Brighton rock duo Blood Red Shoes: Laura Mary Carter and Steven Ansell formed in 2004 after the demise of their previous bands. They released several limited singles on various indies before signing to V2 in 2007. With two albums released so far – 2008’s brilliant debut ‘Box Of Secrets and 2010’s mighty follow up ‘Fire Like This’. The band have just finished extensive touring, that has seen them play a slew of European festivals this summer. With Guitars Jamie Gambino managed to blag an interview with singer/guitarist Laura Mary Carter before she heads into the studio to complete work on album number 3, the release of which should see them stride into the big league
Laura you do the art work for all the record releases, how important Is it to you to have input and control over your sleeve art?
”It is very important to us to have control over all our artistic outputs. Much more now than when we first started. But doing the album artwork and t-shirts and 7” has been just an obvious thing for me to do. When you start out in a punk band, you always design your sleeve and take great pleasure in it. I love that DIY element to records, and the personal touch when you can tell the band have actually done it themselves. Also i went to art school before the band, which i actually quit to put everything into Blood Red Shoes, So it is nice for me to keep up doing stuff like that, as i can miss it sometimes.You & Steven both cite a love of David Lynch’s work – loved the Twin Peaks photo-shoot btw – what is it about his work that appeals and does that feature in your sound or visual image?
We both bonded over Twin Peaks when we became friends. Its been a tour staple ever since, watching it over and over again. I think weirdly there are similarities in our music with twin peaks. They (the characters) seem happy on the outside but much darker things are happening. Our songs can seem quite upbeat, but our lyrics are usually really dark or sad. This ties over with the artwork, as they are normal objects, but are not as they seem. One of my fave artists Mark Ryden has a similar feel, and he has been a huge influence too.
I actually think we are like that as people, and we just gravitated towards stuff like David Lynch because visually it looks amazing and mysterious, and also we just like the fucked up “nothing is as it seems.”
”If you listen to our lyrics, you will understand what i mean probably. We also have named a song after a line in twin peaks “it is happening again. We also did a cover of ‘Into The Night’ for a BBC Radio One session. I guess all our watching and obsessing over it definitely features in our music. Same with anything really, it all goes in there and usually comes out subconscious most of the time.”
Your track ‘Its Getting Boring By The Sea’ is included on the OST of the film Scott Pilgrim how did that come about?
”Simply because Edgar Wright just wanted it in the film. He came to one of our shows for research for the film and said he was a fan of the band. Then a year later we were asked if ‘Its Getting Boring By The Sea’ could be in it.”
We were happy as we really like Edgar Wrights work and knew it would be a good film. We went to the premier and we loved it.Over the last few years you have played dozens of Festival stages to huge crowds, do you have a preference to playing those arena shows to the smaller intimate venues?
We have been asked this many times and i have to say i am enjoying the bigger size shows at the moment. I still love the intimacy of the smaller ones, but it feels like more of a challenge doing the larger ones. We have done the intimate ones for a long time, so its nice to have a real challenge to show people what we can do. We are an ambitious band and we hope to be playing bigger shows over time.”
Blood Red Shoes have toured with/opened for many great bands and artists – including the legendary Siouxsie Sioux – is their anyone you would love to support?And what up & coming bands would you likee to support BRS?
”I would love to support Queens of the Stone Age. I have been saying that for years now!! ha ha. Or I DUNNO too many really!!
Supporting us!! hmm not sure really, all the bands i like seem to be bigger than us.”
You have played all over the world this year including America and more recently Japan, do you have a favourite town or country to perform in?
”Last year we played Japan a few times and America and obviously Europe. This year we have played Brazil and Indonesia and obviously Europe they are all amazing!! But, i have to say I love Japan so much, I can not wait to go back next year. It will be our 8th time :)”
Your Album ‘Box Of Secrets’ is in my opinion one of the best debut records I’ve heard, was it difficult choosing the tracks for that record?
”No it wasn’t, it was just all that we had!! ha ha”
‘Fire Like This’ had the tracks available to stream one a week up to the albums release date, is this something you would do again?
”Maybe, but everyone has done that now. I think you have to move with the times, its goes so fast!! I would rather keep them back as a surprise hee hee.”
The 2nd album, ‘Fire Like This’ featured a change in sound notably the epic, ‘Colours Fade’ and the softer ‘When We Wake’ any surprises in store for the 3rd album?
”Yes album 3. Its gonna kick off.”
Can you tell us what the writing process Is like for Blood Red Shoes?
”Yes well it has changed a bit on record 3 as we are trying to do things differently. Now i might write all the guitars and melody before Steven puts drums on it which we never did before. We always jammed.
The first and second album have all been jams together and we worked it out from there. the new one is a mixture of all sorts of ways of writing! its interesting what’s coming out.”
I think for a two piece you produce a pretty heavy noise and sound as great live as you do on record, did you ever consider recruiting a bassist?
”Well we didn’t plan to be a two piece so we went into it thinking we would have a bass player. But it worked and i don’t think, we lack bass. I love bass as an instrument, but it would change our whole dynamic now and ways we write music. So no, I can’t see that happening.”
Will you be recording with Mike Crossey again or are you going for a different sound. How would you feel about using a ‘celebrity’ producer like Steve Albini or Butch Vig?
”We are going in again with Mike Crossey. We didn’t have a doubt in our mind that he is the right guy. We always talked about our 3rd album with him as this is what we have been building up to. Steve Albini has a great individual sound. You know when its a Steve Albini recording. But he likes things kept pretty minimal in terms of sound. Its a pretty raw and live sound. We want to sound like a huge band, but with only two people. Not sure it would work with us. One day though it’d be cool to see what it would sound like. Butch Vig recorded ‘Siamese Dream’ and that’s one of my fave albums, but I am not sure it would work with our sound.”
What i have realised is that it is as much to do with the band as the producer. If your hands on it can really change the record. We are extremely hands on and Mike lets us do that. It works, so why change it right now!!Does the new album have a title yet and when can we expect it to be released?
”It doesn’t have a title, and release date is very vague, but it will be early next year (2012) sometime”
You’re starting to do more DJ sets, do you enjoy these and what can we expect to hear in a Laura Mary DJ show
”Yeah, it can be fun. In my set expect to hear some Led Zeppelin, Queens Of The Stone Age, Fleetwood Mac, The Knife.”