by Joe Jamnitzky
For many Americans, including myself, Blood Red Shoes were first discovered on the soundtrack to the movie Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Up until then, the band was fairly unknown here, only playing small tours. However, they’re looking to change all that.
With the release of their forth and current self-titled album, Blood Red Shoes will have their most expansive tour of the States yet, including a stop in Philadelphia on May 11th.
“It’s the first time we’re driving the whole expanse,” drummer Steven Ansell says via phone from Hamburg, Germany. “We’re really excited because we’re going to places we’ve never been. Before we used to fly from coast to coast, but we’re actually really looking forward to the road trip. There’s the whole romance of driving all through America and seeing all the changes as they occur from east to west.”
The band has had a good amount of success in other countries, especially throughout Europe and Asia, and have played many big name festivals, not only in Europe, but also their native England. Now, the duo of Ansell and guitarist Laura-Mary Carter have their sights set here.
“We’ve only ever done four tours here, and it took a lot more than that to be able to break through in other countries. With this record, though, the focus is to really do the States as a priority over other countries, and see how far we can go with it, how many people we can hook. We’re actually going to be doing more tours as well as this one. We’re also very ambitious, and we’re willing to put the work in and keep coming back to build that audience.”
That hard work has always been one of the band’s hallmarks. Within seven years they have released four albums, two EPs, and a slew of early singles. On their latest album, they decided to add to that workload, handling both the production and engineering all on their own.
“It felt amazing,” Ansell says. “For us, it just meant we could be really free. We could write and record as one process, and not do the thing where you write the songs in a batch, then you got to the studio; it’s a very structured way of working. You have to go to the studio at a certain time, take a break at a certain time…you have to be creative in these certain allocated time of the day.”
Ansell continues, “the way we did it this time, because we had 24 hour access to the place, we could record how and when we wanted. The whole process was totally unstructured. There would be days we didn’t do a thing until 4am. There would be times when things wouldn’t work, so we would take a break. In a normal studio, you’re paying for studio time, you’re paying the producer, you can’t take a break.”
Ultimately the album would take three-four months to record. “All that time we were writing, recording, trying things out, and it gave us so much freedom to be creative and capture the right moments. I can really hear that sense of looseness and enjoyment in the record. There’s almost a positivity that I can hear, that I haven’t heard in our other records.”
As for what the summer has in store for the band, other than the tour, it’s more work.
“We never take a break,” Ansell says with a laugh. “I think the longest break we’ve had was about two weeks, and that was in 2008. Usually what little downtime we have is spent writing, maybe visit some friends or get some sleep. We’re just really compulsive about the band. We could always say to our manager, ‘We do want time off’, but we don’t, because we don’t want the time off. We’re both just always working. I guess basically we’re workaholics, really.”
That hard work, ambition, and determination is what has led them to do so much relentless touring over the years, the result being the ever growing fanbase they have overseas. If things go as Ansell says, and they’re already planning on coming back to the US again this year after the upcoming stint, they very well could gain the same fanbase here.
Blood Red Shoes self-titled album is currently available. The band will be touring the USA through May with support from Radkey, and will be playing Boot and Saddle in Philadelphia on May 11th.