Despite the name… Brighton’s Blood Red Shoes generally look to be endearingly quirky… However, their riffy, noisey, garagey, stonery, ‘90sy take on punk is actually quite abrasive and even a bit scary… but in the best way possible. The band, comprised of Laura-Mary Carter on vocals and guitar and Steven Ansell on vocals and drums, have been around for nearly a decade now, having released three full-length, which have gained praise from heavy-hitters like Pitchfork and NME and drawn comparisons to the likes of The Kills. This February the band released their Water EP, possibly their brashest work yet, which supposedly closely mirrors their notoriously chaotic live performances. The band did hit up Kung Fu Necktie last September but, if you missed them (or even if you didn’t) they will be back in town on 4/20 (this Saturday), supporting The Joy Formidable at Union Transfer (Keep checking Philthy for my recent chat with Rhydian, to be posted later this week.) If you don’t yet have tickets, I highly recommend getting them fast (Inside sources have told me it’s more or less sold out.) And if you have a ticket, make sure to show up in time for Blood Red Shoes, who are certainly just as impressive as (and a bit more badass-than) the evening’s headliners. If you don’t believe me, check out my recent chat with Steven about what Blood Red Shoes are currently all about.
Izzy Cihak: So you’re what I like to call a “male/female post-pop/post-punk duo” (hopefully that doesn’t offend), which is one of the current trends in “indie” music that I’m not at all tired of. Do you have any likewise peers that you’re especially a fan of?
Steven Ansell: If that is a current trend, then you might wanna find a snappier title for it, haha. I don’t really know what we are but, generally speaking, the people we consider our peers aren’t two-piece bands. In the last six months there are some cool ones coming out though, like Drenge from the UK and Deap Vally from the US, who I think we have something in common with, although neither are boy-girl duos.
IC: Your upcoming Philadelphia date has you supporting The Joy Formidable. What are your thoughts on the band? I recently interviewed them and they’re quite big fans of yours.
SA: Ah, that’s cool. I know someone told us that once a while ago and I think we definitely have things in common with our sound and style, so that’s cool. We’ve both followed them since their first album and seen them live a couple of times, plus I know we have a lot of the same fans here in the UK, so it’s really about time we played some shows together!
IC: What can be expected of the live experience?
SA: Our live shows are very much a punk rock thing. We play fast and loud and straight up, no tricks, just lots of energy. We’re frequently told we’re a lot heavier as a live band than what people expect, and that we’re a lot louder than people expect. I’m happy with both those comments.
IC: Your Philadelphia date is actually on 4/20, the famous stoner holiday. I’m not a fan of pot, but I do think the holiday often seems to bring out the best in live audiences. What are your thoughts on the holiday?
SA: Um, I have no idea what that is. But it sounds fun. If it brings the best out in an audience, then I’m looking forward to it, plus we can’t bring weed with us through the US customs, so it’ll be nice to pick some up off the people at the show.
IC: I’m kind of in love with your recently-released Water EP. I think it’s actually my favorite BRS release. What can fans expect of your future sounds?
SA: Sweet. Yeah, I think that’s my favourite recording we’ve ever done. I mean, it’s hard to compare with a full album, but I think it’s the closest we’ve ever come to catching the energy of us when we jam in our rehearsal room or when things are really clicking at a great show. In terms of our future sounds, we do have a vision for the next album but we’ve only just begun work on it, so it’s hard to know how it will come out. We certainly want to push the sounds way more in line with the EP and fuck some stuff up. We’re really bored of conventional rock sounds and modern album production and we’re pushing ourselves to find some new ways of making our kind of songs without using the regular sounds.
IC: The EP was produced by John Congleton, who has done a lot of notable work in recent years. Do you have any favorite productions he’s worked on?
SA: Yeah. We’ve actually known John for a long time. We met early on, before we were even in a band, at a show of the Paper Chase, his band. I love those records and we both really liked a lot of the guitar tones on the St Vincent records, the really fucked up sounds where it’s like your speaker is broken.
IC: What are your biggest influences and inspirations, whether musical or otherwise?
SA: We don’t have any. I mean, when we started the band it was easy to say we were quite a 90s grungy kinda thing, but we’ve been playing together for almost 9 years and at that point we have a momentum and a history that is entirely our own, so we’re just following a path that feels right and feels like “us.” That’s not to say we’re not affected by other music. Of course we are, but I think it’s mostly unconscious.
IC: What are your plans and goals for the rest of 2013?
SA: Actually, we’re doing very little in public this year. We turned down all the touring, apart from the USA and a couple of festivals late in the year… We just want to spend the year writing and making the next album. So from the outside it will look pretty quiet, but actually we’re working pretty hard, and we’re self-producing our next album, so it’s twice the workload in one sense.