Blood Red Shoes
Live @ Bristol Thekla Social
March 4, 2010
Interview & Photography: Steve Bateman

After a fine start with Box Of Secrets in 2008 – an atomic record that Blood Red Shoes toured and promoted like crazy! The Brighton-based noisemakers then wrote, road-tested and recorded new songs throughout 2009, before picking up where they left off with second album, Fire Like This, which raced out of the traps on March 1, 2010. Preceded by one of the great comeback singles, Light It Up, the duo’s new long player showed itself to be a much heavier, darker and diverse album than its predecessor, yet still populated with a subtle pop ear. And interestingly, several tracks – although snugly slotting next to each other – are almost stylistic detours and could even be seen as signposts towards possible future musical directions! Working with the producer of their debut again, Mike Crossey (at his Liverpool Motor Museum studio), Steve told The Music Fix: “He understands our sound and us as people enough, that we could push the sound further and he had similar goals to us with the record.”

And about his working relationship with Laura-Mary: “We nearly fell apart at one point, because we put so much pressure on ourselves to write the best songs in the universe and we were fighting like hell. But somehow we found our way and it was all OK. We realised that everything wasn’t a pile of shit and actually we’d come up with some stuff we really liked and was way better than the first album… We trust each other’s instincts more. Some songs I’m not too sure of, but Laura-Mary knows they’re working and kind of leads the charge and other songs vice-versa. Generally speaking, we are very united in things we DON’T want to do, even if we don’t always have the exact same vision of where to go.”The LP title, Fire Like This, is a reference to both David Lynch and to BRS’ insatiable work ethic! And by capturing their live sound (onstage is where the coupling are in their element), the band have upped their game / haven’t put a foot wrong, and are now doing what they love to do the most, as they have just begun a colossal 36-date tour! Nearly 3 years after I originally interviewed Laura-Mary in Bristol, this time around, I met up with both Laura-Mary and Steve – who are incredibly sweet, honest and unguarded – at the Thekla Social on Thursday, March 4, for an update interview. To ask them about their continued fiery passion for creating and playing riotous / feisty in-your-face music, at ear-splitting volume, along with a heap of other burning questions…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1.I first had the pleasure of interviewing you in 2007, and to begin with, I just wondered what some of your favourite memories have been since that time, and if you may have learnt anything about yourself?
Steve: “Oh My God (laughing)!”
Laura-Mary: “Oh God (laughing)! Since then, a favourite time – 2007 (thinking)?”
Steve: “OK, since we’ve done a lot of gigs, the first time we played Reading sticks in my mind…”
Laura-Mary: “Reading Festival (excitedly), yeah!”
Steve: “That was really cool! Playing with Rage Against The Machine in Paris…”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, that was definitely a big deal (smiling)! Actually, one of my other highlights, even though I thought it was a bad show for us – but it turned out that it was good – was when we played in Portugal with Nine Inch Nails and we were on like one band before them.”
Steve: “It was the biggest Festival that we’d ever played at and we were really high up on the bill!”
Laura-Mary: “It was a major Festival in Portugal, yeah, it was really good! We’ve learnt a lot since then – A LOT (laughing)!”
Steve: “Like how to play (laughing), how to write songs properly…”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah (laughing), how to write songs properly! How to say no actually, to lots of things, because we didn’t really realise that you could (pausing), I don’t know, we used to say yes to a lot of things, like people telling us what to wear…”
Steve: “I think we’ve got more fussy.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah. Now we realise that…”
Steve: “We’ve learnt that you should just basically say no to anything that anyone else suggests!”
Laura-Mary & Steve: (both laugh heartily)
Steve: “Just do what you think, or what you would naturally do anyway, because it always turns out better (laughing)!”

2.As you’ve now established yourselves as a formidable two-piece, who do you consider to be among some of the great duos of all-time?
Laura-Mary: “Ooh, great duos of all-time? God (thinking)…”
Steve: “Neu!”
Laura-Mary: “Oh yeah, Neu!”
Steve: “Neu! were a two-piece, they’re definitely a great band!”
Laura-Mary: “Lightning Bolt (laughing)!”
Steve: “Lightning Bolt for sure – it’s pretty insane!”
Laura-Mary: “They’re a ‘change your life’ type of band, but they're not a band that you can sit down to and listen to their songs…”
Steve: “It’s noise!”
Laura-Mary: “It’s really intense. It’s kind of like dance music, but they’re SO LOUD! They don’t mic anything up!”
Steve: “They play the biggest bass amp you’ve ever seen!”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, they’re amazing – like really amazing! They’re one of those bands where you just let go and it takes you to another place. Look them up on YouTube…”
Steve: “Yeah, then you’ll understand it better.”
Laura-Mary: “You’ll know what we mean then. I think they’re amazing, but I wouldn’t say that I listen to them all of the time – I do sometimes, when I’m in that kind of mood.”
Steve: “They are one of the great two-piece’s though.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, they are…”
Steve: “For sure!”
Laura-Mary: “God, I’m sure there’s loads more, I’m just trying to think…”
Steve: “I don’t know, there aren’t a lot. The Carpenters were a duo (laughing).”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, but I’m not sure I know that much about them though (laughing).”
Steve: “We once went to see Justice at a Festival…”
Laura-Mary: “Oh yeah, they’re cool! Let’s stay with those.”

