The Subways
Live @ Carling Academy Bristol
October 14, 2008
Interview & Photography: Steve Bateman

The sleeve for The Subways’ second album, All Or Nothing, has to be one of the most memorable and symbolic record covers ever! And I say symbolic, because the eye-catching photograph of daredevil Spanky Spangler’s stunt car flying through the air full of flames, could also be interpreted as a visual metaphor of everything that the band has valiantly been through in recent times – and managed to survive! From love, loss and regret, to trials and triumphs…

Firstly, in what could have ultimately resulted in Billy never being able to speak again, let alone sing, was the major concern that he had to undergo surgery to remove nodules on his vocal chords. Followed later, by the very sad news that he and his fiancée, Charlotte, had split during studio sessions for All Or Nothing. Something that is painfully documented in (and inspired) many of the songs’ dolorous and cathartic lyrics / themes – but which thankfully, didn’t lead to the trio breaking up, as both Billy and Charlotte are now in new relationships and happy to remain as close friends / bandmates.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger as they say, and All Or Nothing – recorded in Los Angeles with the legendary, veteran alt.rock producer Butch Vig and which marks the beginning of a new chapter in The Subways’ career – turned out to be a fully-loaded shot in the arm… almost a medicinal and emotional succour. With the bold, finely-tuned and brawny rock ‘n’ roll LP, possessing a much harder edge / dimension and a livewire contemporary bite, that any self-respecting rock group would be proud to put their name to! It’s also worth mentioning, that the calmer and softer acoustic moments strewn throughout the final tracklisting, help add serenity, mellowness, solace, variety and depth to the overall listening experience. And in more ways than one, you can clearly hear the direct influence that a lot of US bands have had on this particular record – be it some of Billy, Charlotte and Josh’s biggest musical inspirations, or by simply plucking a name from the list of American touring partners they’ve been on the road with over the years.

Since being released this past June, the album has received unanimous positive reviews and praise from music critics and fans all around the world, for its “considerable sonic progression.” Above all though, is the way in which the regenerated group’s DNA, pop nous and accessibility, has remained both intact and integral to ‘The Subways Sound’, as they haven’t once betrayed their core essence – with their propensity for penning catchy melodies, choruses, harmonies and hooks, undiminished. So, coupled with their debut opus, Young For Eternity, it’s now double your pleasure, double your fun!

In the live realm, the three-piece are a stupendously scintillating proposition and shine every single time they tread the boards, with a mischievous glint in their eyes and the look of psyched-up prizefighters who have just taped-up their fists ready for war! Because Billy, Charlotte and Josh, do literally give themselves to their music, putting on joie de vivre beguiling shows, bristling with confidence, boundless energy, adrenaline, testosterone and churning passion – with the payoff for every individual audience member being; An unforgettable assault on the senses which will hit you like a fireball and rock your world!

And in 2008, Billy really embraces the playful and more pantomime ‘action / reaction’ elements of performing. From giving crowds an instant injection of the numerous rousing, rampant, primal, pulsating and molten riffs at his disposal – flecked with Charlotte and Josh’s duelling, detonated rhythm section. To elaborate song breakdowns and encouraging spectators to participate by singing in unison with his hurtling, unvarnished and thunderbolt voice. To crowd surfing in the audience – and this evening in Bristol, even landing at the bar and grabbing a bottle of beer from a bemused barmaid’s hands. Before then being hoisted back up and lifted to the stage whilst swigging the beverage and proceeding to shake the remaining contents everywhere, covering anyone in close proximity!

And of course, the love and appreciation that The Subways have for their supporters, is as ever, reciprocated in equal measure by their followers’ unrivalled fanaticism, with a palpable sense of excitement in the air!

Before tonight’s gig happened however, I was originally scheduled to speak to Charlotte at 5pm in the trio’s dressing room, but when I arrived at the venue and Charlotte remembered me, she very sweetly ran to The Subways’ Tour Bus and told Billy that I was here, who then made his way upstairs for the interview as well! : ) It was really, really great seeing Billy and Charlotte again, who are both sweethearts, have sunny dispositions and were in fine fettle – and along with Josh, cemented their status as “The nicest band in rock ‘n’ roll ©” long ago!

