The Basis. Enjoy! A lot of people in this area first became aware of you through Glastonbury Emerging Talent Contest and your subsequent appearance at Glastonbury Festival. You seem to have a connection to the area, what are your memories of the day and playing in the South-West in general? That was such an amazing day for us and I think it set us up for our future as a band who thrive on and love playing festivals. I remember us pulling up next to tour buses in our little Midi van and all jumping out the back! We then set up camp next to The Other Stage and just waited for our slot the following day. It was a huge thing for us and we were all very nervous before, but I think the fact that we all totally loved it, shows that playing live is what music means to us. We’ve played some great shows in the South-West, in which I include all the way down to Falmouth. We often choose this area to do pre-summer warm up shows for festivals, as the audiences down this way are brilliant and really prepare us for the big stages. What attracted you to playing The Godney Gathering and how did you become involved? Firstly, without Glastonbury being on this year, it’s great to be involved with a festival that is in this part of the UK. Secondly, we’re all big fans of Reef and Stringer Bessant, so it will be great to share the stage with those guys. Thirdly, I’ve heard there’s going to be some good cider on site! The Gathering will be a (hopefully) sunny day in July, what sort of set list are you planning? Will it mainly be focused on the new album? Our set will consist of songs from all three albums, and it will contain all the songs we feel are loved most by our fans. We’ve been trying out some new crowd participation fun, and I’m sure the people at Godney Gathering will be ready to get involved! Do you have much knowledge of the local music scene and are there any up-and-coming bands you’re enjoying, in Somerset or elsewhere? I’m living in Sheffield now and there’s an amazing music scene up here.Any night of the week you can go and see a great live band in a cool venue. We also have Tramlines festival, which unfortunately I’ll be missing this year, but I’ve been for the past two years. It’s a free festival that takes place all over the city. Literally every bar, corner, space has some music happening there, from The World Music Stage in the Peace Gardens, the New Band Stage in front of City Hall, the main stage on Devonshire Green and all the best indoor live music venues. It attracts a huge variety of chart acts, but also all the best in new Sheffield music. Some of my favourite new Sheffield bands would be Hot Soles, Hey Sholay, Mad Colours, Strange and Partners…. I could go on a lot more! The lyrics on your songs “Celebrity” and “Popdeath” give a clear indication of how you feel about modern society’s obsession with celebrity and a concern for the young people who pursue this. How do you feel about modern fame and what’s your own relationship with fame like? When you used to ask kids what they wanted to be when they grow up, you would get a huge variety of answers from a singer, actor, model, astronaut, author, athlete etc. I think it’s sad that if you ask a kid now what they want to be when they grow up, their response is “to be famous”. They don’t really know why they want to be famous, they are just hungry for the fame itself. I think there is nothing wrong with being recognised and known for working hard and excelling in something. I think part of the problem is the lack of role models for kids, when all they have to look up to is reality TV stars. I hope that with such a great year in sport with the European Championships and Olympics, kids will start to realise that these athletes have worked very hard to get to this stage. Hopefully this will drive them to aspire to something more than just the empty ideal of fame. Elsewhere, your lyrics seem to sum up what it’s like to be young and want to party and also the desire to escape the small-town or the grind of work. How important do you think the role of music is at a time of financial crisis and what music inspired you growing up? I think one of things that a lot of people love about music is the escapism. You can put on your favourite album, close your eyes and forget where you are for a moment. Live music does that in a more energetic, immediate and physical way. For us being on stage is like a party and we aim to have the best time possible, which we hope radiates to the audience. We were three kids who grew up in a pretty boring suburban area; at the start music was something for us to do and something to be passionate about. In the early days bands like Nirvana, Oasis, Green Day were very important to us, and we started by learning to play our favourite songs by these bands. We all individually had other influences. For me, I’ve always been inspired by strong female musicians and singers in the rock world, but also the pop world. Some of my favourites are Garbage, Hole, PJ Harvey, Kylie Minogue and Madonna. Your relationship with your fans seems to manage to evade the whole celebrity culture (from meeting fans after gigs, allowing them to contribute to every aspect of your art – even the music – and your presence on social media). How important are the fans and your life on the road to you? They are the most important