INTERVIEW: The Subways @ University, Keele (04/10/2008)

Date: October 4th, 2008
Venue: University, Keele
Interviewer: Zach Redrup

Download: None available
Stream: YouTube


The Subways profile

With their first time being at the venue, DEAD PRESS! phoned the tour manager for The Subways upon arrival, and arranged to meet at the Student Union Shop. Less then a minute later Zach and Michael were led upstairs to the band’s dressing room and met Billy and Charlotte, before being led to a quiet corridor to do the interview. The two members decided to kindly give up the only two seats available to DEAD PRESS! whilst they sat cross-legged and quite contently on the floor.


Zach: So, how’s the tour been going so far?
Billy: Yeah, well we’re two dates in and it’s been amazing. Like the er, the audience reaction has been pretty mind-blowing actually. Been totally surprised, erm, and we’re playing brand new songs aswell. We’re playing two brand new songs that we’ve never played before live in the set, and yeah, it’s just good to be back on tour after the big break we had in September.
[the band’s manager briefly interrupts about DEAD PRESS! getting in to review tonight’s show]

Zach: You played Download festival and Reading & Leeds this year. How were these shows for you, and how would you compare them?
Charlotte: We just – we’ve had an amazing summer of festivals, and it’s been great to play like ones we haven’t done before, like particularly Download I think, because like we’re not a typical ‘Download band I guess. So that was a great thing for us to do because it ended up going really, really well, and I think hopefully we got some new fans from it.
Billy: Yeah, we were totally worried about getting onstage.
Charlotte: And getting bottled. [laughs]
Billy: Yeah, erm, I think someone filmed us before we went onstage, and we were like “Ah, what’s gonna happen?”, then we walked onstage and the reaction was amazing, so. Yeah, Reading for us was – was really different to us than Download because we’ve done Reading five years in a row now, and this year was our fifth year in a row, and usually like Leeds is always a bit more relaxed than Reading Festival and so we usually enjoy it a little bit more, but this year at Reading I think it just kicked off. I mean, there were like three circle pits going on at the same time all the way to the back, and then at one point there was this S-shaped pit. It was just utterly mental. But yeah, like Charlotte said when we played Glastonbury, and – we were totally surprised ’cause we played about midday didn’t we?
Charlotte: Yeah.
Billy: And it was sort of spitting a little bit ’cause it was raining, and it was sort of grim weather, but you know, thirty thousand people turned up and we had a great, great show, erm, but yeah, festivals this year have been amazing. I mean, when we were making the record last year we were like “Okay, next year we’re doing every single festival”.
Charlotte: And we pretty much did. [laughs] Erm, but then – but then it’s great to now be out on tour, and doing full-length sets because festival sets are like limited time, and like an afternoon slot is kinda like 45 – maybe 50 minutes, the most we had is 50, so it’s like great now to like be doing full-sets, and like Billy said earlier like playing songs that we haven’t played before, and it’s just great to be getting our teeth into like a proper tour.

Zach: If you could spend a whole day with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Billy: Steve McQueen. I’d have to spend a day with him ’cause he’d take me on these awesome car journeys, and do some wicked stunts, and yeah, no I think he’d be a great drinking buddy aswell.
Charlotte: And I’d say Audrey Hepburn, ’cause she’s an idol of mine and I’d love to meet her.

