Blood Red Shoes’ Festival CV: ‘I will never forget our first Lowlands’


The British duo Blood Red Shoes played the new Brightlands Stage at Pinkpop earlier this month. In the backstage area of Pinkpop we talked to drummer Steve Ansell, who is the driving force behind the band, together with Laura-May Carter.

Who is Steve Ansell?

  • Born in Brighton, Great Britain
  • Drummer of Blood Red Shoes since 2004
  • Known for hits like ‘It’s Getting Boring By the Sea’, ‘An Animal’ AnD ‘I Wish I Was Something Better’
  • Will play several festivals this summer, including Pinkpop, Garorock, Kendal Calling and Deichbrand Festival.
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    “I’ve got a few, yeah. I can remember my first Lowlands. When we played there, our first album was just released and it connected really well in The Netherlands. It took a little longer in France and Germany. At Lowlands there was a big audience and everybody seemed to know us. LCD Soundsystem played after us which made it a night to remember. Our first time at Reading/Leeds was great as well.”

    “I really liked Summer Sonic too, which is a festival in Tokyo. We have never played in Japan so it was really impressive. It was like we were on another planet. The atmosphere and the crowd were totally different than here in Europe. In The Netherlands it is a madhouse with the crowdsurfers and yelling after the songs. On the other hand, in Japan they always sing along in another language, even though they don’t know the lyrics. During the songs people go wild, but when we stop they also stop. They want to hear what you’re gonna say. That was almost a little bit awkward for me, although they mean well. It was a really cool and special atmosphere.”

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    “It changes, especially because we got two extra band members on tour this year. We can’t perform the new album without them and we can also play the old songs in a different way. I really like playing ‘God Complex’ live. After playing ‘I Wish I Was Something Better’ a thousand times, it is still a favourite. Especially because we made it into a more dance song with the new band members. It feels like a punk band playing in a club.”

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    “The gig was really cool, even though we needed a moment to prepare for it because it was sceduled early. At festivals like these, where the audience and us just woke up, this is often the case. When you played four of five songs, everything falls in place and it’s like: okay, now we’ve got a rockshow! When it was that time I thoroughly enjoyed it!”

    “It’s our third time playing at Pinkpop and it was great once again. Besides that, the backstage is amazing. All bands talk to each other. In contrast to festivals where bands get their own backstage area. This ensures that atmosphere is also pleasant.

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    Playing early at a big festival, or headlining a small one?

    “That’s a hard one. If you’ve asked me a few years ago I would have probarly picked headlining a small festival. Today we were playing at a big stage, but early sceduled. We now did that several times and it worked out really well. I never thought of the fact that you can see big bands performing when you have an early spot. And you will get a bigger audience instead of playing together with the headliner. So I don’t care much, flip a coin.”

    Beer or wine?

    “Tequila! I really love that, although I have a soft spot for red wine as well. I never drink beer actually, I never even liked the taste of it. I tried it many times, but I have never came to appreciate the taste of it. Other people hate the taste of tequila, so that evens it out. Tequila is my best friend!”

    Completely sober or drunk during your performance?

    “Drunk, 100%! The reason behind this, is that there is a bigger chance for unexpected things to happen. When you are sober, that chance is significantly less. This doesn’t mean I’m drunk on stage all the time, but I like it when chaos and unexpected things happen. And exactly this happens when you’ve had a few drinks.”

    Blood Red Shoes Live 2012
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    ”A bucketlist needs to be filled with things you have never experienced before. So the first things would be headlining this festival, and using a special and awesome light-show to do that.
    Have you ever seen Nine Inch Nails? When you are at one of their shows you can feel it in every part of you body. Giving a show like that is a dream of mine. Another point on the bucketlist is making music with Iggy Pop himself. He’s starting to get old, so that needs to happen sooner rather than later.”

    “A show on the main stage of Glastonbury would be great as well. We are British and Glastonbury is such an iconic festival. Every band from here would love to play on the Pyramid Stage I think. Another festival that is still on the list is Rock Werchter. They have never asked us to come and play, but I would love to go there and give one hell of a show!”

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    ”If I have the chance to see The 1975 here at Pinkpop, I would name ‘Love It If We Made It’. Purely because the song is so fucking good! De Staat with ‘Kitty Kitty’ is also a strong contender. That song has to be brilliant in a festival setting. I got to see them in London, but they are very unknown over there. It was a small venue of around 200 people, I think all of them were Dutch except me and Laura.”

    “During a show in Den Haag I got handed a CD of De Staat. I think it was their drummer, who told me to check them out. Straigth away I loved the record, with ‘Kitty Kitty’ as its best song. It’s really an anthem, the song is a banger in the first few seconds. That’s how you do it!”

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    ”The previous time we played at Pinkpop, The Hives were there as well. They brought some kind of basketball game. I got to play against their bassist and managed to win it. I’ve been a big fan of The Hives since my teenage years, so that was pretty special. He was playing the game, and suddenly came up to me: ”Come on man, you and me!”. And after that I won. I will never forget that moment!”

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    ”Tough question! There are so many good festivals, it is really hard to pick just one. It’s like picking your favorite kind of food, I love it all! I don’t have a favorite festival. When the atmosphere is good and the crowd is enjoying it, I’m having a good time as well. It’s still a mystery to me though. What makes some crowds so good? I don’t know exactly what it depends on, but some festivals just have better crowds than others. Pinkpop and Pukkelpop are always up there for example. Besides that there is an awesome festival in Japan, Summer Sonic, which is always really good. Another one we always have a good time at is Hurricane/Southside in Germany.”