3.Can you tell us about writing and recording your new songs – did you know in your minds what you wanted to achieve, and was this process different to the way you approached the making of your debut record?
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, it was definitely different compared to the first one.”
Steve: “Yeah.”
Laura-Mary: “We had a really good idea of how we kind of wanted it to be – it never comes out how you imagine, but…”
Steve: “Yeah, we had a real set (pausing), we didn’t have everything planned out for the songs, like we’d experiment a bit and try a few things out, but we had a definite idea of how the overall record should feel, that it should be more atmospheric and heavier. We had an idea of how we wanted to record it much more, like less pop than the first record and to mix the vocals quieter and to mix the guitars louder, things like that.”
Laura-Mary: “Make it a bit more stripped back…”
Steve: “Yeah, just make it more…”
Laura-Mary: “Live-sounding really.”
Steve: “Yeah, exactly!”
Laura-Mary: “But with atmosphere, which I think comes across.”

4.What’s the ratio between older / newer songs which made the final cut, and are there any songs in particular, that have surpassed the band’s expectations?
Laura-Mary: “Well, as you know, we road-tested some songs, but we changed a few of those afterwards because of doing that, so that was really helpful. Like Follow The Lines, we completely changed parts of it didn’t we (looking at Steve), that we did live.”
Steve: “It’s about half and half basically.”
Laura-Mary: “What old and new?”
Steve: “Yeah. It’s like half that we’d road-tested and half that we hadn’t. Is that about right (looking at Laura-Mary)?”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah.”
Steve: “I think 5 or 6 of them we played live, but some of them we’d never played live, including one that I think is sort of becoming my favourite song (laughing).”
Laura-Mary: “We’ve only played it twice so far – we played it last night.”
Steve: “Yeah, One More Empty Chair, we like – it’s really new. I think that was also the surprise one that surpassed my expectations, because I didn’t realise how good it was until recently (laughing). Like, I thought it was cool, but now, I realise that I really love that song! But, I didn’t realise that until months after we’d finished the record. Now I’m like, ‘Shit, this track’s amazing!’”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, I feel like that with it as well. I thought it was an alright song (pausing), I think it was because it was the last one that we sort of finished.”
Steve: “Yeah.”
Laura-Mary: “I didn’t have a real set idea on it, because it just sort of came out.”
Steve: “Yeah, so we’re still getting to know it really.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah.”

5.Of Blood Red Shoes’ musical output to date, in terms of studio embellishments, what’s the simplest recording and the most complex multi-tracked recording you’ve ever committed to tape?
Steve: “The simplest, is definitely It’s Getting Boring By The Sea.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, definitely! I don’t know if you’ve heard any of our b-sides, but we’ve been doing a new b-side, that’s kind of an instrumental, with more layers on it and things…”
Steve: “It’s got loads of guitar parts (laughing)!”
Laura-Mary: “We recorded it ourselves, so I wouldn’t say it’s the most complex, but we took a long time on it. I think maybe Colours Fade is the most complex recording we’ve done (looking at Steve)?”
Steve: “No, I think the song that is the densest, is probably When We Wake, because that’s got loads of stuff on it. We spent ages just getting the weird sounds in the background.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, that’s true.”
Steve: “There’s like three guitar parts on that (laughing), and then there’s the normal guitars and then we played the Yuri guitar. And then we put in some bow guitar, do you remember (looking at Laura-Mary)?”
Laura-Mary: “Oh yeah.”
Steve: “We were playing a guitar with a cello bow – we put in this really distorted (pausing), we got like one string and played it with this bow.”
Laura-Mary: “I forgot about that.”
Steve: “I did the bowing and we recorded that, so that’s got loads of red-hot shit in. It’s all quite subtle, so obviously you can’t hear it all, but there’s actually loads of layers to that song.”
*I mention the ‘Classic Albums’ TV Series, whereby musicians, producers, engineers etc. dissect records track-by-track and talk in detail about the making of an LP now considered to be a masterpiece, saying that you never fully-realise how much detail there is in some songs*
Laura-Mary & Steve: “Yeah.”
Steve: “There’s loads of little things, but if you took them out, you’d be like, ‘Oh, something’s changed.’ So on the surface, that song is actually quite simple, but there’s actually loads of layers to it."

