Foto-© Nedda Afsari

Blood Red Shoes sind im Jahr 2019 eine Art Phönix aus der Asche, hat sich das britische Duo doch schon seit über einer Dekade pausenlos mit Alben-Veröffentlichungen und langen Touren gefühlt ins Aus der Bedeutungslosigkeit manövriert. Dieser Umstand der dauerhaften Spannung hätte so nach dem letzten Album fast zum Ende der Band geführt, es gab einen Break und die Suche nach einem neuen Weg. Davon handelt jetzt ihr neues Werk Get Tragic, das so viel kraftvoller und vielschichtiger als alle Vorgängeralben der Blood Red Shoes wirkt, dass man sich nur freuen kann, dass sie die Kurve doch noch bekommen haben. Wir sprachen mit Steven über die Produktion des Albums und alles, was sie auf den Weg dorthin erlebt haben.


– Band name: Blood Red Shoes
– Band members: Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell
– Founding year: 2004
– Location: Los Angeles and Brighton
– Album: Get Tragic


– It seems like about 10 years you’ve been constantly releasing music, touring and switching time between studio- and touring-time. Why did you – instead of many bands – decide to have such small album-circles of most of the times only 1-2 years in between records?
Well it never really felt like a conscious decision to be honest, we just kept doing what we were doing and we never really stopped to reflect. It just seemed like what you were supposed to do, plus also we had a lot of energy and whenever we stopped touring we felt really down and missed it so we instinctively went back to it quickly.

– We read in your bio that after the release of your fourth record in 2014 and the tour for it, you weren’t sure if you could go on like that. What had happened?
We hit a wall. Hard. I call it our mid-life crisis phase. We just weren’t sure about anything any more, about each other, or the music we’re making. We talked about breaking up, about changing the name, about starting a new band with a different line up and a different style, we fired almost everyone who worked for us. We lost the fuckin plot and we’re only just getting a grip again now actually.

– What did you do in the meantime, when the band was on hold?
Well we played a little bit here and there but the most important thing was we had time apart. We both got to discover ourselves outside of being part of the machinery of the band. It’s such a huge part of your identity that it’s hard to know what else you are outside of it. We both did a lot of music, Laura-Mary went to california and travelled a lot and wrote a lot of solo material which is very atmospheric americana-tinged songs, and I spent a lot of time producing other artists and ended up gravitating much more towards electronic and hip hop music. It was great because for the first time in ages, when we came back together to write, we were surprising and testing each other and it felt like we were getting out of our usual habits.

– When did you then reconnect and what let to the first recordings after the break? What did you want to change to reconnect?
It was a slow process but Laura really initiated it – she was like, come out to LA, it’s a whole new thing here and its very creative and very positive and the change of scenery will really help us. And she was totally right! We started writing, but also just hanging out and being friends again. Getting drunk and laughing at the over-the-top people in LA, that’s where the phrase came from, Get Tragic. Like look at the state of those people in silver jeans with giant hair and a pink poodle, tragic. Basically acting like the sarcastic little British idiots that we are.

– But even though you decided to start working on new material again, it didn’t all go as planned right away – what burdens did you have to overcome during the first sessions?
Well, we got run out of town by christians when we tried to write in small town Wales. That writing trip didn’t even last 24 hours before we were out of there, it was one step away from them lynching us for being satanists. then Laura had a motorbike accident and broke her arm and couldn’t play guitar for 6 months. Then we got a long stretch of abuse from unethical pigs in the music industry who tried to take our money, mishandle our career, and at one point, a city banker decided they were going to sue us for trying to release our album.

– From there on, how did the production of Get Tragic happen, what was the best, what was the worst moment of recording the album and how do you now feel about the finished record?
One turning point was meeting Nick Launay in Los Angeles. He insisted on meeting at a members-only goth club where you have to wear all black or you’re not allowed in, you have to be a named guest, you’re not allowed to take photos and it’s only lit by candle light. It was intense man. But we’d seen his name on loads of our favorite records, like Nick Cave and Kate Bush and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, so when he showed up and told us that the new things we were exploring were great and he’d love to work on it, that was the positivity we needed. The worst thing was just physically recording it man, it’s always stressful and I always end up fighting with producers. I just care so much about it, that if it’s not matching up to what’s in my imagination it kills me and I end up falling out with people. I’ve accepted that as part of the process.

