Blood Red Shoes: interview

Steven Ansell’s ‘wow’ moment and more…

Blood Red Shoes: interview

Masanori Naruse

To help promote their new album, ‘Fire Like This’, which dropped on Feb 10, Blood Red Shoes came to Japan to do a special live performance at Daikanyama’s UNIT on Feb 16. Laura-Mary Carter (vocals, guitar) and Steven Ansell (vocals, drums) came off of an energetic performance (with nary a sign of fatigue) to speak off the cuff with Time Out Tokyo about the city.

Thank you for interviewing with Time Out Tokyo today.
S: We were just talking about Time Out.

Really? What were you saying?
L: You were just wondering that you haven’t seen it in shops in the UK for a while, when actually there was.
S: We’ve done with interview for them before. When we looked on our interview list, we thought ‘Oh, Time Out’. I think it’s a London thing; we don’t live in London.

Anyway, I’m really glad to hear the name ‘Time Out’ from you, as the Tokyo website only opened in October. It’s quite new. So, first of all, the show last night - you’ve already played at Summer Sonic in 2008. Compare to that, UNIT was a smaller venue. What did you make of the Japanese audience last night?
S: Summer Sonic was massive! Actually the venue was much smaller, but it was exciting to see the reaction for the new songs, since the songs are quite new. When we played ‘Light It Up’, everybody shouted with the chorus, (raises hands) and did like ‘LIGHT! IT! UP!’ So I was like ‘Wow,’ I was really happy. I was, like, grinning.

That song was really great. But I think the audience here in Japan, they tend to be polite.
Both: Yeah.
L: It’s fine. I mean it’s different in every country.
S: We get used to it. Sometimes I feel quite, like, freaked out because in between the songs, it’s so quiet. Everybody is very polite, quiet and respectful. In most countries they make more noise… so the dead silence, it’s still quite freaky.

Do you hear from other bands something like, ‘If you’re going to Japan, they’re going to be quiet between the songs’?
L: Yeah. Actually before we came here to debut in Japan, Maximo Park told us about Japan, and they said, ‘You just to experience’s beyond words.’
S: I think usually we are the ones telling other bands, because we toured more than the most bands in England. When touring around English, we’re telling other bands what is like here, what it’s like in France, Italy...

So sometime between the songs you mention ‘I really like Japan’ and ‘Japan is great’. That’s from your heart, right?
S: Yeah, we don’t say that in every town. [laughs] We never say ‘I don’t like your town!’ either. The fans here in Japan are so welcoming, and that makes the music more fun for us to play, so it goes without saying that Japan is a fun place for us to be.

Thank you so much. Japan will be happy to hear it. Moving on, let’s talk about Tokyo. This your fifth time visiting Japan. Where do you go on shopping when you are here?

S: Laura’s favorite is... I’ve just learned how to say it... It’s like one-on-one. One-oh-one... Marukyu...

Marukyu? You’re talking about SHIBUYA 109?
L: Yeah. I don’t know any of the brands, but I actually like where you go in, the ground Floor . I’m usually going up and down and need to go back.

A lot of Japanese fans look up to you: you’re always cute, dress nicely… stylish. So they’ll be happy to hear you like the clothes here in Japan.
L: I really like them. I always manage to get something even if I’ve got no time in Japan. I always make a little room my suitcase for them.
S: That’s true! That’s true!

So, Steven, what do you buy here?
S: When we came over before, we went to some vintage shops in Harajuku, of course for clothes, actually. But usually I just hang out with Laura. I quite like taking other people shopping. I think boys are supposed to think it’s very boring, but I quite like it.

Most Japanese guys carry the bags when the girl is shopping. How about you, Steven?
L: No.

[laughs] What a quick response.
S: That’s because she doesn’t buy stuff like crazy!

What are the other places or things you like?
L: We like eating.
S: We spend a lot of time eating.

What are the things you tried out?
S: I ate beef tataki sushi last night. That was cool.
L: You had something weird.

Something weird?
S: I got fish guts. I didn’t really like that. [laughs] It was really tough …… because I knew that my brain knows what it was. So I couldn’t get out of my head what’s in the guts. We tried what we thought was cool, since we both really like food and cooking. Since first time we came, we make a point to discover Japanese food. Everyone in England thinks that Japanese people eat sushi all the time, and nothing else, but there are so many other kinds of food here too.

Neither of you look like such big eaters... I was really surprised how much energy you have on stage because, you know watching you. You’re not hugely built.
S: [laughs] Yeah, yeah. But you know, I thought yesterday I wasn’t energetic as usual. I was like, that was about a 7 out of 10 energy level with me. Usually we don’t play for that long. If we are not jet-lagged and play for a short time, then we get more energetic.

We’d love to see that. So when do you think will be next time?
S: I don‘t know… hopefully we want to play Summer Sonic. We had really got good time, and we love it, but even if we don’t play that, we’ll be back to play during the year. I think it’s quite difficult because tickets are really expensive in Japan, and because of recession… but we just want to play - next time Osaka too.

So you worry about recession?
S: Not really. That’s capitalism. It’s always going to happen like that. But it worries me when it affects my friends. Losing their jobs, losing a home - that sucks. I worry like them. Another worry is that as soon as recession hit, people lost their jobs and more people voted for the BNP. I think that it’s the perception in England that immigrants are stealing ‘our’ jobs, and the BNP always use that anger as a way to get votes.

Okay. Thanks again, even though you look pretty tired.
S: Arigato.

[laughs] Do you know any other Japanese words?
L: ‘Konnichiwa’ ‘Minna saiko’ ‘Kanpai’.
S: ‘Matane’ and when your cup’s too full, ‘O tto tto ttototo

S: Everytime I say that, eveyone laughs. That’s great.

That’s because only older men say that.
L: Really?
S: Our friends taught us that. Now it makes sense... that’s why.

Fire Like This’ release date: Feb 10, 2010 Hostess Entertainment
Official website:

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By Mai Michitsuji
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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