6.Second albums are renowned for being ‘difficult’ – but do you have any favourite follow-up LPs?

Steve: “The Stooges second album is my favourite Stooges record (without any hesitation), Fun House, that’s an amazing album!”
Laura-Mary: “I really like loads of second albums, even ones that other people don’t seem to like. I’m not really into The Futureheads, but I thought their follow-up album was really good, but people didn’t like it. I think Q And Not U’s second album is great…”
Steve: “Yeah, Q And Not U’s second album is amazing!”
Laura-Mary: “Hole – Live Through This, that’s an amazing album!”
Steve: “Nirvana – Nevermind.”
Laura-Mary: “Nevermind (excitedly).”
Steve: “That was a pretty good follow-up wasn’t it?”
*I joke, “Just a bit!”*
Laura-Mary & Steve: (both laugh heartily)
Steve: “Yeah, they only went and made one of the most important records of The ‘90s!”
*I ask Laura-Mary and Steve, if with strong second albums being released by the likes of Blood Red Shoes, The Horrors and The Maccabees in recent times, if they think the days of ‘difficult’ second albums may be over?*
Laura-Mary: “Well, unless you’re the Klaxons, because they still haven’t got theirs out yet!”
Laura-Mary & Steve: (both laugh)

7.In the group’s early days, you used to sing the lyrics that you individually wrote, but how do you now decide between yourselves who sings lead vocals on a particular track?

Steve: “It’s just the same sort of principle really.”
Laura-Mary: “Well, sort of, there are bits where we sort of swap around.”
Steve: “We do join in on each other’s lyrics and stuff…”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah.”
Steve: “When we sing together. But, we tend to just sing naturally as part of the writing process – whoever starts to sing, ends up singing that section of that song, and that tends to be the person who writes the words as well. There aren’t any set rules.”
Laura-Mary: “Sometimes, there’s bits where whoever sings the verses, would have written the words, but then maybe the other person has written the chorus.”
Steve: “Yeah.”
Laura-Mary: “It does vary, but I suppose it is still kind of like that and there are songs that we wrote together, so it’s the same as the first album really. But, we don’t really decide that much, it happens naturally.”
Steve: “You just kind of go with it I suppose.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, you just feel what’s right.”

8.Of all your lyrics to date, which line or song are you most proud of writing?

Steve: “I think my favourite lyrics that I’ve ever written are in Colours Fade – I think they’re the best lyrics that I’ve written!”
Laura-Mary: “I don’t know what my best lyrics are (thinking), I don’t know?”
Steve: “Do you have like little lines of one or anything (looking at Laura-Mary)? Because my favourite bits of lyrics are in Colours Fade, that I’m proud of, like personally speaking. Where I think, ‘For me, that’s pretty good’ sort of thing (laughing).”
Laura-Mary: “No. I never like anything that I do though (laughing), so… Maybe When We Wake, but it’s not exactly interesting.”
Steve: “But I think as well, it’s like the way you sing it. Like the lyrics on their own, don’t mean as much as when you sing them. I think if I just read the lyrics separately from how it’s sung, it would be different, but I think it’s a part of the whole as well, where I think that they fit right, do you know what I mean? That’s how I always think of the songwriting.”

9.If you could re-record or remove any song in your back catalogue, which one would it be?
Steve: “I wouldn’t remove any songs, but I would definitely remove a lot of photos (laughing)!”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, remove a lot of photos and videos from the first album! I think if there was one song I’d remove from the first album, it would be the last song, Hope You’re Holding Up.”
*I say that I really like that song*
Laura-Mary: “Oh, do you.”
Steve: “Someone came up to me yesterday and said that their favourite Blood Red Shoes song, is that!”
Laura-Mary: “I thought no-one really liked it, because no-one ever really mentioned it…”
Steve: “This guy was like, ‘That’s my favourite song that you’ve ever written – I really love it!’”
Laura-Mary: “I haven’t actually listened to it for a long time though, to be fair. I think also, maybe I’d remove Follow The Lines from our new album, maybe.”
Steve: “That’s criminal!”
Laura-Mary: “Huh (looking at Steve)?”
Steve: “That’s criminal!”

10.Prior to the release of your new album, fans were able to pre-order a number of different limited edition versions through But are you yourselves avid record collectors and do you have any favourite collectibles?
Laura-Mary: “Oh cool (excitedly), that’s a good question (big smile)!”
Steve: “Well, we’re definitely like music geeks!”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, I’ve got A LOT of vinyl records. I’ve got a few limited edition Sonic Youth 10”s, like Youth Against Fascism.”
Steve: “That’s pretty cool and that’s funny, because one of the things that I’ve got is a Lee Ranaldo record, which is all just locked grooves, like it’s a series of infinite looped noises that he came up with. It’s a clear vinyl and on one side it’s etched, and then on the other side it’s just got like 10 different infinite looped weird noises. So, you listen to it for as long as you feel like and then move it to the next one. It’s obviously a Sonic Youth kind of thing.”
Laura-Mary: “I’ve got loads of really good singles, like 7”s, which make people go, ‘Where did you get that?’ (laughing)…”
Steve: “She’s got Mr. Soft (singing the opening line of the song).”
Laura-Mary: (giggling) “I’ve got a lot of weird stuff (laughing)!”
Steve: “That’s a great song!”

