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Interview with Blood Red Shoes on “Get Tragic”!

(ENGLISH VERSION BELOW) Blood Red Shoes are an alternative rock duo from Brighton. For more than 14 years, singer and guitarist Laura-Mary Carter and drummer Steven Ansell have been making music together, with a total of four albums to date. After a short creative break, the band is back – with “Get Tragic”, the fifth album, which presents the band’s most varied sound so far. We were allowed to ask Steven Ansell questions. To this album, but also to the women quota at festivals, the own label Jazz Life and the future of the band. It was suddenly about Kanye West and Timbaland, but also about the right way to represent women and that Blood Red Shoes almost did not exist anymore.

First of all, I would like to thank you very much for your support take your time for our questions! Also, I want to congratulate you on your fifth album, which has become pretty impressive! Blood Red Shoes has been around for 14 years, “Get Tragic” is the fifth album – are you still excited about a new release? How much has your attitude towards releases changed during your career?

There is still a lot of excitement and nervousness right in front of this album because it has become such a big leap in style and a reinvention of us. So far, the reaction has been incredibly positive and I was already curiously anxious that it would upset some people or lead to split opinions … which did not happen.

Also in 2019 your band formation is very unusual. Have you ever thought about adding another person to your line-up? What are the benefits of being a pure duo?

We added two people for our live shows because it would be impossible to get them on stage in pairs. Unless you’re using backing tracks or laptops. But fuck on backing tracks and laptops! The band will always be Laura-Mary and me, but it’s great to have two new family members for the tour.

“Get Tragic” is released five years after their last album “Blood Red Shoes “. In recent years, while you have been writing constantly on new songs, but also expressed some difficulties with the publication. Do you remember the time when you decided it was time? Have you ever considered breaking up the band?

We’ve been thinking about it all the time. It was difficult not to do it, because everything became such a fight and we were constantly fooled by unethical and incompetent people in the music industry, so the natural reaction was to think “Why am I doing nothing else with my life?”. But we are better than that, we are better than these sharks and when our band ends, it will be OUR decision and not those of such people.

How has your cooperation with the bands on your own Label Jazz Life influences your songwriting? Are there any bands that are under contract with you who have especially encouraged you to write certain songs?

I believe that leading a label and focusing on other people’s music and releases is us helped to find a perspective. Working with new artists will definitely bring you new ideas and other music that you might never have heard like that. It’s always that way with music, there are always places you have not explored yet and always opening new doors and the best way to do that is to work with other great musicians. There are definitely influences on our music coming from their time together with Jazz Life acts.

This time you decided to hire Nick Launay and Adam Greenspan as your producers. They are also known for working with such big acts as Arcade Fire, Nick Cave or Kate Bush. Did you enjoy your time with them? Are there any particular songs that they have had a particularly strong influence on?

Yes, especially Nick helped us to do things differently. He appeared on the scene just when we needed him the most, like a vampire from the darkness of LA, and he told us the songs were awesome and we were ready to make the album direct. We needed that. We needed someone to guide us and someone we trust and who understands our style. In terms of influence, I think they brought us a long way from the typical rock sound, which was very important to us, because rock music got very boring and we really had to try to reinvent ourselves.

“Get Tragic “is a title that leads to very gloomy lyrics that deal with self-doubt, anxiety and disconnects. Were there any events outside the band that played a central role in this atmosphere?

Yes, some. But at the same time the title is a joke and not a joke. It’s important to see that. We used this phrase as a joke to laugh at other people in LA, then we suddenly realized that we ourselves were also a tragedy. After all, it’s about accepting oneself and having the self-confidence to express it in your own songs. Both of us went through a lot of shit with the band during that time, but we also had heartache in the private life to make this album and all of these experiences have an impact on the whole album.

This time Do you have some feature guests? Why did you decide to bring her on board? Are there other artists you would like to make a feature with?

Yes, we love collaborations. We are very open, but many other artists are not. It’s another thing that I find very boring on the rock scene. In hip-hop everyone collaborates all the time and it’s all so creative and open and so everything stays interesting. I would love to work with all kinds of bands. I would love to play drums on a Kanye album. Or have the guitarist of The Horros with us on one of our songs. Or let Iggy Pop sing a duet with Laura-Mary. Or make a remix with De Staat from the Niederlangen. I could keep the list going forever!

It seems like every song on this album has a completely different sound. Especially songs like “Eye To Eye” or “Anxiety” are quite rock-boards! Were there influences for you to choose this style?

