Laura Mary Carter calls in from their flat in London. She is dressed in all black and is contemplative and reserved claiming to not ‘think about things too much’ yet clearly she knows . We have a chat about touring, outsiders and a dystopian sounding temp job for the MOD. This interview has been edited for clarity.
So you’ve recently released your sixth studio album with blood red shoes ghost on tape. How has that release been?
Laura-Mary Carter: Yeah, it’s been good. Obviously it was, it was a strange time in terms of, we thought that by January stuff, would’ve sort of gone back to normal by then. I think, yeah, January then there was like the Omicron like crazy stuff happening, so we couldn’t do our tour. It’s been moved, but that was like a bit disappointing that we couldn’t like go out on tour. I think today was our last date of our tour that we meant to be Croatia today. So…
Laura-Mary: Yeah, but is fine. It’s just one of those things. But yeah, I mean, it’s cool. Like we had the record finished for like quite a long time, so it was good. It was a good feeling to finally release it after, you know, we actually recorded it just as like Corona happened, basically when the lockdown happened, we were in the studio. So, um, yeah that was when we did it. It’s a long time ago.
I seem to remember reading that you actually got stuck in the UK for a while.
Laura-Mary: I did well for a year, I think, maybe even more. I was living in the states at the time and I came over just to do the record and I think I was going back a week after the record was gonna be done and so I didn’t bring much. It was like the first time ever that I didn’t pack like five suitcases.
I was like, you know what, I’m just gonna bring a rucksack, and I’m just not even gonna put a bag on the flight. I’m just gonna bring it on with me. And that was the worst mistake ever because then all my clothes, everything was in the states and I couldn’t get to it for a year.
So to talk about GHOSTS ON TAPE, in interviews I’ve seen you talk about that it’s it was inspired by both you and Steve’s both love for true crime podcast. I get that you are a bit of a true crime head as it were.
Laura-Mary: I dunno whether like, I don’t remember Steve being one, but I think it’s just robbed off on him because that’s all I ever talk about. I’ve always been like that. I think it’s quite common that women are really into crime and I always think why is that? But I always think that maybe it’s something to do with this sort of weird fascination that maybe that could have been you because I think obviously a lot of crime is against women.
It’s an interesting thing, like why a lot of women to gravitate was it. I have always been into it. When I was younger, I was obsessed with learning about like Jack the Ripper stories. And I lived in East London when I was younger. So I was always like, I used to wanna be a tour guide for that was like my ambition to be a Jack the Ripper tour guide person. And to be honest, I think I could still do it. I know a lot about it and I always used to read like Nancy Drew books and Detective stuff and Twin Peaks.
I think it’s just like, I like the detective sense of it. Like trying to figure it out. Why, you know, obviously it’s not great to glamorize like murder and all that stuff. But I think for me it’s more about the sort of the psychological and sort of mystery and trying to figure it out and get justice. And so that’s why I’ve been into it, but I guess after a while it seeps in, when you listen to like a million podcasts about it and watch all these documentaries and stuff and it kind of fed into the music a bit. I mean, all the songs aren’t like about, there’s not like a song out a serial killer or anything like that.
I do have to say the beginning of the song COMPLY does like, it does feel like the opening to a true crime podcast.
Laura-Mary: I hope that it picked up on one. That’d be cool. But you know, what’s weird is I was listening to the lyrics of that and I was like, oh my God, this is like an anti-vax like campaign song. Cause if you actually listen to the lyrics, it sounds like it’s like the it’s really weird, but we wrote it way before any of this happens. *laughs*
It’s like, it’s not, anti-vax, it’s just quite punk. However, vaccinations all for
Laura-Mary: Yeah. All for it.
Within the album, you have said a sort of fascination with outsiders. I particularly point to tracks like MORBID FASCINATION and DIG A HOLE. Whilst not glorifying, do you see a sort of a kinship not to murderers, but to those you sit outside of society, as punk from a level is always sort of looking in? Do you see that as like, do you feel like that’s where that introspection comes from?
Laura-Mary: Just, a good question. I mean, I don’t really know. I don’t know if we think about stuff too much, it just comes out, I think back to our old songs and stuff, there’s always been this like sense of something’s not right.