thing; without them we wouldn’t be able to go on tour! I’ll always be eternally grateful to the people who buy tickets to our shows, queue up in the cold, wait for us by the bus on freezing winter nights – how can we not go out and meet them?! I really love that aspect of what we do; we’ve met quite a few characters over the past 10 years! Can you talk about your involvement with Pledge Music and how this has supported the ethos? We had got to a stage where we had been working for months in our rehearsal studio on songs for the third album and we had 12 we were really happy with. We also had Stephen Street on board, who liked the demos we sent him. We had seen out our contract with Warners who we had been with for the first and second album, and were without a deal and therefore a way to fund the album. The process of signing a deal can be long winded, and we didn’t want to wait any longer, as we’d put a lot of hard work into these songs and were ready to get the record done and back out on tour. Our manager discovered Pledge Music, which is basically a way for bands to fund their recordings through the interaction with fans. We created a list of “Pledges” which fans could purchase. These ranged from a simple download of the album, an acoustic concert in your living room, a day in the studio, special T shirt designs, drum sticks and many more. 10% of the total funds raised also went to two charities close to us: The National Autistic Society and Clic Sargent. Once people had pledged, they also had access to our Pledge site, where we would upload snippets of new songs, acoustic versions of new songs and footage of us in the studio. It was really exciting to get fan feedback whilst we were in the studio and to hear their anticipation for the new album. We were so surprised and thrilled with how the project went, and felt truly touched that our fans wanted to get involved with us making the record. Using the Internet and tour schedule has brought you a huge fan base. Do you think young bands today could achieve a similar amount of success through these routes? The music industry is totally different now to when we were first starting out and released our first record. I think it’s amazing that bands can have such direct access to their fans via social networks, and that you can reach such a huge amount of people all over the world. I still think there’s something to be said for doing things “the old-fashioned way” as we did, by going out and playing gigs. I still think that’s the most important thing for new bands. We hassled local promoters constantly with demos! The only difference I suppose is we posted our demos, now you can email a link to a Myspace page. The great thing now is local promoters can advertise a gig with links to a band’s website, so people who live in the area can listen to songs pre the gig: a great promotion tool, but also it gets people excited for the gig. You’ve worked with some massive names in producing on each album, this time Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur). What have they brought to your music? You seem to begin with a very stripped-back and homemade sound! We have been so lucky to work with three amazing and totally different producers. I think Ian Broudie captured our youthful exuberance and energy at 18 years old. We had so much to learn at that stage and hadn’t had much studio experience, apart from recording our own demos at home with Billy producing. By the time we came round to the second album, we had toured ‘Young For Eternity‘ all around the world, including a long tour in the USA with Taking Back Sunday, Angels and Airwaves and Headautomatica. I think this made us into a heavier band and the songs we were writing definitely had a bit of an American feel to them music wise… with English accents! Butch Vig was amazing to meet, let alone work with! The time we spent in LA recording the second album was such an amazing experience. The studio we worked in was one of the best there is and Butch Vig is one of the greatest producers ever. Half way through the writing process for the third album, Billy felt that the songs we had written would sound great with Stephen Street’s quintessentially British sound. We had written this album back home, and so I think we had gone back to our roots, but were also keen to keep the energy of our live shows. The common ground between the three producers is that they are all lovely people to work with, which is really important to us in the studio. What’s next for The Subways? We have an amazing summer of festivals lined up all over Europe. We’re headlining two festivals on the beach, one in Romania and one in Russia, which will be such a great experience. We’ve already played Rock am Ring and Rock im Park on the main stage, which is mind blowing! There are just so many people! We’ve got more festivals in Germany, Austria, France, Sweden, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Belgium, Switzerland and I’m probably forgetting some! We have a few in the UK, T in the Park, Reading and Leeds, Y Not Festival, Cockermouth Festival and of course the mighty Godney Gathering! See you there! Thank you for taking the time to interview me! I’ll see you for a cider in Godney! For more information on the band go to: www.thesubways.net Like this blog? Keep up to date via Twitter and Facebook.