Blood Red Shoes: From Underground Duo To World Stars

Blood Red Shoes are alternative rock duo from Brighton, England. The group consists of two performers: Steven Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter’s. The name, according to the group, was taken from a musical, in which Ginger Rogers had turned a pair of white dancing shoes red with blood due to the amount of dancing she had done practicing for the role. The band released their new album Get Tragic and began their world tour. Steven Ansell gave a short interview for and talked about the group’s path to success.

Blood Red Shoes by Nedda Afsari
photo: Nedda Afsari

Kir Ovsianyi: Guys tell me how you created the band? Have you started playing along with 2004 or further back?

Steven: Yeh we both played in bands before, Laura-Mary was in a grunge band called Lady Muck and I was in a kinda post-hardcore band called Cat On Form. We used to play in the same kind of underground scene in London and that’s how we first met because we both liked each other’s bands.

K: What difficulties have you gone through at the beginning of your journey? What would you advise an aspiring artist?

S: Well, the biggest difficulty at the start was just learning to play, because we were both so new to our instruments. We kinda learned to play with each other and we have specific chemistry now because it’s been like that for 15 years. Other than that we had issues because people wouldn’t take Laura seriously as a woman, which still happens now, or music industry people would suggest that she quits doing the band to do something more pop as a solo thing. Somehow people don’t seem to accept women as rock musicians very well.

My advice to new musicians is….play with other people, not just in your bedroom. The best way to learn is from others. And also, talk to each other. Communication is the most important thing to keep your band together.

blood red shoes by bridie florence
photo: Bridie Florence

K: Who or what inspires you? Who would you like to perform on the same stage with?

S: I take inspiration from many places, I mean I’m a big Kendrick Lamar fan and that really inspires me to be more adventurous and creative with music and what a song can be… But I think it’s unlikely we will ever share a stage. I still love Radiohead, The Pixies, and PJ Harvey, they all inspire me constantly. I would absolutely love to tour with Nine Inch Nails because I’m a huge fan and their whole stage show is so intense I would love to see that every night of the tour.

K: There are two people in your band: is it an advantage or hardship?

S: It’s both! I mean, we wouldn’t have survived 15 years if we didn’t have something special. I think it makes communication easier and it means you can make decisions and choose things more easily because it’s only 2 of you who have to agree. I think it’s easier to develop a chemistry between 2 people and we have an intensity which can be very creative but also very difficult and destructive if we’re not careful. People tell us we fight like the Gallagher brothers.

blood red shoes by bridie florence
photo: Bridie Florence

K: How many people are on board at your GIGs?

S: We have two extra people for Get Tragic. Both of them are friends of ours, we didn’t want to hire “professionals” we wanted people who would work right in our family. Hannah is from a great band called 2.54 and James is from a great band called Tigercub, who we actually release on our label Jazz Life.

K: Your last album was released after 5 years break. Before, LPs come out every 2 years. What is the reason?

S: The reason this album took so long is that we needed some time apart and to reflect on our band and our music. We were unhappy and needed space. The worst problems came when we got back together to make the album though — we made some bad decisions and ended up working with some very bad people who tried to rip us off, tried to sue us, tried to take us to court to stop the album coming out. We are still fighting some of this now — it delayed the album by a year just using lawyers to tell some evil wall street bankers to go fuck themselves. I think in the end, the break and all the struggles we had against other people made us a lot stronger and more confident because at heart we are fighters and we’re not gonna let other people stand in our way.

K: Which song and album are you most proud of? Why?

S: I am 100% most proud of this album. It was our hardest to make, by a very long way. I also think personally, I pushed myself lyrically to be more vulnerable and open and that’s something which was quite hard before. Songs like Anxiety and Find My Own Remorse are very different to things I was singing on our last 2 albums, they’re more personal and revealing and honest. I’m very proud of that.

K: This will be your first performance in Ukraine. What are you feeling and expecting from fans here?

S: We’re really excited! Our friends Slaves told us they had a great time playing and we’re excited to meet people after all this time. Hopefully, people are ready for us, our live shows are always very extreme and energetic and we want people to dance. We also want to experience Kyiv because we’ve never been, try some new food or drinks or learn some things… We always enjoy that part of touring.

K: Has something funny happened at your performances?

S: Well, a few weeks ago in Amsterdam I had to stop drumming to break up a fight in the crowd… It was between two women who were punching each other and I got covered in blood from one of them. If you’re coming to our Kyiv show, please don’t fight, ok?

fans on gig

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