11.Is there a particular record label that you admire?

Steve: “Touch And Go, Dischord…”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah. Out of the bigger indie labels, I like Domino.”
Steve: “Domino puts out a pretty healthy selection of good music.”
Laura-Mary: “Kill Rock Stars.”
Steve: “KRS, yeah! They all do put out some crap as well (laughing)…”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah (laughing)!”
Steve: “But they do tend to have more stuff that we like than other labels don’t they (looking at Laura-Mary)?”

12.If you were the CEO of a successful record label, which artists / bands would you most like to have signed to your roster?
Steve: “I’d definitely sign the Foo Fighters (without any hesitation)!”
Laura-Mary: (laughing)
Steve: “Because then I could tell Dave Grohl what to do, because I’d be the label boss (laughing)!”
Laura-Mary: “I would definitely sign Queens Of The Stone Age – definitely! With smaller bands…”
Steve: “I would sign Ghost Of A Thousand.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah.”
Steve: “I would sign 1984, who are a cool French band that we’re touring with as well.”
Laura-Mary: “They’re unsigned. I would sign Sonic Youth, because they’ve made so many records, that you just know that they will keep making them. Peggy Sue And The Pirates… I can’t think of anyone else.”
Steve: “I would say Kings Of Leon, because their record sales would pay the bills!”
Laura-Mary & Steve: (both laugh heartily)
Steve: “Then you could do whatever you want with any of your other bands, because you’d have the money to do it!”
*I say that that’s how most labels usually work*
Laura-Mary: “Yeah.”
Steve: “Yeah, they have one really successful band that pays all the debts for all the others (laughing).”

13.What do you most dislike about The Music Industry?
Steve: “All of it (laughing)!”
Laura-Mary: “There’s lots.”
Steve: “The whole thing! It’s an Industry and the idea of Industry & Commerce, is completely the opposite of what it is to try and create art. So, the whole thing by definition, is a really uncomfortable place to do anything creative in. But, you have to play along with it, in order to get what you want from it, because you can’t be in a band and not be part of it. So, it’s just tough shit isn’t it (laughing)? In an ideal universe, they’d be like no money and everything would be great – you could just be in a band and nobody would need to pay anything. That would be beautiful…”
Laura-Mary: “That’s never going to happen (laughing).”
Steve: “That’s never going to happen, no (laughing).”

14.Some people feel that when times are hard in society, it can result in some of the best music being made. Would you agree with this?

Steve: “Yeah, totally!”
Laura-Mary: “Definitely! This is what we were talking about recently actually, because we realise that there’s a recession and loads of things have been happening in the last few years, but I don’t feel like there’s any music that’s come out that really represents that. Everything sounds too happy.”
Steve: “Yeah, it’s so weird isn’t it? Like the music that has been coming out is really pop, really upbeat and really happy, kind of synth / dance music stuff. But there’s no angry music – there’s no protest music. There’s no music going, ‘Fuck You’, or people expressing the things that have gone wrong. Nobody wants to admit that the world is falling apart. Everyone just wants to go and dance to some bad electric shit and pretend that it’s not really there.”
Laura-Mary: “I was hoping that some sort of music would come out of it…”
Steve: “Yeah.”
Laura-Mary: “You know, punk came out, grunge came out…”
Steve: “And made a big noise about it!”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah! But I’m not sure if anything is going to come out now.”
Steve: “It’s just us (laughing), we’re the only pissed-off band left! Everyone else is happy.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, but everyone else hates us for that.”
Steve: “It’s like we’re trying to piss on everyone’s bonfire or something (laughing)!”
Laura-Mary: “I read a review that said, ‘Why can’t Blood Red Shoes sing about happy things? They’re still singing about things they sung about on their first album.’ I was like, ‘Well, yeah, because we mean it!’”
Steve: “Yeah, because we mean it (laughing)!”

15.In February 2010, Courtney Love spoke to students at Oxford Union – but is there a musician who you think would be an ideal candidate for this?

Steve: “Steve Albini, he’d be an interesting one I think.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, he would! PJ Harvey, although I don’t think she’d ever do it.”
Steve: “She would be a really interesting one though.”
Laura-Mary: “She’s SO interesting! I think she’s brilliant (big smile)!”
*I say that I’ll keep an eye out for PJ Harvey as a guest speaker at Oxford Union*
Laura-Mary & Steve: “Yeah (both laughing)!”