So, after hugs and pleasantries were exchanged, we settled down to business, as I chatted to the beautiful bassist and effusive six-stringer about returning to the fray and how they continue to give All Or Nothing to their sensational, rambunctious and intoxicating music…


Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1.NME Radio was recently launched and after topping a readers online poll, Muse’s Knights Of Cydonia was the first track to ever be played – but if the decision had been yours, which song would you have launched the station with?
Charlotte: “Wow, what a question (laughing)!”
Billy: “That’s a great question!”
Charlotte: “Well, that’s a very good choice, because Muse are like my favourite band (big smile), so that’s really cool! Um (thinking), I probably would pick a Muse track actually, especially as it’s an alternative radio station and with Muse being such a successful rock band, it would be a great way to start off! Or maybe the Foo Fighters, like Everlong would be a great track as well, because it’s such a classic rock song!”
Billy: “I would probably say Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit. It’s perhaps an obvious choice, but that’s the song which almost started it off for me, or Oasis – Supersonic. But I guess it has to be something contemporary, so I would go with something like Muse and Knights Of Cydonia is a great, great track! It’s contemporary, it was released last year and everybody loves Muse really don’t they!?!”

2.I was fortunate enough to attend Ash’s 1977 Astoria show in September, which was to celebrate the Deluxe Edition reissue of their full-length debut album. But if you could handpick some of your favourite artists / bands to play their albums in full, and release a Deluxe Edition, who would they be and which records?
Billy: “Oh cool – pick some artists and bands to play an album in full and release a Deluxe Edition as well? Wow (laughing)!”
Charlotte: (laughing)
Billy: “Um (thinking), well before Rage Against The Machine played all of the festival dates, I probably would have said them, and The Battle Of Los Angeles is the album that I would like them to play – yeah!”
Charlotte: “I would LOVE to see Hole do Live Through This, all the way through…”
Billy: “That would be SO cool!”
Charlotte: “Because I’ve only ever seen performances from the Celebrity Skin era – I haven’t managed to track down anything that far back. So yeah, I would love to see that, it would be really cool (smiling)!”
Billy: “Death Cab For Cutie and…”
Charlotte: “Plans?”
Billy: “Plans, yeah.”
Charlotte: “Yeah, definitely, that would be really cool!”
Billy: “I missed them when they were touring that record, I didn’t get a chance to see them. So I would LOVE to see them play that record in its entirety! I did get to see them at the Summer Sonic Festival in Japan and I’ve got to admit, I blubbed all the way through (laughing).”
Charlotte: (laughing)
Billy: “Because I was so touched by it! Who else is there (thinking)? Queens Of The Stone Age – Rated R, I would LOVE to hear them play that! (long pause + thinking) That’s all for the moment (laughing)!”
Charlotte: (laughing)

3.Of the artists / groups who started their careers at the same time as The Subways, are there any in particular, who you still keep an eye on?
Charlotte: “Um (thinking)…”
Billy: “Nine Black Alps.”
Charlotte: “Yeah!”
Billy: “We’re good friends with them…”
*I mention that I interviewed Sam in February of this year and that he was a really cool guy*
Billy: “Oh did you? Oh brilliant, he’s great! Martin and David came to our Manchester show as well (pausing), Martin photographs us actually…”
Charlotte: “He’s a really good photographer – he takes really interesting shots!”
Billy: “The shot he took of us at Leeds Festival walking up towards the stage, is probably one of the best shots that I’ve ever seen of any pre-show moment, so I’m getting him to print that for me at A3 and I’m going to have it in my house (smiling)! Who else (looking at Charlotte)? We don’t really catch up with anyone else really, do we?”
Charlotte: “We’re really big fans of the Kings Of Leon – I know they were a little bit before us, like a couple of years – but everytime they’ve brought out a new album, I’ve been so amazed by them! I think they’re one of the few bands that came out at that time, who have really developed their sound and everytime they bring out a new album, it’s completely different and they’ve moved on a step!”
Billy: “They’re one of the only bands from that period, who we feel are truly evolving!”
Charlotte: “Yeah.”

4.Do you think the Arts Council ‘Take It Away’ scheme, “To help you to buy an instrument with an interest-free loan” is a positive step for young, up-and-coming musicians?
Billy & Charlotte: “That’s AMAZING!”
Charlotte: “That’s great – that’s an absolutely brilliant idea!”
Billy: “Yeah, and I think that that’s the direction that pretty much every country should be going in!”
Charlotte: “Yeah, because it can be so difficult starting out, like buying a guitar, an amp, leads – everything, it’s a lot of money!”
Billy: “It’s encouraging isn’t it? It’s nurturing and it’s educating, so it’s purely good (smiling)!”

