Blood Red Shoes find their way to indie success

If there’s one thing Steven Ansell knows, it’s how to run a thriving indie-rock duo.

The drummer-vocalist has been careful with he and singer-guitarist Laura-Mary Carter’s Brighton, England-based Blood Red Shoes.

Starting with their 2005 debut 7-inch “Victory for the Magpie,” the group chose to release a bevy of indie singles and play several hundred dates before they ever got around to making their first full-lengther, “Box of Secrets,” in 2008.

Only now, as their sophomore “Fire Like This” is being reissued in the U.S., are they bothering with an American tour, which hits The City on Friday.

Carter designs the sleeve and T-shirt artwork for Blood Red Shoes.

For “Fire,” the Fugazi-inspired Ansell says, “We went with a label called Co-operative Music, which is exactly what it sounds like — a co-op of different independent labels who pool their resources together so they can have an international network that they can work through. So we pay to record our own albums and then deliver it to the label, with no A&R guy, no interference on a creative level whatsoever.”

Ansell learned those skills on the rock frontlines, running sound for other popular Brighton acts like the Maccabees and Electrelane.

“Particularly with those two bands, I actually saw the difference between one that was dealing with a major label and one that was dealing with an indie,” he says. “I saw the attention to detail that the indie provided, and how well they promoted them. Whereas the major had this blanket idea that they applied to every group they had, regardless of whether it suited them.”

On tour, the percussionist got an eyeful. “I watched people spend a lot of money on certain things, and I was thinking, ‘Are you insane to be spending this much?’” he says. “And afterwards, they couldn’t pay their rent because the label didn’t give them any more money. So that’s made us a lot more frugal about how we run our band.”

In concert, the team performs their blues-tinged alt/punk with as few hi-tech tricks as possible. “I have a sampler with with two sounds on it — a drone, and another drone,” Ansell says. “And that’s it — everything else is live.”

Director Edgar Wright became such a fan, he added their jagged “It’s Getting Boring By the Sea” to his recent “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World” soundtrack.

Being indie has its price, though. He and Carter aren’t dating, so they could theoretically get lucky after gigs, Ansell says. Except for one thing: “Budget-wise, we usually share a hotel room!”

IF YOU GO

Blood Red Shoes

Where: Popscene, Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell St., San Francisco
When: 8:30 p.m. Friday
Tickets: $10 to $12
Contact: (415) 861-2011, www.ticketfly.com

artsentertainmentNEPOther Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott listens at a rally to commemorate the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside City Hall on Monday, June 1, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Will the Biden Administration help SF speed up police reform?

City has struggled to implement changes without federal oversight

Lowell High School (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students, families call for culture shift at Lowell after racist incident

District to explore changes including possible revision of admissions policy

Alan Wong was among California National Guard members deployed to Sacramento to provide security the weekend before the presidential inauguration. (Courtesy photo)
CCSF board member tests positive for COVID-19 after National Guard deployment

Alan Wong spent eight days in Sacramento protecting State Capitol before Inauguration Day

Due to a lack of votes in his favor, record-holding former Giant Barry Bonds (pictured at tribute to Willie McCovey in 2018) will not be entering the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the near future.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Ex-Giants star Barry Bonds again falls short of Hall of Fame

After striking out yet again in his bid to join Major League… Continue reading

San Francisco firefighter Keith Baraka has filed suit against The City alleging discrimination on the basis of race and sexual orientation.<ins></ins>
Gay black firefighter sues city for discrimination

A San Francisco firefighter who says he was harassed and discriminated against… Continue reading

Most Read