16.You recently did a Photo Shoot with the legendary rock photographer, Steve Gullick. Was this an enjoyable experience, and did you ask him about any of the other artists / bands that he’s shot over the years?
Steve: “He’s BRILLIANT! We were just asking him about who he’s worked with the whole time (laughing)…”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, we were (laughing)!”
Steve: “We were like, ‘Dude, what was it like when you shot so and so?’”
Laura-Mary: “I asked him about Courtney Love actually (big smile)!”
Steve: “He was more than happy to tell us about it – he was a really, really good guy!”
Laura-Mary: “He’s really nice! He actually has a band as well and they’re playing with us in London, they’re supporting us.”
Steve: “Yeah, he gave us his band’s record and we were like, ‘Shit, this is really good!’”
Laura-Mary: “They sound a bit like Queens Of The Stone Age type thing.”
Steve: “It’s like Queens Of The Stone Age, a bit Jesus Lizard – it’s quite downbeat and moody sounding. They’re called Bender. He was a really cool guy, I was like, ‘What about Mark Lanegan? What about Courtney?’ (laughing), but he’s done loads of cool stuff!”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah!”
Steve: “Some of the best things that he told us, was that he gets offered like crazy money to do really bad bands. He turned down doing Kasabian for like £10,000 or something stupid, because he was like, ‘I can’t bring myself to photograph a band that shit!’ (laughing) and he’s got a family to support and all the rest of it. He could have taken the money, but he said, ‘I’m not photographing Kasabian!’”
Laura-Mary: “I’ll tell you what else he did – I just remembered – I looked up his photographs obviously, before he photographed us, and I really like the one of Beck where he’s sat on a red velvet couch – I think it’s really good! I just said to him, ‘I really like your photo of Beck on the chair’, and he was like, ‘Oh, do you really like that’, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I love it!’ Then he said, ‘I’ve got one in the car if you want it?’ He got this print…”
Steve: “It was massive!”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, it was massive and he just gave it to me! It’s worth a lot of money, because he was selling them in an exhibition.”
Steve: “It had to be worth £250 I reckon, at least!”
Laura-Mary: “He just gave it to me and said, ‘Here you go.’”
Steve: “He develops it all himself – he has his own darkroom and he doesn’t touch digital. That’s why we liked his work, they’re proper photographs with grain.”

17.I read that you still tend to argue occasionally, but looking back on some of the arguments that you’ve had in the past, is there one in particular that now seems really trivial?
Steve: “Every time (laughing)!”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah (laughing)!”
Steve: “Almost all of them are always something really trivial, it’s just a spark.”
Laura-Mary: “I think every argument we have is about something trivial. I think there was once something about eating an orange…”
Steve: (laughs heartily) “Did we manage to have a fight about eating an orange (looking at Laura-Mary)?”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, like I wanted the orange and you ate it!”
Steve: (laughs heartily again)
Laura-Mary: “It was something silly like that.”
Steve: “Oh, that’s brilliant (chuckling)!”
*I mention that that reminds of a story about Peter Hook, where everytime he finished eating a bag of crisps, he would suck his thumb and fingers one-by-one really loudly, which eventually ended up driving the rest of New Order mad*
Laura-Mary: “Urgh…”
Steve: “That’s such a funny thing to get really angry about (laughing), but that’s what happens, you go a bit psychotic.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, I get really freaked out when Steve starts…”
Steve: “Like if I bite my nails or I start fidgeting.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, I’m like (shivering), ‘God, stop.’”

18.At a guess, how many gigs do you think you’ve played since you started as a band and what has been the most memorable crowd / incident that has happened at a show?

Steve: “We have done somewhere between 450 – 500 shows!”
Laura-Mary: “But it’s been that amount for ages (looking at Steve).”
Steve: “That’s because I counted it at the end of last year and we’ve only done about 10 shows since then.”
Laura-Mary: “Oh, OK.”
Steve: “We didn’t play much in 2009, but by the end of this tour, we’re going to be nearer to 500.”
Laura-Mary: “It feels like we’ve done more than that.”
Steve: “I’ve got it on my computer, I’ve actually got a spreadsheet…”
Laura-Mary: (laughing)
Steve: “I’ve put them all in there and I count how many there are now and again.”
Laura-Mary: “Because I forget where we’ve been (laughing). Memorable crowds (thinking), God, there’s been loads…”
Steve: “The first time we played Bordeaux…”
Laura-Mary: “I was about to say that!”
Steve: “That will always stick in my brain. It was this little basement show that we did, there were about 50 people tops. It was a rotting basement, but it was so good! But because there was no PA – there was just 2 microphones – some of the songs people were singing so loud, that we could hear the crowd more than we could hear ourselves. It was really cool – really cool!”
Laura-Mary: “And our LA2 gig, before it got knocked down. Everytime I say that it’s been knocked down, I cannot believe it.”
Steve: “No.”
Laura-Mary: “That was one of our best gigs ever (big smile)!”
Steve: “Yeah, the Astoria 2, that was brilliant!”

