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

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faced with surge in shootings, Chief Scott reenvisions SFPD’s Gang Task Force

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

Stores including Walgreens and Safeway are required to pay their employees additional hazard pay under a city ordinance that is currently set to expire later this month. (Shutterstock)
Grocery workers could gain additional weeks of $5 per hour hazard pay

San Francisco will vote next week on whether to extend a law… Continue reading

The fatal shooting of San Francisco resident Roger Allen by Daly City police on April 7 prompted protests in both cities. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Daly City approves body-worn and vehicle cameras for police after fatal shooting

Daly City officials on Wednesday approved body and vehicle cameras for police… Continue reading

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

Most Read