The biggest influence on this style was our own restlessness, experimenting, trying different instruments and styles and approaches until it felt right. A song like “Eye to Eye” was written and disassembled and reassembled for more than 6 months, maybe even a year. I also believe that LA was a big influence … all the driving around we had a tendency to write songs that are good for driving.

On the other hand, melancholic songs are like “Find My Own Remorse” the complete opposite. Which songs did you have more fun with during the creation process? Do you intend to bring this exciting mix of restrained, sad songs and up-beat songs to the stage, or do you want to focus on the fast songs?

“Find My Own Remorse” has to write not fun at all, because he is extremely personal and I was afraid to sing so openly. I found it very difficult and shocking. I love the song and I’m very proud of it, maybe more than anyone else. But the writing was not fun. I loved the guitar structures that Laura-Mary put together and the beats that Clarence Clarity wrote for us, which is probably more about the recording process than the writing process. And yes, we will definitely add them to our setlists because it is very important to us to have these new elements on stage.

The Rock and Alternative scene is still in 2019 far removed from equal rights for male and female artists. Have you ever felt any of this inequality yourself? Do you think a women’s quota at festivals would be the right solution?

I think Laura-Mary is the one who needs to answer that, but I answer now and I have my thoughts, too. It’s very funny for us because both of us are totally equal in the band. We both have something to decide in all matters, write all the music together and share the money we earn in half. Still, people talk to me in interviews as if I had written all the songs, which is not true. And people i
n the music industry ask for answers from me, as if I were the sole decision maker. That’s not me. We’re completely the same, but people treat me very differently because I’m a man and that’s fucking shit. Sometimes people ask me stuff about guitars and I’m the damn drummer, wake up, people! Laura has been struggling all along to be taken seriously as a woman and I’ve done my best to support her because it’s harder for her than for me and she’s always going to fight. It’s not women’s job alone to fix things, everyone should help and I I’m not perfect, but I always try to give the best and learn to support.

Laura thinks the best way to change things is to go on stage and deliver What a woman can do. Other women to be a good role model. With our additional band members we hold the gender balance 50/50, partly for these reasons, but also because Hannah, who plays the extra bass and guitar, is an incredibly talented woman. It is important that these people are selected for both quality and gender, I think … There is a way to do both. Otherwise it could become very patronizing and that’s no progress.

Apart from two small club shows in Hamburg and Berlin and some festival appearances, no further data is confirmed yet. Can we look forward to a bigger headliner tour this year, or do we have to be patient?

You may be happy. Very very soon …

After all these years together, are there any dreams for Blood Red Shoes?

Of course, we have new dreams every week. Last night we talked about recording a gospel album, playing in South Africa, where we’ve never been to make an album with producer Timbaland, who made Missy Elliot and Justin Timberlake albums. You know what they say: Dreamers will dream.

Thanks again for taking so much time and wish you all the best for the future!

And so it sounds:

Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

Blood Red Shoes live 2019:

  • 30.10.2019 Bürgerhaus Stollwerck Cologne
  • 31.10.2019 Strom Munich
  • 02.11.2019 Chelsea Vienna (AT)
  • 05.11.2019 Columbia Theater Vienna
  • 06.11.2019 Evil & Dangerous Hamburg

Blood Red Shoes are an alternative rock duo from Brighton. For 14 years guitarist and vocalist Laura-Mary Carter and drummer Steven Ansell are making music together, four records were published in this time frame. After a small break, they are back – their fifth record “Get Tragic” presents Blood Red Shoes yet. We asked Steven Ansell some questions. About this record, about a woman-quota on festivals, their own label Jazz Life and about their future as a band. Kanye West and Timbald is back in the air.

Bloodred Shoes already exists for 14 years, “Get Tragic” is your fifth record – are you quiet excited before the release of a new record?

Yeh there’s always and excitement and a nervousness, and especially for this album, because it’s a big jump for us in style and a reinvention of what we do. So far the reaction has been done. Which has not really happened.

Even in 2019, your band combination is very unusual. Did you ever think about adding another person to your line-up?

We’ve added 2 people for our live show because it’s impossible to do that without it, unless you’re using backing track or laptops. And fuck backing tracks, and fuck laptops. the band wants to be and Laura-Mary but it’s been fun to have 2 extra people in the family for the touring band.