5.If you could relive any moment in your life, what would it be?

Charlotte: “Um (thinking)…”
Billy: “Wow (long pause + thinking)… I think it would be when my two elder sisters used to take me and my brother to this lake where we grew up – I always remember it, because for me, it’s forever autumnal you know? It’s golden and the sun’s shining, but it’s still quite chilly. But I have so many memories and amazing images in my head from that time (smiling), and I do think about that a lot! So I’ll pick that, yeah.”
Charlotte: “I think looking more towards the future, something that I want to really remember from my years of being in a band, is headlining (pausing), not headlining – I keep saying this (laughing)…”
Billy: (laughing)
Charlotte: “Remember that time we headlined Reading?”
Billy & Charlotte (both laugh heartily)
Charlotte: “No, I meant to say that we played on The Main Stage at Reading & Leeds Festival (laughing)! But looking out and seeing some of the most amazing audiences was a really great experience (smiling)!”

6.HMV has been running a ‘My Inspiration’ advertisement campaign, which features photographs of musicians and groups, along with an act / lyric that means a lot to them personally. But if The Subways were asked to appear, which artist or band + lyric of theirs would you choose?
Billy: “Oasis – “I need to be myself, I can’t be no-one else” – from Supersonic (without any hesitation)! Not only did it change my life in terms of wanting to become a musician, it just changed me as a whole person! It gave me this confidence that I could hold my chin up high and do whatever I felt capable of doing, and even if I didn’t feel capable of doing it, that I could at least give it a try you know? To be an honest and really good person and feel that life is worth living – that you have to get out there and grab life by the balls! So that’s it, yeah!”
Charlotte: “I think I would probably pick Death Cab For Cutie (pausing), I’m not sure I’d choose a lyric, but if I could pick something musical, it would be the bass line to Summer Skin. If I was allowed to (laughing)? It’s very melodic…”
*I say that HMV’s follow-up ‘My Inspiration’ advertisement campaign, could be something musical, rather than a lyric*
Billy & Charlotte: “Yeah (both laugh heartily)!”

7.On a similar note, my great idols / heroes, the Manic Street Preachers were deservedly crowned as this year’s NME Godlike Genius, but who for you, would also be worthy of such an accolade?
Billy: “Um (thinking)…”
Charlotte: “Has Dave Grohl received it yet do you know? Because when you see the Foo Fighters playing live, he’s just such an amazing frontman!”
Billy: “He is a Godlike Genius isn’t he?”
Charlotte: “Yeah!”
Billy: “So, we’ll say that Dave Grohl deserves it.”

8.You’ve now toured all over the world – but to date, what’s the smallest gig and the biggest gig that you’ve played?

Billy & Charlotte: (both laugh heartily)
Billy: “The smallest, was Betsey Trotwood in London! It’s smaller than this dressing room (laughing)! The PA took up most of the space, there was a bar and there was one person there, but if you had got a couple more people in, it would have been packed (laughing)!”
Charlotte: “Yeah (giggling), it’s known for being the smallest venue in London! That must have been 2002 / 2003? It was early on.”
Billy: “The biggest, was 70,000 at the Millennium Stadium in Wales…”
Charlotte: “Yeah, the Foo Fighters and Oasis were joint-headliners, so we were absolutely thrilled to be on that bill!”
Billy: “Or Foo Fighters at Lancashire Cricket Ground.”
Charlotte: “The Reading & Leeds Festival crowds were very big for us this year!”
Billy: “Yeah, there were about 40,000 people watching us!”
Charlotte: “That Communist Festival we did in France (looking at Billy), the whole capacity was like 100,000 or something ridiculous like that (laughing)! That was definitely the biggest stage we’ve ever played, it was like twice the size of The Main Stage at Reading (laughing)!”
Billy: “Yeah!”

