Signing to City Pavement and Infectious Records in late 2004, their first album ‘Young for Eternity’ was released in July 2005. Their first debut single ‘Oh Yeah’ reached number 25 in the UK music chart. They were taking the UK by storm with their alternative rock music sound. In the summer of 2006 they co-toured the United States with Taking Back Sunday and Angels And Airwaves. They headed out to the USA in 2007 where they played two songs on the TV program The OC and made appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. However their success came at a price, with Lunn suffering nodules on his vocal cords due to the strenuous touring and gigs. He was told he might never be able to sing again, however he did make a full recovery. Their second album ‘All or Nothing’ was released in 2007, and recorded in Los Angeles, with producer Butch Vig. It has a much rawer edge to it than their previous album and it has been said to be as a direct result of the emotional turmoil Billy Lunn suffered at that time. The Subways have just released their stunning third album ‘Money and Celebrity’ and they are currently touring and promoting this album to rave reviews, [we were there to capture them in Manchester] not only for their music but also for their visual performance on stage. Definitely a must see....
TEDDIE: You have been playing together for a long time and started the band at a very early age in 2003. You must have been in your early/mid teens. Did you ever believe, back then that you would have the amount of success that you have had and be able to make a living from your music? Has the journey to where you are now been an easy one for you?
CHARLOTTE: When we were playing Nirvana covers in Billy and Josh’s parent’s front room I don’t think we ever dreamed we would be able to tour the world and make a living from music. It truly is an amazing thing that we do, and although there have been some ups and downs along the way, all the hard work is totally worth it to get to play on-stage every night.
TEDDIE: You started out as Mustardseed and then changed to Platypus and then to your current name. What’s the story behind calling yourselves The Subways? Do you particularly like subways, and if so why?
CHARLOTTE: When he was at school, Billy used to hang out in his lunch break in a Subway and just took the name from there. There’s no great meaning to the name, its just simple!
TEDDIE: Billy, there was an emotionally negative period for you, having had nodules on your vocal cords and there was a chance you wouldn’t be able to sing again. Luckily for us, you made a full recovery. How did this period affect you when the bands very existence came in to doubt? Did you ever consider that you might have to pick a completely different career?
CHARLOTTE: It was definitely a very scary time for us, as the outcome of the operation was so uncertain. We all tried to keep as positive as possible throughout this time and tried not to think about what would happen if Billy’s voice were to be damaged beyond repair. We are all now so grateful for our health and don’t take being able to play for granted.
TEDDIE: The album that came out in 2007 has a much rawer edge to it than the previous one. It is said it came about as a result of the emotional turmoil that was taking place in your lives at the time. Billy and Charlotte, you had been in a long term relationship that came to an end. Did this chain of events, inspire you musically in any way when writing this album?
CHARLOTTE: I think it definitely had an impact on the second album as we broke up during the recording sessions. However, now it feels like a very long time ago, and we’ve both moved on now. It’s not something that has an impact on us personally anymore, we’re very good friends and therefore it doesn’t really impact on the song writing.
TEDDIE: You now have a brand new album out called ‘Money and Celebrity’. What’s the story behind that title?
THE SUBWAYS: The title relates to two of the main lyrical concepts on the album. The Money aspect is related to the financial crisis and all the crazy events that have gone along with that. Billy spent a lot of the writing process in his room working on songs, with the TV news on in the background. He also experienced first hand his friends losing their jobs. The Celebrity aspect is related to the empty ridiculous ideal of becoming famous for the sake of fame itself. When kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up, they used to say they wanted to be an actor, an author, a scientist. But now, they just say they want to be famous. The want the fame and don’t have the ambition to be accomplished at a talent.
TEDDIE: What has the response been to the new music at the gigs so far?
SUBWAYS: It’s been amazing playing the new songs live. ‘We Don’t Need Money To Have A Good Time’ has been getting a particularly good response.
TEDDIE: You are touring extensively and promoting this new album. Do you enjoy being on tour as opposed to recording in studio?
SUBWAYS: We love being on tour – its where we feel we belong as a band. We love the thrill of being on stage in different countries all across the world.
TEDDIE: Your music is very energetic. How do you prepare for a tour? I’m guessing you need to be pretty fit to give it your all, night after night. What do you do to keep the energy levels up?
BILLY: I started running as a way to keep fit in between tours. I feel in love with it and its now something I do for fun as well as for fitness. I do a lot of races and train 5-6 days a week. I’ve also just completed my first triathlon and will definitely be doing more in the future.
TEDDIE: You are young and successful, how has this affected your lives? Has it changed who you are and how you think? Do you live life to excess at After-Parties or are you back at the hotel in slippers with a cup of tea after the gigs?
SUBWAYS: We have to be fairly sensible on tour, and we’re away for such a long time and have so many gigs that we need to be on top form for. I do like a couple of glasses of wine after a gig, and some nights maybe a few more, but we never let it get in the way of a show.
TEDDIE: Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?
SUBWAYS: Still doing the same thing! In 5 years I reckon we’ll be coming to the end of the touring cycle for our fourth album and beginning to think about the fifth!
TEDDIE: Is there anything you can tell us that you think the fans want to know about you and that no one has asked you yet?
SUBWAYS: We’re training Josh to become a champion bear wrestler, his training is coming on nicely.Interview by Teddie Dahlin 04/10/11