The Blood Red Truth

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The Blood Red Truth
An interview with Blood Red Shoes

Excited, Steven Ansell is hunched over a crumpled piece of paper. His head darts up and down and his eyes, although hidden by dark glasses, are frantically scouring the lineup for 2000 Trees Festival. It’s an abrupt change to the laidback man I shook hands with moments ago and it’s a change that goes this way and that over the course of the interview. Steven Ansell is just like his band; more than one simple thing.

Sat on a picnic bench, behind the mainstage, he’s a bundle of energy. Always moving, always aware. We talk about our plans for the rest of the weekend; The Bronx then Band of Skulls, before discussing the new DZ Deathrays’ album. Laura-Mary Carter, the perennial other half of Blood Red Shoes, is off exploring the site. Steven will undoubtedly join her after his press obligations.

But first, he has to bite his tongue. “I’ve been trying to not be so mean recently. In interviews I’ve slagged off things and I don’t like the idea that people would think of my band as a really negative thing, because we’re not, so I’m going to shut up and be nice.” In the next breath he calls Bring Me The Horizon a boyband playing music for fourteen-year-old girls with tattoos but I did bring up 5 Seconds of Summer first, so he was provoked.

From here on out though, it’s all Blood Red Shoes.

We didn’t even start the band” he grins. “It started itself. We got together, played and it worked. That’s exactly how it feels now.” The reason for making music might be the same as ever but the pair have come a long way from early dreams that saw them wanting to play Brighton’s Concorde Two. It’s July and the pair have been touring almost non-stop since their self-titled fourth album came out in March. Their schedule is a list of festivals that will keep them busy until the dying breaths of summer, then there’s the small matter of breaking America. Their DIY ethos is well documented but overshadows the hunger that drives them. “We’re ambitious. We want to be a big band and we’re not averse to the idea of success. We love the idea of playing to fucking hundreds of people, or loads of people having our record but the trappings of it, the things you have to do to get there…it has to feel right.”

Those feelings are at the core of the band. An agreement between the pair to walk away if the chemistry isn’t there is the same chemistry that Steven cites as his inspiration as a writer. “As soon as I get in a room with Laura, things just happen. There’s something in that chemistry that makes things come out. It has it’s own energy, it’s own life and I feel we’re drawing from our own personal excitement in playing music together.”

In a manufactured world, where algorithms and advertising dictate your next move, Blood Red Shoes refuse to compromise. “We don’t want to ruin what we’ve done so far. It’s not about the legacy, I just want to be able to look myself in the eye and know I’ve not faked it. It’s too important to me.”

They’re quick to explain that their own label, Jazz Life, is a subsidiary of V2, who put out their first three albums. “I hate the idea that people would think we’ve gone super cool and DIY, when it’s not true.” Jazz Life does leave them open to work with other bands and the pair are working on a series of 7” featuring new bands.

A few hours after we’ve parted company, Blood Red Shoes play a flawless mainstage set to a heaving crowd. Approaching it like sellouts, they just play the fucking hits. “Some people think that’s intentionally crowd pleasing, like it’s a bad thing. The definition of a selfish lover is someone who does what they want and doesn’t give a shit about the person on the other end. We do the opposite.” Whether committed relationship, or blossoming romance, it’s hard to deny the bands allure.

As the crowd sing, full of heart and vigour, it’s clear Blood Red Shoes are more intricate than the primal nature of their music would suggest. They’re also more aware than their shut up and play the hits standpoint.

“This is probably a romantic view of things, but the biggest threat to our existence is ourselves. The biggest thing to fuck you up isn’t the music industry changing. If people downloading, or the short term turnover that the UK media thrives on is enough to kill your band, then take a look at your fucking band, you should be stronger. We’ve been through so much, but we’re so resilient because we believe in what we do. That’s why we’re still here.”

For a few brief moments, Steven simply stops. The sprawling animation paused. We’re face to face over a picnic table, and he’s just showed me the very heart of his band. Then, over my shoulder, Arcane Roots launch into a ferocious riff, his head darts to the right and he’s asking me who they are. The childlike excitement returns.

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~ by justdip on 12/08/2014.

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