9.And as one of the great festival bands, if a compere was to introduce you on stage, what would be the perfect introduction?
Billy & Charlotte: (both laughing)
Billy: “This would be more of a musical intro, but you know in Kill Bill, when everytime there’s something sort of sinister about to happen, it goes (singing music), we’d have that I guess (laughing)?”
Charlotte: (laughing)
Billy: “It only lasts about 15 seconds doesn’t it (looking at Charlotte)?”
Charlotte: “Yeah, but the best intro we’ve ever seen though, Taking Back Sunday already have it, so we can’t steal it from them!”
Billy & Charlotte: (both laugh heartily)
Billy: “Can you think of anything else (looking at Charlotte)?”
Charlotte: “I think something musical is definitely the way to go, with us.”
Billy: “Yeah, but we would like Colin Murray to introduce us on stage, because he’s awesome!”
Charlotte: “Yeah. At the moment, we have the theme tune from Blade Runner, which is definitely by far the best intro that we’ve ever had. I think it’s really cool (smiling)!”
Billy: “George Lucas’ THX (mimicking sound).”
Billy & Charlotte: (both laugh heartily)

10.Now that you’re a little bit older and have toured so much, has this altered the way you perceive your music and songs?
Billy: “Absolutely (without any hesitation)!”
Charlotte: “Yeah, completely! It’s really, really changed us and made us the band we are today, and it made the second album what it is I think – the touring.”
Billy: “Yeah, and I think had it not been for the amazing responses we get for Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen, we would have been tired of that song long ago!”
Charlotte: “Yeah (laughing)!”
Billy: “You know, it gets such a great reception and it becomes celebratory for us…”
Charlotte: “Yeah, it has a completely different meaning that track now, it’s just a massive party at the end of the set (big smile)!”
Billy: “Yeah. At first, the song was about unrequited love and really, really wanting to have sex…”
Charlotte: (laughing)
Billy: “And now it’s about having a party!”
Charlotte: “I know.”
Billy: “So yeah, it’s completely changed the meaning of the song for us – it’s about celebration! I think that’s what’s great about being on tour, you can play songs that you don’t think will go down well, but they just kick off and for us, it instils this confidence in the songs! Girls & Boys I think, when we first played that, we were like, “God, this is so nonlinear, for us this is a really ambitious song and nobody’s going to get it.” But everytime we play it, it just utterly (pausing), it’s a circus – it really is!”

11.With so much more material to now choose from, how do you decide on a Set List?
Charlotte: “Well, we all decide between us, but it’s so nice to have a lot more songs to choose from now!”
Billy: “Yeah, definitely!”

12.Over the years, which member of The Subways has most surprised the others with something that they’ve done?

Charlotte: “Josh (without any hesitation)! You never quite know what to expect (laughing)!”
Billy: ”There is never a day that goes by where that boy doesn’t surprise me!”
Charlotte: “Yeah (laughing).”
Billy: “You know, if he told me one day that he was the leader of a cult and they were all going to take over the world, I would be like (pausing), well, I would expect it (laughing)!”
Charlotte: “It’s a bit mean that we’re ganging up on him and he’s not here to defend himself.”
Billy: “Yeah, I know.”
*I joke that if I asked Josh this question, he’d probably say that Billy and Charlotte have surprised him the most*
Billy & Charlotte: “Yeah (both laugh heartily)!”

13.Have you ever asked anyone for an autograph, and can you remember the first time that you signed something for a fan?
Billy: “I’ve asked SO MANY people for autographs! I’m a complete fanboy (laughing)! Everytime I see Dave Grohl, I’m like (gasping), “I’m not worthy!” (laughing)…”
Charlotte: “(laughing) I remember at Reading Festival where you queued up to get Slipknot’s signatures…”
Billy: “Yeah and Jason from the Von Bondies, I got him to sign something for me when they played down at The 100 Club – he was a God to me! I even remember touching his guitar (smiling) and thinking, “I can’t believe I’m touching his guitar!” (laughing).”
Charlotte: “Yeah (laughing)!”
Billy: “But now I look back at it and I’m like, “What a fool – what a little boy I was (laughing)!” But everytime I see Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro, I just turn to jelly! And he always comes up and goes (doing an uncanny impression), “Hey Billy, how you doing?” in his sexy Scottish accent. Yeah, he’s just astonishing as a musician and as a really disarming, genuinely nice character. I haven’t asked him for his autograph yet though (laughing)!”
Charlotte: (laughing)
Billy: “The first autograph I signed (thinking), I think it was probably for my nieces actually…”
Charlotte: “Yeah, we did family things really early on didn’t we (looking at Billy).”

14.What are your Mobile Ringtones?

Billy: “Oh, I have Not Everyone by Nine Black Alps, but for my girlfriend, I have Make It Wit Chu by Queens Of The Stone Age (laughs heartily).”
Charlotte: “Mine is The Con by Tegan & Sara and for my boyfriend, I have Venus As A Boy by Björk…”
Billy: “Which has a really annoying start, it’s a great song, but the start is SO annoying!”
Charlotte: “I like the start!”
Billy: “Everytime it comes on, I’m like, “Please change it!” (laughing)…”
Charlotte: “I think it’s really cool (laughing)!”
Billy: “The funny thing is, is that everytime my girlfriend calls me, I don’t want to answer the phone, because I love hearing the song so much and I want to hear more of it (laughing)!”