19.Do you see many familiar faces in the audience when touring around the world?
Steve: “We definitely see familiar faces.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah and we get to know quite a lot of people as well.”
Steve: “Yeah, but it’s funny, because we know different people too. Do you remember that girl in Birmingham (looking at Laura-Mary), I was like, ‘Hey!’ And you were like, ‘Who’s she?’ And I was like, ‘She’s been in the front-row at 17 of our shows.’ But you know that Steve guy, who I don’t really speak to.”
Laura-Mary: “Steve Hughes, yeah. There are certain people that know Steve and certain people who know me…”
Steve: “Who we recognise at the front.”
Laura-Mary: “Or who stand on our side.”
Steve: “It tends to be men standing on your side and girls standing on my side.”
Laura-Mary: (laughs heartily)
Steve: “I really can’t figure out why?”
Laura-Mary: (laughs heartily again) “At least yours are like the normal age, all of mine are mostly really old men (laughing)!”
Steve: “Annie’s always on my side.”
Laura-Mary: “She was on your side? She loves you!”
Steve: “She loooooves me (laughing)!”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, she’s never on my side, that’s right!”
Steve: (laughs heartily)
Laura-Mary: “I’m actually kind of offended now (laughing). But yeah, basically, there are lots of familiar faces and we get to know a lot of people (smiling).”

20.Do you have any prized-possessions or favourite gifts from fans?

Laura-Mary: “Steve got given a digital camera…”
Steve: “Yeah, when we played in Tokyo, a girl bought me a camera. I haven’t seen how the pictures have come out, because it’s quite a weird one, where all of the pictures come out a bit fucked-up, but in a cool way.”
Laura-Mary: “I get given really nice gifts by people in Japan, but my favourite things are when I get letters and e-mails from people being really nice…”
Steve: “And drawings.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, and drawings. They’re my favourite gifts, because people have put a lot of time and effort in to them, which I think is really sweet (big smile)!”

21.What are your thoughts on encores at gigs?
Laura-Mary: “We don’t mind doing them, although I find it funny and I always get really embarrassed when we have to go back on.”
Steve: “Yeah.”
Laura-Mary: “But we do this thing, where we tend not to plan really what we’re going to do. Because you know how you see on some bands’ set lists how they have a line for the encore…”
Steve: “They always keep back ‘The Big Hit’, so it’s obvious they’re going to do an encore. Like they leave out their massive # 1 single or whatever. So they’ll finish their set, but everyone knows they haven’t played that song and they’re going to come back and do it. So the whole thing is just kind of an act.”
Laura-Mary: “We don’t do that.”
Steve: “We never plan an encore – we never have and we never will!”
Laura-Mary: “If no-one’s clapping and people don’t really want it, we won’t go back on.”
Steve: “No.”
Laura-Mary: “It’s only if people really, really want it. Like last night, we weren’t sure whether people wanted us to come back on, because nobody was clapping. But then, everybody started stamping.”
Steve: “Yeah, we were just about to tell the venue to put a CD on and then we were going to leave. There was a really long gap and then everyone actually started to make some noise, shouting ‘More!’ So we were like, ‘Oh, they do want us to come back on and play some more.’”
Laura-Mary: “But if no-one’s really that bothered, we’re not going to go back on and be like, ‘Hi’ (laughing).”
Steve: “I find the whole encore thing kind of silly, but it just ends up happening. When you’re on a headline tour, it always ends up happening at most shows – it just becomes standard. So you’ve just got to try and not plan it too much and try to keep it fresh, so it’s genuine.”
Laura-Mary: “It’s really weird actually, thinking about it…”
Steve: “It’s like a formality or something.”
*I remark that the Manic Street Preachers will never play encores, apart from one time when they played a special show in Cuba*
Laura-Mary: “Really (surprised)!?!”
Steve: “Well, encores are kind of stupid. The funny thing is, you can play in some countries and if you don’t do an encore, they’ll be really upset. Like you can play for an hour and not do an encore and they’ll be like, ‘You didn’t play an encore.’ Or you can go and play for half-an-hour and do an encore – you’ve played less songs – but they’ll be happier, because they got their encore.”
Laura-Mary: “It’s really weird.”
Steve: “It’s stupid (laughing).”
Laura-Mary: “You get some places where you have to do them…”
Steve: “They get funny about it.”
Laura-Mary: “You know you’re a really big Manics fan (looking at me)? Do you know that they like our band?”
Steve: “They asked us to support them on their Journal For Plague Lovers Tour, but we couldn’t do it because we were recording at the time. Nicky Wire wrote about you didn’t he (looking at Laura-Mary)?”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah (smiling), in the Reading Festival programme – I’ve got it at home. They asked musicians what their Top 5 favourite songs of the summer were, or of the year, something like that, and he put Say Something, Say Anything by Blood Red Shoes. He also said that we’re ‘a really good live band and I’m like the new Courtney Love,’ even though I’m not (laughing)!”
Steve: “She’s a bit less fucked-up (laughing)!”
Laura-Mary: “He just said ‘really good drumming and really good guitar playing.’”
*I say that I hope Blood Red Shoes are able to play some shows with MSP in the future*
Steve: “Maybe Nicky will come and play bass for us (laughs heartily)!”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah (laughing). When they asked us, they were doing their record with Steve Albini weren’t they? So it kind of makes sense in a way, that they like us.”
Steve: “Yeah, that they’re into that sort of vibe.”