Zach: How would you compare the album ‘All Or Nothing’ to your debut ‘Young For Eternity’?
Billy: I think it’s more cerebrial, I definitely think it’s more passionate aswell, I think that it’s just, hmm, I dunno. I think it’s more aware, I think it’s more opinionated, it’s more articulate. I think obviously because we’ve grown since we recorded ‘Young For Eternity’. When we recorded ‘Young For Eternity’ we were just kids, you know, 18 going on 19.
Charlotte: Songs written when we were like 16, 17 so it was very different to like our views on the world now when we’re like 21, 22, 23, so.
Billy: And we recorded ‘All Or Nothing’ after touring the world, you know, Australia, Japan, most of America, erm, Europe and the UK, erm, you know, had this amazing opportunity to be able to play all these fantastic venues in front of these crazy audiences and I think because, you know, the venues did get bigger and the festival shows got bigger and more people came to shows, the audiences got crazier so that sort of reflected in our live shows didn’t it? We got crazier onstage, and that also in turn reflected in the songs we were writing at the time, so I think the songs are more boisterous and the lyrics are more sort of self-analytical, because we were going on this like adventure you know, and along the way with this journey of self-discovery. And you know, having Butch Vigg produce the second record aswell obviously made the record sound much heavier, erm, but we were always going in that direction anyway just from the shows we were playing. You know, after playing with Foo Fighters, and Oasis, and touring with Taking Back Sunday in America, and – I think those bands really made an impact on us from the songs we were writing. Yeah, and I dunno, I think it’s a healthy progression in camparison.

Zach: You’ve recently released a video for ‘Shake! Shake!’, how was the shoot for that?
Billy: That was good.
Charlotte: That was really good actually. Really, really fun. Like, to have like fans on the set who – like you’re always never sure how people are gonna react ’cause people are a bit shy at first, but not this lot, straight away they jump in and are like “I wanna be it! I wanna be it! I wanna do this! I wanna do that!” and it was like great to have people who were really, really up for it ’cause that’s what makes a video work like that, so…
Billy: It was damn colourful aswell. We sorta saw the bedroom in different colours, you know, different colour combinations, ’cause we wanted the shoot to be as colourful as possible, erm…
Charlotte: I thought the set design was really cool aswell that the actors came up with – the set designers, and all these like different quirky things like a mirror, and like a hairdryer, and a sink with plants in it.
Billy: It’s the same guys who did ‘Boys & Girls’.
Charlotte: Yeah, ‘Girls & Boys’ and ‘I Won’t Let You Down’ aswell, yeah.

Zach: Is there anything you can tell us about yourselves that your fans wouldn’t expect of you?
Billy: Erm, anything that we’d wanna give away?
Billy: Erm, people always confuse me as being gay.
Charlotte: [laughs] Well you are.
Billy: No I’m not, that’s why they confuse me as being gay.
Charlotte: Erm, I dunno, I think people – I think we’re a lot shyer than people think. I think we give off kind of – we’re different people in real life than we are onstage, that we may kind of…
Billy: Act like dozens of others.
Charlotte: Yeah, it’s almost like our alter ego.
Billy: People think, you know, ’cause I dive off speakers, and crowd surf, and they think that I’m really boisterous onstage that I’m gonna be really boisterous when I get offstage, you know, like a lad’s lad but I’m totally head on, you know.
Charlotte: Everyone thinks that I’m gonna be a bitch, so kind of ogre or something, but I’m not.
Billy: People do think she’s taller than she actually is. They meet her and go “You’re really small”.
Charlotte: Yeah, the tall thing does happen. I won’t feel it today as you might notice, but I am actually quite small.
Zach: Oh well.

Zach: If you weren’t in the band, where would you be right now?
Charlotte: Erm, probably – I would’ve gone to university and left now and be like “I’ve no idea what I want to do as a career”. Probably be doing that for a few years.
Billy: I’d probably just be travelling, you know? I’d – just with a couple of spare pairs of pants, and socks, and shorts, and t-shirts in my rucksack and just – with no money just sort of hopping trains and that kinda thing around the world. Hopping on er – what did they used to do? Hop on the freight trains, and carriages in America, in the west. I’d probably be doing that.
Charlotte: You’re so gonna do that. You’re so gonna lose it in about a years time or something and just disappear.
Billy: [laughs] I will just disappear. I’ve thought about it many a-time.