15.Does the creative process still give you the same buzz from beginning to end, i.e. that you essentially begin with a blank canvas, and by the end of it, you’re left with something that didn’t previously exist?

Charlotte: “Yeah, definitely!”
Billy: “Yeah!”
Charlotte: “Especially at the moment, because we hadn’t written for…”
Billy: “For a long time!”
Charlotte: “Yeah, for a long time – since the second album – but I think now, we almost feel relieved to be actually starting again (laughing)!”
Billy: “Yeah, I mean after we finished All Or Nothing, we were all creatively and artistically completely spent. I would sit there with my acoustic guitar and I couldn’t think of anything, and anything that I did play, was either off All Or Nothing or was a cover song, like Oasis or Queens Of The Stone Age or Biffy Clyro or Death Cab For Cutie or whoever. I just couldn’t find it within in myself and only recently, have I started writing again, and I think like Charlotte says, it’s relief more than anything, that we feel like we’ve still got it and can still articulate ourselves (laughing)!”
Charlotte: “Yeah!”
Billy: “Anytime I finish a song – and I know when I’ve finished it, because I think, “There’s no way that I could make this statement more potent!” That’s really what a song is for me, it’s a story, it’s a statement – it’s not perfection, it’s imperfect – but it’s the strongest message that I could make and the last 2 songs that we’ve written, have pretty much been like that. I feel like we’re getting much more skilled and honed as songwriters and musicians, we’re more comfortable in our skins and we’re not so worrisome about what other people might think of it. Because all we want to do now, is please ourselves and make art that we’d want to listen to!”

16.Of all your songs to date, which one has been the easiest to write and record, and which one has been the most difficult?
Billy: “(laughs heartily) Um (thinking)… Oh Yeah has been the easiest, because we had the music (pausing), when we wrote Oh Yeah, I was still living with my parents and I was sitting on my bed in my bedroom, and at that time, every song that I wrote was in E major you know? And I came up with this great E major idea and funnily enough, Oh Yeah is like a combination of about 3 old songs and we whittled them down into what we thought was 1 great song! So we did that in a rehearsal room that we paid £3.50 per hour to rent…”
Charlotte: “Yeah.”
Billy: “We did it in like a day didn’t we (looking at Charlotte)? And our friend said that we could go and demo it at his university, so we trekked up there and I remember writing the lyrics on the way – we recorded it and if I listen back to it, it hasn’t changed since then!”
Charlotte: “Yeah.”
Billy: “It was like 2001 / 2002 and then when we recorded it in 2005, it stayed exactly the same. So I think that was probably the most fluid writing and recording process we’ve ever had!”
Charlotte: “Ever!”
Billy: “Longest, I’d say Strawberry Blonde.”
Charlotte: “I was going to say Alright actually…”
Billy: “OK, but that was a rather easy process…”
Charlotte: “Yeah, it was a rather easy process, but it just took us (pausing), it was a song that we had for quite a long time, but we never played it live, unlike Shake! Shake! and Girls & Boys…”
Billy: “I guess it was a work-in-progress for a very long time, yeah.”
Charlotte: “Yeah and then when we got into the studio, and we heard what Butch was doing with the different sounds, it was like, “This song makes sense now!” (smiling)…”
Billy: “Yeah. I mean even before we thought of recording, Butch took us into a rehearsal studio for 2 weeks in Fairbank, Los Angeles and then just stood there, watched us and listened to us jamming out the songs, like we were playing a gig. And he’d sort of amend things and ask questions like, “Why is that there? Is that drum-fill needed? What does that lyric mean? Why is that bass-part doing what it’s doing?” We kept playing Alright over and over and he said, “Something’s not right with the middle-section.” Then he said, “Why don’t you start with a C instead of an E?” So I went, “OK,” then sat down with my acoustic guitar and it just came out! And it’s probably one of the best harmonies we’ve ever written, and from the moment that we finished recording Young For Eternity – which is when we actually wrote Alright and demoed it – to the moment where we finished the song and recorded it, was about 3 years!”
Charlotte: “Yeah (laughs heartily).”
Billy: “So, A LONG time (laughing)!”