– The record and your sound on this album does sound much broader then before, how did this evolve and how would you describe it?
I think it’s borne out of our time apart. Laura really focused on being a singer more than ever, her lyrics are more experimental and varied and her melodies and style and feel have evolved loads from the past and I think that’s because she spent time alone writing songs on just voice and guitar. And me buying synths and drum machines and learning Ableton really affected it to because I don’t really listen to a great deal of rock music and I was very bored with the style and sound of modern rock, and having these other tools and options to push ourselves out of “typical” sounds was really important to me. Stripping away the rock riffs also allowed me to sing in a different way, it felt easier to be more honest and vulnerable and confessional when I’m not trying to yell over a loud riff.

– For the record you did work with Nick Launay as producer – why did you choose to work with him and what influence to the record did he have? How is his working routine?
Nick is a vampire which is ace coz so are we. He likes the lights down low and he’s about feel and vibe and not about technicalities, which is exactly what our band is about. Fuck technicalities. Joy Division weren’t technical. Nirvana weren’t technical. The Stooges, Bikini Kill, Pj Harvey…i could go on.

– The opener of the record, Eye To Eye, is our favorite song of the new record – could you tell us a bit what it is about, in which situation it was written and what’s the story behind it?
For me, Eye To Eye is the song which sums up the album. It was the turning point in the writing process where we felt like ahh, this is how we fit together these new elements and ideas but still feel true and it’s not just us trying to hard to wear someone else’s clothes, you know? The lyrics, I’m aware a lot of people will wonder if it’s us singing about each other. And it probably is that partly. But it’s also a reflection of a lot of other things around us, and we actually wrote the lyrics together. We were living in this house in LA and we had a setup in the garage and I remember having some loops going and Laura did a kind of nonsense vocal, just improvising, then she went back into the house to take a break. And T went through a chopped up parts of what she had sung, and this one bit, she sang “we don’t see, we don’t see eye to eye” and I knew that was the core of the song right there. I ran back into the house and was like “Laura this bit is fuckin genius that’s the song we just need the rest of the song to stay true to that” And so we did.

– In the ten years of your career since releasing the debut the music industry has changed a lot – could you describe a bit how this change feels for you as a band, what has changed for you and what you like/dislike about it?
I’ve never liked the music industry. there are very good people within it, but overall it’s a very out dated thing, mostly run by dinosaur men with very few ethics. It’s the wild west and every single person within it gets paid more than the artists do. I guess that’s capitalism. But the music business isn’t even good at capitalism, it’s actually pretty bad at it. I always dream of it changing to be more like tech companies, which are open to innovation and out of the box ideas and keen to change. 99% of people in music hate change and can’t cope that things aren’t like they used to be. I love change. I’m excited for the different possibilities technology brings. I want to move things faster than the music industry allows. We are at constant war with that whole structure. But I mean in terms of what has changed for us, really very little apart from that you can release things faster because streaming is the number 1 format now. We’ve always been a touring band and that’s not changed at all for us actually.

– After having had the first real break of the band after years – how is your plan for the future of the band within the next 2-3 years? Are are you going back to work as usual?
Yes. We are. We missed it and we have a lot more energy and much, much clearer ideas about what we do and don’t want. For us this is a rebirth. It’s us beginning again with a clear vision and a strong sense of identity and a lot more self-self-acceptance and understanding of each other as people.

– What are your next plans?

I’m about to do roughly 11,000 more interviews.

– What are you doing, when you’re not making music?
Doing interviews.

– What did you learn in 2018?
That I didn’t miss doing interviews.

– Which song makes you dance every time?
Erotic City by Prince.

– How would your Bedroomdisco look like?
I would fill the ceiling with glitter balls, not just one but like 15 of them all crammed in, then I would have huge pile of MDMA in the middle of the room which anyone could help themselves to, and we would listen to the immaculate collection by Madonna on repeat.

Blood Red Shoes Tour:
04.02. Molotow, Hamburg – ausverkauft
05.02. Privatclub, Berlin – ausverkauft


Bedroomdisco-Gründer, Redaktions-Chef, Hans in allen Gassen, Golden Leaves Festival Booker, Sammler, Fanboy, Exil-Darmstädter Wahl-Hamburger & happy kid, stuck with the heart of a sad punk - spreading love for great music since '08!

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