“Get Tragic” is released five years after your last, self-titled record , During the last years you were constantly writing on new songs, but so on the release of the album. Do you still remember the point where you decided that it is time for the release? Did you ever think about quitting the band?

We thought about quitting all the time. So it is a natural response to think, “why do not I do something else with my life?”. But we better than that, we better than those sharks, and when our band does end, it wants to be OUR decision and not because of people like that.

How did your coorporation with the bands of your own label jazz life influence your songwriting?

I think running a label and focussing on other people’s music and releasing them ideas and other music you may have never heard. It’s always like that with music, there are always places you open, and the best way to do that is with other great musicians however you can. Those are also known for working with famous acts like Arcade Fire, Nick Cave or Kate Bush. Did you enjoy your time with them? Yes, Nick especially really helped us turn things around. He was up right when we needed some positivity, like some vampires out of the darkness of LA, and he said our songs are great and we are ready to make an album right away. We needed that. We needed guidance and someone we could trust who understands our style. In terms of influence, we generally think that we have rock music, which has rock music.

“Get Tragic Which are centered on self-doubt, anxiety and break-ups. Yes, lots of them. Were there any events outside your band that played a key role in this whole atmosphere?

Yes, lots of them. but also – the title is both a joke, and not a joke. It’s important to see that. we used the phrase as a joke to laugh at other people in LA, then we realized we were a tragic we ourselves. It’s about accepting yourself and having the confidence to express that in your songs. We both went through a lot of bullshit in our band life, but also a lot of heartbreak in our personal lives to make this album and those experiences are all over the record.

This time you’ve had some feature guests with you. Why did you decide to join them? Yes we love collaborating. Are there any other artists you would like to make a feature with?

Yes we love collaborating. we’re very open to being a lot of other artists are not. it’s yet another thing i’m really boring about the rock scene. In hip hop, all collaborates all the time and its very creative and open and keeps things interesting. I would like to collaborate with all kinds of bands. I’d love to play drums on a kanye record. Or have the guitarist on the horror play on one of our songs. or have iggy pop do a duet with laura-mary. Or do a remix with the state from the netherlands. I could list forever!

It seems like almost every song on this album has a completely different tune. Especially songs like “Eye To Eye” or “Anxiety” are real rock smashers!

The biggest influence on the style was our own restlessness. experimenting, trying out different instruments and styles. A song like “Eye to Eye” which written and deconstructed and put back together over 6 months, maybe even a year. I’m thinking of being in LA having a big influence … driving around in a car.

On the other hand, melancholic songs like “Find My Own Remorse” are the exact opposite. Which songs were more fun to write?

“Find my own remorse” was not fun to write because it’s so intense and so scary for me to sing so openly. I found it really hard and upsetting. i love the song and i’m really proud of it, maybe i did not enjoy the vocal writing process. Laura-mary what layering and the beats clarence for us, which is the studio recording side more than the writing process. and yes we’ll definitely be adding it to the live set later this year because it’s important to have new elements onstage.

Even if it’s 2019, the rock scene is still far away from equality between male and female artists. Were you ever affected by this inequality yourself? Do you believe this is the right way to change this?

I feel like Laura-Mary is better placed to answer this than me do you have some tho
ughts. And it’s funny for us because our band is totally equal. We both have a say in everything, we write all the music together, and we split all the money we earn. Yet still in interviews speak. i am in charge of decisions. I am not. Sometimes people ask me questions about guitar and i’m the fucking drummer, like WAKE UP. Laura has been fighting for a while and is doing so because of it’s way harder for her than it is for me, and she will always fight. And it’s not just women’s burden to fix things, everyone needs to be helping and I’m not perfect but I’m constantly trying to do what’s best and learning how to be supportive.

Laura’s attitude, and it’s a huge amount, is the best way to change things. Show people what a woman can do. show other women a positive role model. Haunah who plays extra bass and guitar is a kickass player. As well as their gender i think..there’s a way to do both. Otherwise it may not be the case.

In addition to two little club shows in Hamburg and some festival appearances, there are no further dates confirmed yet.

Yes you can, very very soon … ..

After all those years together, are still any dreams left that you have for Blood Red Shoes?

Of course. we have new dreams every week. Last night we were talking about making a gospel style record. about playing in south africa where we’ve never been. about making a record with the producer timbaland who’s done missy elliot and justin timberlake records. You know what they say: dreamers gonna dream.

So, again, I say a big thank you for taking your time and wish you all the best for the future!

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