17.You briefly touched on The Subways’ harmonies a moment ago and funnily enough, my next question was going to be… I really love all of the harmonies on All Or Nothing – but from all of your favourite artists’ songs, are there any harmonies that you both love?
Billy: “Um (thinking), there are loads, but I’ve just drawn a blank right now (laughing)!”
Charlotte: “Me too (laughing)! I guess a lot of pop stuff really, like Kylie Minogue…”
Billy: “Yeah – Wow – I mean that is amazing!”
Charlotte: “Yeah, and other female artists as well, like Madonna and Nelly Furtado, just like the layering of vocals on certain parts of those tracks. For me anyway, that’s what I’d say I find interesting.”
Billy: “Yeah, there’s something and I’m going to regret it, because in 2 hours, I’m going to be like, “I wish I had said that song (laughing)!” I’m just running them through in my mind right now (long pause + thinking). OK, I’ve got one (singing), “Now I'm everyone, now I'm everyone, now I'm everyone…” What’s that song (thinking)?”
Charlotte: “Biffy Clyro – Glitter And Trauma?”
Billy: “No, no, no, it’s not Glitter And Trauma, but that’s a good one as well – oh where’s my iPod gone?”
*Billy gets up to look for his iPod, which he’s left somewhere in the dressing room*
Charlotte: “With Biffy Clyro, we’ve always said that having twins as the rhythm section and as the backing vocals, is just genius (laughing)!”
Billy: “It’s a genius touch, yeah!”
Charlotte: “Because they’re obviously so in-tune with each other (smiling)!”
*After much searching, Billy finally locates his iPod*
Billy: “There it is, I’ve got it! I’ll think of the song literally as I get there though (laughing) – I know I will! It’s got to be in the Biffy Clyro playlist for sure… Now I’m Everyone.”
Charlotte: “Now I’m Everyone, yeah, yeah!”

18.Every fan of The Subways knows that you all adore films, but if you could have starred in any film, which one would it have been?

Billy: “That’s a great question (excitedly)! These are great questions!”
Charlotte: “Yeah!”
Billy: “Wow (laughs heartily)!”
Charlotte: “I know mine I think…”
Billy: “Go on…”
Charlotte: “Two For The Road and I’d be Audrey Hepburn (big smile)!”
Billy: “That’s a brilliant film!”
Charlotte: “Because I love the study of the relationship between the two people, and how it had its ups-and-downs throughout the years…”
Billy: “Yeah!”
Charlotte: “And as well as that, she got to wear so many cool clothes, so many different fashions to mark the era, so that would be really fun to do (laughing)!”
Billy: “It’s a glorious film!”
Charlotte: “Yeah.”
Billy: “It’s a pity I haven’t got my film collection in front of me right now (laughing), I’m just thinking through all the films I own…”
Charlotte: “You clearly want to be Batman (laughs heartily)!”
Billy: “Gangs Of New York by Scorsese and I think I’d have to play Amsterdam…”
Charlotte: “What, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character?”
Billy: “Yeah, or I would have liked a shot at Daniel-Day Lewis’ character (pausing), I say that, but there’s no way that you could ever top that performance! I just love the period-style and the character development, I think it’s great (smiling)!”

19.What is your biggest extravagance?

Billy: “That MacBook over there (laughing + pointing to his laptop on the sofa)!”
Charlotte: “Definitely clothes for me!”
Billy: “For me, the house (laughs heartily)! Yeah, I’m going to be paying that off for a long time!”
Billy & Charlotte: (both laughing)

20.Which non-musician do you think has had the greatest impact on The Music World?
Billy: “OK, wow (long pause + thinking)… I think Bukowski you know? I think he had and continues to have a huge impact on musicians!”
Charlotte: “Yeah!”
Billy: “Or William S. Burroughs – Beat Writers are great for that sort of thing aren’t they? like Kerouac. Chuck Palahniuk who wrote Fight Club, I think he’s had a really big influence on me actually, and Aldous Huxley obviously had that influence on Jim Morrison, because he took the name The Doors from The Doors Of Perception (pausing), that’s not one is it Billy (laughing), it’s four! Can you think of any (looking at Charlotte)?”
Charlotte: “It’s a really hard question (thinking), I guess as a band, we all like film-makers, because we take a lot of inspiration from films, like Christopher Nolan as a director…”
Billy: “Yeah, Tim Burton – the auteurs, we like the auteurs don’t we (looking at Charlotte)?”
Charlotte: “Yeah!”
Billy: “The Coen Brothers.”
Charlotte: “Yeah, yeah, The Coen Brothers actually!”