Zach: What’s the weirdest fan experience you’ve had?
Charlotte: I think in Japan probably when people know when your train’s getting in, or when your plane’s arriving.
Billy: That’s weird, yeah. They know what hotel you’re staying in. I don’t – Where do they get this information from? They know what time your flight’s coming in aswell at the airport.
Charlotte: The worst thing aswell is when – in Japan it always ends up being a bit of a party, and you end up going out late. We were only ever there for four or five days though.
Billy: But it’s the time difference aswell, it’s the jetlag aswell that makes you want to stay up ’til five in the morning.
Charlotte: It keeps you up late, and then you stay up drinking, and there’s people there the next morning who expect you to be looking nice and you don’t, you look really hungover and awful.
Billy: One side of your face is sagging like you’ve had a stroke while you’ve been asleep, from the partying. But erm, yeah, that’s always kinda strange.
Charlotte: But really nice aswell, they’re such friendly and polite people that you don’t mind to be…
Zach: Yeah, it’s still a bit weird though.
Billy & Charlotte: Yeah [laughs]

Zach: What are your favourite songs to play live?
Billy: Erm, you go first.
Charlotte: At the moment I’d say ‘This Is The Club For People Who Hate People’, and we haven’t really played it before, well we haven’t played it before until two nights ago, so it’s like really exciting at the moment to be playing that song, and it’s like a totally different track to all our others aswell, so I always like to see how it goes down. It goes down differently each night I think.
Billy: Yeah, […] Higgs quote by the way, ‘This Is The People For…’ – ‘This Is The Club For People Who Hate People’, erm, but yeah that’s one of my favourites to play live. I think ’cause it’s – we haven’t played it, well we played it twice now ’cause we’ve only done two shows. But, you know, when we play it we’re like “Ooh, scary” you know?
Charlotte: It’s quite like shouty, and loud, and fun, and I think inside us all there’s these three kids that are still 15 just wanting to make a shit load of noise.
Billy: Sound like Shallack or something. But yeah, when we play it, we feel – we know the audience is going “Fucking hell!” like “That came out of nowhere. This is so different from all their other tracks”, but yeah, I like that one. Also probably, like ‘Boys & Girls’, I really like playing that one.
Charlotte: I love – I always love playing ‘Girls & Boys’.
Billy: I think it’s ’cause like my love for Rage Against The Machine, and Muse, and The Clash are all in that one song, and I’m like “Yeah!”. I can pretend to be, you know, Tom Morello or whatever. But erm, yeah, I guess, yeah that or ‘Alright’ is pretty fun.
Charlotte: ‘Alright’ is fun, yeah.

Zach: Last question, what can we expect from you this time next year?
Charlotte: Erm, ooh.
Billy: An EP, hopefully.

Charlotte: Yeah, we’re sort of aiming towards an EP, because we don’t want to leave it so long before we release something in-between now, so we’re gonna try and get something new out as soon as we can.
Billy: Come on, don’t wish us well away now.
Charlotte: Yeah.
Billy: Erm, but yeah, I guess like – I didn’t write for 8 months after we finished ‘All Or Nothing’. I mean I was totally specked creatively, artistically in every way, and whenever I picked up a guitar all I’d do is play songs off ‘All Or Nothing’ or just Biffy Clyro songs or whatever. But now I think I’ve – I’ve sort of got it back, I can sort of write again, and I’ve written two tracks, and I’m really, really proud of them. So I think, you know, I’ve been e-mailing Butch Vigg and we’ve been talking about you know, demoing these tracks sometime around Christmas, you know, when we’ve got more time off. Erm, so yeah, probably the EP, maybe even an album if we just write that many songs I think.
Charlotte: Yeah, I think it’s difficult to tell like how it’s gonna go. You can’t sorta say “Okay, well next week we’re gonna write seven songs”. It doesn’t – it just sorta happens as it happens, so we’ll see where we are, and…

Billy: That’s what happens, we do seem to just get like a – a drought and then a fucking raining monsoon season, of song smithery. But yeah, er, and maybe with the digital age aswell you know, we might just throw it out there, so.
Charlotte: There’s so many different ways you can release music now.
Billy: Who knows? Who knows what happens next?
Zach: The possibilities are endless.
Billy & Charlotte: Yeah. [laughs]

The interview closes, and Billy and Charlotte get themselves up from the floor and shake hands with the DEAD PRESS! journalists. They all share a small casual chat before the band head off to their dressing room, to prepare themselves for the crazy show they were to perform later on that night.

Written by Zach Redrup