22.If you could choose a fantasy set list for a favourite artist / group, who would it be and what would you select as their opening and closing songs?
Steve: “I would like to see a set list where Q Are Not U, play their whole first album in order (laughing).”
Laura-Mary: “That would be amazing!”
Steve: “Because I don’t think I ever saw them play any of the songs off that album.”
Laura-Mary: “We played with them, but they played their new songs from their third album.”
Steve: “From their third album, yeah.”
Laura-Mary: “I would like to see Babes In Toyland again, like a mixture between (pausing), well, actually, most of the first album – not really the later ones (pausing), actually, I don’t know. I just want them to play anything, I wouldn’t mind what they started and ended with (laughing)!”

23.On a similar note, if you were asked to look after ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ for 1 week, which musicians / celebrities would you book to appear on the programme alongside the Team Captains, Phill Jupitus and Noel Fielding?
Steve: “Who would host it (looking at Laura-Mary)?”
Laura-Mary: “I was going to say you (laughing), but I’ll choose someone else. Who would be good (thinking)?”
Steve: “I’m trying to think of somebody who’s funny…”
Laura-Mary: “As a musician, Dave Grohl is quite funny.”
Steve: “Dave Grohl would be a great host – he would!”
Laura-Mary: “No, I’d tell you who would be good, Jack Black.”
Steve: “Yeah, Jack Black, he should be the host and then we can have Dave Grohl on one of the teams.”
*I ask Laura-Mary and Steve who wants to pick for Phill’s team and who wants to pick for Noel’s team*
Laura-Mary: “I want to take Noel’s team!”
Steve: “All the girls take Noel’s team. Anyway, for Phill’s team, I would have Dave Grohl and I’d have one of the guys from We Are Scientists, not because I particularly like the band, I just think they’re fucking hilarious!”
Laura-Mary: “Actually, my boyfriend (Felix from The Maccabees) got interviewed by them at the NME Awards, and he said it was really weird, because they were just being totally normal and then as soon as they started doing the interview, they just turned into these characters. He said they are just like TV presenters now.”
Steve: “Although one of the guys was a TV presenter before he was in the band, the singer I think?”
Laura-Mary: “Oh right, I didn’t know that.”
Steve: “Yeah.”
Laura-Mary: “That makes so much sense.”
Steve: “He got fired (laughing)! I read it really early on, he said he was a TV presenter and lasted like 3 days and then got fired.”
Laura-Mary: “I’d get Axl Rose as one of mine.”
Steve: “Whoa!”
Laura-Mary: “See what he has to say.”
Steve: “That would be interesting, but he wouldn’t speak to anyone, he’d sit in his sunglasses wouldn’t he and not say anything.”
Laura-Mary: “And I’d also have (long pause + thinking), Missy Elliott. I don’t know why…”
Steve: “That would be interesting.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah (laughing)!”

Laura-Mary & Steve’s ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ line-up in full…

Show Host – Jack Black

Phill’s Guest #1 – Dave Grohl

Phill’s Guest #2 – Keith Murray or Chris Cain

Noel’s Guest #1 – Axl Rose

Noels’ Guest #2 – Missy Elliott

24.If you were asked to edit a music / culture webzine, what features would you commission?

Laura-Mary: “I would commission a feature on ‘Sexism In The Music Industry’. I know that’s been done…”
Steve: “I don’t see people talking about it that much at the moment though.”
Laura-Mary: “But I would like people to go and interview quite famous female musicians and get their experiences and see if they still feel like that now.”
Steve: “Yeah, that would be interesting.”
Laura-Mary: “To see whether they still feel like that, even though they’re really respected and big artists. Someone like PJ Harvey or Madonna…”
Steve: “Yeah, even Missy Elliott, I’d be interested to see what she thinks, or fucking Lady Gaga even. It would be interesting to see how their experiences compare to what you go through.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah.”
Steve: “What articles would I like that would be interesting (thinking)? I’ll tell you what I would commission, an article on ‘How Radiohead Recorded OK Computer’. I was looking it up the other day, because I really wanted to know about what it was like in the studio and how they did certain things, but you can’t find anything about it. You can’t find any interviews with them, or any features, even like in the recording press. It’s such an interesting record that I want to know how they did things. You can read so much about how so many other albums were recorded, but you can’t find out how that one was made in the studio.”
Laura-Mary: “Actually, I would really like to see Radiohead play OK Computer in its entirety for that fantasy set list thing that you asked about.”
Steve: “Yeah, that would be awesome!”
Laura-Mary: “I’ve never seen them – I went to Reading Festival, but I missed them in the evening because I had to get the train back home.”