21.Many music magazines now feature a guest columnist discussing a topic of their choice, but if you were asked to contribute an article on a subject that interests you, what would you write about?
Billy: “The history of religion!”
Charlotte: “Interesting…”
Billy: “Yeah, I mean I love history and I love the psychology involved in religion – I’m a big fan of psychology and biology – all of the ology’s (laughing)! And politics and history, that kind of stuff!”
Charlotte: “My article would almost be similar, because I was going to study philosophy at university, so that’s something that I’m interested in and it would be great to get back into it again actually and read up on it, because I’ve forgotten since we’ve been on tour (laughing). We always used to take philosophers’ ideas and apply them to current world issues, so I think that’s what I would write about.”

22.Liverpool was recently voted as "England's Most Musical City" in a national campaign set up by the Arts Council – but is this the city that you would have chosen?
Charlotte: “It’s a great choice, because obviously it has so much musical history…”
Billy: “And we recorded Young For Eternity there (laughs heartily)!”
Charlotte: “And we recorded Young For Eternity there (laughing), yeah, so we’ve got ties to it! But there are some great musical cities, like Glasgow…”
*I remark that Glasgow was actually named as a United Nations City Of Music, by the UN cultural body, UNESCO*
Charlotte: “Oh was it? Yeah definitely, because there are so many different bands that have come from there…”
Billy: “Oxford as well I think, because it’s responsible for bands like Radiohead and Foals.”
Charlotte: “Manchester and Cardiff too actually.”
Billy: “Cardiff, yeah, Future Of The Left – one of the greatest bands ever!”
Charlotte: “I’ve been to Cardiff a lot of times and there’s a really nice communal atmosphere there, like bands who are quite successful, middle bands and bands who are just starting out, will all hang out together and they’ll help each other out (smiling)!”

23.A lot of your songs have memorable guitar riffs, but what do you think are some of the greatest riffs of all-time, and if you were asked to submit one track for use in the popular video game Guitar Hero, which one would you go for?
Billy: “(laughs heartily) Thank You for saying that about my guitar riffs!”
Charlotte: “It’s funny that you should ask that actually, because on this tour, we’ve had people singing riffs, rather than lyrics (laughing)!”
Billy: “Yeah, I mean that’s what I do at Biffy Clyro gigs (smiling)…”
Charlotte: “Yeah (laughing)!”
Billy: “That’s what makes them great for me, is that you can sing along with the guitar lines, because it’s so musical and that’s what we’re totally astonished by when we play live, we’re like, “Wow, this is amazing – this is what we do at shows!” (laughing).”
Charlotte: “Queens Of The Stone Age as well…”
Billy: “Oh (excitedly), Sick Sick Sick I have to say, is just brilliant (singing riff)! Or No One Knows or Threes And Sevens (singing riff). Biffy Clyro – Joy.Discovery.Invention. or Bodies In Flight. Future Of The Left – Small Bones Small Bodies or Plague Of Onces… God, there are loads aren’t there (laughing)?”
Charlotte: “Yeah.”
Billy: “Death Cab For Cutie – Soul Meets Body, the chorus part!”
Charlotte: “I was going to say that one actually!”
Billy: “And the title track on We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes by Death Cab For Cutie as well – it’s probably one of the most subtle, brilliant, melodic, dynamic and glorious guitar lines ever! I mean everytime I play it, someone turns their head and says, “What the hell’s that!?!” It’s transcendental – everyone realises how good it is! Wow, these are great questions man (laughing)!”
Charlotte: “Yeah, they’re great!”

Billy: “What other riffs can I think of (long pause + thinking)? Supermassive Black Hole by Muse.”
Charlotte: “Oh yeah (excitedly), Muse have loads of great riffs!”
Billy: “That song was ringing in the back of my head (laughing)!”
*I say that when Muse played in Brazil, fans sang all of the guitar parts instead of the lyrics*
Charlotte: “Really (excitedly)!?! That’s amazing (smiling)!”
Billy: “Brilliant! It’s universal isn’t it?”
Charlotte: “You can totally see that happening though! You also asked us which song of ours we would submit to Guitar Hero didn’t you?”
Billy & Charlotte: “Girls & Boys (in unison)!”

