Live shows that leave vast impressions on people is something every musician hopes to achieve. Blood Red Shoes of Brighton, England are a group who make jaw dropping live shows come across as easy and effortless. Though anyone who understands musicians will know this is not true and that what makes Blood Red Shoes and unbelievable live act is loads of hard work and dedication to their craft; which is playing incredibly fucking loud. While in New York City to support The Joy Formidable I got to sit down with drummer/vocals Steven Ansell about playing in the states, recording a new album, and how life has been for the rock duo.
Do you feel an album changes after touring for it and if so what do you feel changes after playing the songs night after night?
Steven: It changes. I mean we still play half the songs from our first album in the live set, so that’s been 5 years really. I find you fall in and out of love with certain songs; you have favorites and certain times then you have other ones that become favorites. And it’s not always the newest songs. Mostly we just feel like writing new material though, we get that urge probably more than we used to before.
What was the first and last track recorded for In Time To Voices?
Steven: I don’t exactly remember the first one, but I remember the last song we finished was Slip Into Blue. And I’m pretty sure Lost Kids was near the start. There was a lot of going back and forth on songs, re-doing parts and trying to better the sounds, it was a very elongated process really.
It seems as of now that you guys have a massive reputation for being a great live band. Do you feel this helps your reputation with the studio albums or that they’re both the same thing at the end of the day?
Steven: They’re absolutely not the same thing. I mean we can’t even play half of the tracks from In Time To Voices live because too many of the songs are so bound up in the layering that we can only achieve in a studio. We wanted to get away from replicating our live set on record and try something different. In terms of our reputation, I’ve never heard anyone say they prefer us on record to what we’re like live, and I’m totally cool with that. Bands like us should be better live or you’re fucking something up.
When it comes to song writing what tends to be more difficult and why; lyrics or the sound of the songs?
Steven: It changes. For example, In Time To Voices was lyrically really easy, it just fell out the sky, but it took ages to get the sound right. In fact, I still think it isn’t quite right now, but you got to let go of that stuff! Then with a song like Down Here In The Dark; we had the feel of the song but tried it out completely different in terms of lyrical approaches until we hit what felt right.
What is the song writing dynamic like between you two and does your producer tend to have a lot of say in how songs come together?
Steven: Laura and I are just a team. We have a gang mentality about what we do so we work on everything together. I think that’s actually made it increasingly hard for a producer to work with us in fact – this last album was tough to make because we had such a clear idea of what we wanted it to be that it was hard for someone outside of us have any input and have us agree with they’re input.
The songs were completely together on this album before we went into the studio, and we’d figured out what sounds we wanted on every song, even sections of each song. We were really fucking pig headed on this album, for better or for worse.
What do you feel there is a theme that resides within the songs of In Time Of Voices?
Steven: I’m not really sure. I think it’s more expansive than our previous albums, not just sonically but in the lyrical themes and emotions it carries. That being said, I definitely think it’s our most melancholic album overall.
Has there ever been a time when someone’s perception of your songs meaning changed how you viewed the song?
Steven: Yes, all the time. Because most of the time we’re getting at a feeling, something universal and intangible, not a direct and simple thing. So we don’t always truly know what we’re singing about, and people’s interpretations can shed light on it for us. I really love that aspect of music, it’s a shared thing and the meaning isn’t always just established by the creator, or necessarily even known by the creator.
Who did you enjoy touring with last year and still keep in touch with today?
Steven: We definitely keep in touch with most of the bands we’ve toured with! We’re regularly in touch with DZ Deathrays, Wallace Vanborn, Cast Of Cheers, 1984, The Gaslight Anthem…
How has the tour with The Joy Formidable been so far and what has it been seeing them live?
Steven: It’s been fucking amazing. Seriously. They have a really cool and receptive fan base who have been great to us every night despite not knowing who the fuck we are, and the band themselves are total sweethearts. I wish we were doing more shows together!
Lastly, do you remember what it was like after you guys rehearsed for the first time? What exactly clicked differently then other rehearsals you’ve done with other people?
Steven: Yeah I remember exactly what it felt like at the first jam we ever had. It’s similar to what it feels like when you hit it off with a boy or girl you meet and you can feel a vibe, like some kind of sexual chemistry. It’s that but musical, we just started making songs and it flowed very easily and it was like we spoke the same language. Then after we stopped playing the conversation was really awkward because we didn’t really know each other at all. I’ve jammed with a lot of people and it’s not been like that with most of them! Not even close.