25.To date, what has been the biggest surprise in your career?

Steve: “The biggest surprise? God (thinking)…”
Laura-Mary: “That people come to watch you (laughing)! No, I think my biggest surprise was getting on daytime radio recently.”
Steve: “Yeah, when Fearne Cotton plays your single, that’s quite a shock (laughing)!”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, I mean I never thought that would happen. I mean even if it never happened again, I’ll still be shocked by that.”
Steve: “I’ll tell you what the biggest surprise was, when The Breeders asked us to play ATP (2009).”
Laura-Mary: “Oh, that was it – that was the biggest one!”
Steve: “We just went mental. We were like, ‘Fucking hell, Kim Deal has asked to play ATP!’ The fact that she even fucking knows our band…”
Laura-Mary: “That’s the biggest one, definitely! That’s been one of the massive highlights as well, because I never, ever dreamed that our band would get to play ATP, I was like, ‘Who will ever ask us to play?’”
Steve: “Yeah.”
Laura-Mary: “And it actually happened…”
Steve: “The answer is The Breeders.”
Laura-Mary: “It was just an amazing fluke that she saw us playing one time in Manchester.”
Steve: “That is so cool – I’m so proud that we got to do that (smiling)!”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah.”
Steve: “It makes me very happy.”
Laura-Mary: “It’s so nice to know that I’ve got the poster at home and the programme (giggling).”

26.Would the Blood Red Shoes from the band’s early days, be pleased with where Blood Red Shoes are at in 2010?

Steve: “I think we’d be really happy, but probably think that we should be bigger!”
Laura-Mary: (laughs heartily)
Steve: “I would (laughing). I’d be like, ‘Oh, you’ve done good, but you should be playing bigger places!’”
Laura-Mary: “You can always do better!”
Steve: “Yeah, that’s what I would’ve thought (laughing).”
Laura-Mary: “We’re like that as people though.”
Steve: “We’d be looking at ourselves and thinking, ‘You are such sell-outs!’”
Laura-Mary: (laughs heartily)
Steve: “That’s a joke by the way (smiling).”

27.Is it important to you, to keep challenging both yourselves and your audience?

Steve: “You can’t really say no to that question can you (laughing)?”
Laura-Mary: “No, but I really think it is! Personally, I have a real thing about always wanting to improve as a guitar player…”
Steve: “Yeah, you have a real personal thing about challenging yourself with playing the guitar don’t you?”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah.”
Steve: “By making yourself do more complicated stuff, definitely.”
Laura-Mary: “Like now, if I play new songs, I think, ‘Oh right, these are not that difficult.’ But when I was writing it and trying to work out how to play it, I thought to myself, ‘I’m never going to be able to sing and play this at the same time.’ But now, it’s easy to play them.”
Steve: “It’s good to stretch yourself.”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, you’ve got to keep pushing yourself!”
Steve: “If for nothing else, if you didn’t force yourself to fuck a few things up and change things around a bit, you’d get bored – you would just get bored. I don’t know how Oasis carried on as long as they did, because they wrote the same song so many times.”
Laura-Mary: “The thing is, you always want to improve and there’s always room for improvement, in whoever you are. The day that you think you can’t improve, is the day you…”
Steve: “Noel Gallagher hit that day the minute he wrote one song on the first Oasis album. He was like, ‘Oh, I’ll just keep doing that for a while – make a few million!’”
Laura-Mary & Steve: (both laugh heartily)

28.Lastly, what do you think has been the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll statement?

Laura-Mary: “I don’t even know if it’s a statement, but it’s kind of one that’s stuck in my mind, when Donita Sparks from L7, pulled out her tampon and threw it into the audience at Reading Festival in 1992 (laughing).”
Steve: “That’s a pretty ultimate rock ‘n’ roll statement!”
Laura-Mary: “Yeah, that was quite a statement I reckon!”
Steve: “Nice, we’ll end on that – let’s go have dinner…”

A very special thanks to Laura-Mary + Steve, to Blood Red Shoes’ Tour Manager Edgy, and to Mark @ Prolifica, for all of their time and help.

“Light It Up”

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?