24.Which guitar brand / manufacturer would you most like to have an endorsement deal with?
Billy: “Gibson (without any hesitation), yeah! I need more Gibson guitars (laughs heartily)!”
*I joke that they’ll be on the phone after reading this interview*
Charlotte: (laughing)
Billy: “Fingers crossed, yeah (laughing)!”

25.Do you have any unreleased tracks that you all still feel have a lot of potential, and which could perhaps one day make it on to a Subways album or even a rarities collection?

Billy: “Absolutely!”
Charlotte: “There are loads – we have so many leftovers! And there are some that we’ve never even recorded properly either, which we could perhaps do what we did with Oh Yeah, like piece them together with new ideas and stuff.”
Billy: “Yeah! There are a bunch of songs which we’ve all probably forgotten about, but if we reworked them, they’d probably be some of the best stuff we’ve ever done!”

26.Continuing with this train of thought, of all your songs to date, are there any that you now think of as great lost singles?
Billy: “Yeah, we always thought Mary should have been a single off our first record!”
Charlotte: “Yeah and I Want To Hear What You Have Got To Say, gets a single reaction now doesn’t it (looking at Billy)?”
Billy: “Yeah, we wanted to put Mary out as a Double A-side single though…”
Charlotte: “But it never quite worked out.”

27.There is a realisation amongst nearly every artist, in that they can never be completely content – there will always be a strong desire to create. Do you also share this feeling?
Billy: “Yes (without any hesitation)!”
Charlotte: “Completely! And I was thinking about this the other day, there’s always something – like you’re always needing to write a better song, you’re always needing to do a better show, there’s always something to strive for, you’re never done I don’t think… ever (laughing)!”
Billy: “Someone was asking me about this the other day and they were saying, “Have you achieved your goals?” And I was like, “Well no, I’m still growing and I’m still learning from my mistakes – I’m still not the good guy that I really want to be and that’s what my songs are about, they’re self-analysis and realising my mistakes and wanting to learn from them. So I still think I’ve got a huge, really long way to go (laughing)! I mean my songs draw upon my negative neurosis and my insecurities and my wants and my needs and my dreams and my aspirations. So, I’m still heavily unfulfilled, but I’m glad about that (smiling), because I’m only 23 (laughing)!”
Charlotte: “Yeah (laughing)!”
Billy: “I don’t want to be fulfilled, because I would be purposeless and that would be awful!”
Charlotte: “Yeah, it’s the same for me, there are so many things that I still want to achieve (smiling)!”

28.Lastly, if you had to place 5 Subways songs in a time-capsule for future generations to hear, what would they be?
Charlotte: “Oh God…”
Billy: “Wow! I think I’m going to pick 2 from the first record and 3 from the second.”
Charlotte: “Yeah, I agree with that.”
*I mention that if it helps, Billy and Charlotte can choose their 5 songs individually*
Billy & Charlotte: “Oh, OK (excitedly)!”
Billy: “Well for me…”
Charlotte: “It will be interesting to see what Billy says.”
Billy: “From the first record, I’m going to choose (thinking)… Mary and With You. And off the second record I’m going to choose, Girls & Boys (long pause + thinking), Strawberry Blonde and Lost Boy.”
Charlotte: “Ooh, we’re very, very similar actually (laughing)…”
Billy: “Ahh, damn it (laughing)!”
Charlotte: “Off the first record, I Want To Hear What You Have Got To Say.”
Billy: “Good choice!”
Charlotte: “And With You as well. Second record, Girls & Boys, Strawberry Blonde and Shake! Shake!”
Billy: “Good choices!”
Charlotte: “We’re very close (laughing)!”
Billy: “I Won’t Let You Down?”
Charlotte: “I was going to say I Won’t Let You Down or Shake! Shake!, but I decided to go with Shake! Shake! (laughing).”
*After our interview has finished, Billy and Charlotte very kindly sign my All Or Nothing album and singles, and Billy says how Charlotte’s Mum has every Subways record ever released on display in the hallway of her home! I think The Subways are such a great band and it’s always a great joy speaking to them – hope we can do it all over again very soon*

A very special thanks to Billy and Charlotte, to The Subways’ Tour Manager Steve, and to James @ Pomona, for all of their time and help.

Bristol Set List

Young For Eternity
Oh Yeah
All Or Nothing
Always Tomorrow
Shake! Shake!
I Won’t Let You Down
I Want To Hear…
With You
This Is The Club…

Strawberry Blonde
Girls & Boys
Rock ‘n’ Roll Queen

“The world is always some kind of daydream
Another message that they just don't see”

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?