Like a lot of our lyrics have been quite dark, but the music hasn’t always come across like that, but there’s always been like questioning stuff. And I do think that is a bit of a punk that comes from the punk world. I mean, we are like, that’s where we came from.
You are soon to be starting the UK and European, feels terrible to split those two apart, UK and European leg of the tour. And American in fall, how are you feeling about that?
Laura-Mary: I feel really excited. I’m really excited about the states. I think I always do feel like that about there just because it’s sometimes places we haven’t been and as much and like, I mean, it’s obviously we’re gonna play to more people in, in Europe, mostly Europe. *Laughs* and that’s always an amazing, I mean, to be honest, I just wanna get out and do anything at this point. So I’m looking forward. To all of it. I think, I think it’ll be really good mentally as well. It just feels like we’ve not done the thing that we’ve always done and you know, you make records and we’ve been writing loads of music, but you do really miss that live thing cuz that’s what we’ve always been. We’re really known as a live act.
So yeah, I’m looking forward to all of it and I’m looking forward to like new places and stuff. I mean, I know it’s gonna probably be maybe a bit different. I don’t know. But it’s gonna be fun either way I think.
Also at the chance to get out, you have a photography account, @thethrilloflosing…
I’ve heard on your podcast and looked through the one photo that really stood out to me was like the door in the middle just in the middle of nowhere. Is that just getting out, are you hoping to add to that? Sorry, two part question. You, you say you look for things when you are going to photograph that have a certain atmosphere to them. Could you sort of nail down what that atmosphere is?
Laura-Mary: I think…I dunno what it is. I realize that that’s what I’m attracted to taking pictures of is like abandoned stuff. Stuff that it’s like left that you just wonder, what was that about? I mean that door thing. I mean I regret not taking a proper photo of that door, but at the time I didn’t have the proper camera and stuff.
I didn’t really take photography that seriously. I realized that I’ve got insane amount of film from all over the years and I started like uploading it and putting it on this thing.
But it’s actually, one of my main passions I mean, it is my main passion outside of music now. I’m not technical with it. Same in music. I’ve never been a technical person, but I just go with a feel and I realize that the theme throughout my photos.
I just like abandon places and stuff that’s not necessarily doesn’t necessarily look pretty or nice. It’s just something that’s a bit odd. And now I’m getting even more like, that’s why I’m excited to go on tours.
I can find new places and things to take photos of because I spent quite a lot of years in my life traveling around. Not even you know, playing in a lot of those photos of just me when I had like a camper van and was going around the states and finding weird stuff. I wanna take it more seriously now. Cause I realize that that’s something that brings me a lot of joy.
And I think I realized that during lockdown, that that’s one of the main things I really missed was going out and finding all these things. And so yeah, I’m gonna do a lot more of that.
And looking forward to it. It’s there’s a lot of there’s an element of kind like Gothic Americana to it. I mentioned your podcast before, uh, that you do with the fabulous Queen Kwong Never Meet Your Idols. Where did that kind of idea come from?
Laura-Mary: Well, over lockdown, we were like, we might as well do something and why don’t we start a podcast? And, and our first idea was to talk about tour stories because if you toured a lot yet always have some crazy stories. And we were thinking that’d be really cool to interview people about that. But then we realized that a lot of people won’t wanna disclose the stories. Cause sometimes, just even thinking about mine. And I was like, not sure if the world needs to know this…
This is too bad and this is coming from somebody who listens to a lot of true crime. *Laugh*
Laura-Mary: Yeah, *laughs* this is too bad. This is not cool. I mean, I dunno maybe we’ll maybe BLOOD RED SHOES should do one where we tell all the crazy stories that happened to us during the last 18 years. But, um, but yeah, so we sort of were just riffing around ideas and then we started thinking about idols and yeah, I dunno, it just came kind of naturally. And then we came up with the name. We were like, no one’s done it. It felt natural to do that. And then we just started giving it a go. We were like, we were terrible.
The first one we did was awful and we had to scrap it and then we sort of learned as we went along. But you know, it’s quite hard. Like what we found is like, you know, this sound quality, isn’t always great. And you can’t ask a rock star really to be like “Hey, can you make sure you wear headphones and can you make sure that you like record it yourself just in case it like [fails]”. We just have to accept that it’s not always gonna be perfect.
