at the Concorde!"
18. What's your opinion on limited edition Concert Live CDs (www.concertlive.co.uk),
whereby fans can purchase an official live recording of the gig they've
just been to, immediately after it has finished?
"I wasn't aware of those? It's really brave from an artists' point
of view (pausing), I don't know, I'm not sure? I suppose it's a good
thing to remember the gig by - you've got it there - and if it was a
really good show, then you'll have the memory of it forever and you
can always listen back to it, which would be nice. But, I hadn't heard
of them until you mentioned it."
19. How do you find life on the road / touring?
"I didn't enjoy it for a while, but I've got used to it now and
I do think it's quite fun. You get to meet lots of new people and when
you're playing every night, if a show goes a bit bad you think, "Well,
that's alright because we're playing again tomorrow." Getting to
meet other bands is a good experience, and playing so many gigs is pretty
cool, because it's what we're here to do (laughing)!"
20. Do you have any pre-stage rituals?
"I don't, but Steve eats a banana (laughing)."
21. What is the one thing that you couldn't live without?
"Coffee probably (laughing)."
22. Do you have any special memories of places you've visited, bands
you've met, or standout gigs so far?
"When we played in Norwich for the first time, at the Arts Centre,
it was great - it was just such an amazing gig! Because everyone went
really mad and we'd never even been there before. We met a really nice
lady called Annie, who we stayed with last night actually, because we
played in Norwich yesterday. That's one, and also in France, we played
in Bordeaux, which is a really special place! It was brilliant, it was
just a really good gig and everyone was really nice (pausing), actually,
the whole time in France was really good! I definitely think they would
be my favourite couple of gigs ever (smiling)!"
23. What has been your most rock 'n' roll moment to date?
"My most rock 'n' roll moment to date (giggling)? There's a few,
but Steve once peed in another band's drinks (reportedly Robots In Disguise),
as they weren't very nice to us and others at our Garage show in London.
There's another one, but I can't say it (laughing)
well, I don't
know? I've been chucking the guitar around a lot recently, and it's
pretty bad, because it's not actually my guitar, it's Steve's. But,
I threw it at his head the other day (laughing). So yeah, that was quite
rock 'n' roll (laughing)!"
24. As an unsigned band, I know that you've been patiently waiting
for the right time and the right label, before signing a record deal
- has this happened yet?
"We will be signing it in 3 days, for V2 (smiling)! It's been quite
a big decision to make, but we chose them, because it was a really good
deal and the people are really nice, and they've got a good idea of
how we work, and what we want, and who we are! I think with a lot of
labels, it's not really about that, they don't really care about what
you want. And, we weren't so keen on a major label, as I just don't
think it would suit us."
*I say congratulations on securing the deal, and wish Blood Red Shoes
great success for the future*
"Thank You (smiling)!"
25. Can you tell us what we can expect from your debut album, and
what your biggest hopes are for Blood Red Shoes long-term?
"Well, we haven't decided on a producer yet, but we're thinking
about who we'd like to work with, and the album should be out at the
end of September - that's the plan. At the moment, we're in the process
of writing songs and we'll probably be recording it just after May,
or in June sometime. So it's happening quite fast (laughing), even though
everyone's like, "When's the album out, when's the album out?"
We're going to write new songs and stuff, but some of the songs from
our 7"s will also be on there. As far as what I'd like to achieve
long-term, one of my main goals is to sell lots of albums, not because
of the money, but just because I like the idea of loads of people having
it! Playing in lots of different countries. Steve wants to meet Dave
Grohl and I want to meet Courtney Love. We want to headline somewhere
really cool, I don't know where, but somewhere (laughing). So, just
to keep going, keep playing, put a good album out and see what happens
26. Lastly, chips or cream buns?
"Cream buns I think (smiling)."
A very special thanks to Laura-Mary, Steven and to
Carl @ Coalition, for all of their time and help.
Bury your head, bare your heart
But I can't, I can't, I can't
Nothing can stop this creeping fear