So the sound quality and the professionalism of it has got better as we’ve gone along, I think. Yeah, that’s kind of part of it though. We’ve been really lucky with who we’ve got. I mean, mostly it’s just sort of people we knew and convinced to do it and then other people like Zach Snyder was completely random really.
I mean, recent, I mean, most recently you’ve had an interview with, now I never actually know how to say their name cause it’s CHVRCHES?
Laura-Mary Carter: Oh yeah. CHVRCHES.
So do you feel there a third season in the works?
Laura-Mary: Yeah we were gonna do it, but we’ve both been really busy with like I put a solo record out and the BLOOD RED SHOES thing and Carré’s been busy making her album and she’s got a skin care brand and all this stuff. So we had a bit of a break. We were talking about it literally the other day. Like we need to, we need to figure out doing another one. It is like, it’s one of those things where we just have to commit ’cause we do it every two weeks. So we need to make sure that we have like the time to do it.
Finally just on sort of the punk angle some may be surprised you started as a mod, but more the M.O.D did that [Laura Laughs] I get one joke. Did that sort of enforce the punk sentiment in any way?
Laura-Mary: Working at the ministry of defense? How did you know that?
I can’t remember where I read it…
Laura-Mary: God, yeah. I actually forget sometimes that was bizarre. I’ve had a million jobs, so that one was particularly crazy. I mean, to be quite honest with you, I was always hungover at that job. It was awful. And you’d think that there’d be like mature people working at that place, but everyone was nuts. It was very strange.
But for a year, like working there we’d have to be security cleared. So for that year you had to have someone with you everywhere. You went until you got the security clearance. So I’d be like dying, cause I’d start at like seven in the morning or something. And it was two hour journey for me. Don’t ask me why I did it. So I’d leave it like five in the morning and I’d been probably out like ’cause I worked at weekends a lot.
They were moving a site of like all the files and they had a lot of them hadn’t been input into the system yet and they were moving all of them. So it was only ever a temporary, like three year job. So would work at weekends and stuff. So I’d come in like literally not been to sleep, hungover. And then I’d like go to the bathroom just to get like two minutes sleep or I’d just be in the cubicle, like my head like this [mimes sleeping against a wall] and then, and like there’d be someone outside because they’d have to go with me until I got the security clearance. So they’d be just standing outside.
And I was just in there, like “just gimme two minutes like sleep”. It was really weird. But it was kind of like a movie cause you weren’t allowed phones in or anything like that. It was this warehouse and you had a little lamp and table and you were like, it was so big this warehouse that they like, they named the areas different countries. It would be dark and like you weren’t allowed out for lunch or anything. So yeah, in the winter it was like you’d arrive in the dark and you’d leave in the dark.
Laura-Mary: Yeah it was pretty hardcore. Um, thinking back, you know, there was pretty crazy files. Obviously I can’t talk about them.
I’m not asking you to, British government, that’s listening to my PC!
Laura-Mary: But yeah, I suppose it was kind of crazy, but you can’t read them or anything.
I think that’s all the questions I have for now. Thank you ever so much for agreeing to this interview. This has been a lovely chat. Cheers and good luck with future projects.
Laura-Mary: Thanks so much.
It would be remiss of me to say that there’s a new site that goes into Spotify and tells you like the, your top ten songs, Receiptify, top 10 songs that have been played. SUCKER, I think was my number three for January.
Laura-Mary: Oh really?
Yeah. I think it’s a fantastic song.
Laura-Mary: Oh, thanks so much. It’s so funny that like, I, didn’t see that people would like that song. Cause I wrote that song for my solo record and I, then it didn’t make it. So I said to Steve, maybe we should put this song on BLOOD RED SHOES it sounds more BLOOD RED SHOES.
And I had this whole other section to that song that was like a chorus and he was like ‘we don’t need that let’s just keep this.’ And I was like, really? And so I always think it kind of doesn’t go anywhere. But he was like, no this is like good. And um, so I’ve always had this thing in my head. Like I dunno if people like that one and turns out they do. So he was right.
BLOOD RED SHOES new album GHOSTS ON TAPE is out now on Spotify alongside Laura’s personal project Town Called Nothing.