Interview – The Subways

The Subways have recently released a new single titled Fight, which is possibly their most politically active track to date! I decided to have a chat with bassist Charlotte Cooper to find out a little more about the track – read on below to find out more!

By Jane Howkins

You recently signed to Alcopop! Records. How has it been working with them and what prompted the move?

We had heard great things about the label and toured with Art Brut in 2020 who are signed to them. They have been incredible so far. They have so much enthusiasm, joy and passion for our music and have really creative ideas for promotion. It’s been really fun working with them so far!

You recently released a new single titled Fight. What can you tell us about the track?

Billy wrote the song after he attended a Black Lives Matter protest last year. He describes it as “a letter in two parts: a gesture of solidarity with the Black community and communities of colour, as they face their daily oppression at the hands of systemic racism. And it’s a wake-up-call to the white community that such oppressions do in fact exist, and that we must acknowledge these oppressions and fight alongside marginalised communities as allies. Musically the harsher sounds on the song represent the problems we still face, whilst the sweeter sounds represent the hope. Overall it’s a hopeful song, that we can all fight and strive to make things better.

Fight was inspired by the recent Black Lives Matters protests. Is this a cause close to your hearts?

Absolutely. I have learnt so much this year and one of the biggest things is the level of privilege I experience as a white person. This has to change. Billy has written a leaflet to go alongside the 7inch release for how we can all be better allies and what we can do to encourage change – I learnt a lot from it!

Are there any other political causes that are important to you that you would like to bring attention to?

I am very worried about the climate crisis and how there isn’t enough being done at the highest level to prevent the spiralling increase in global temperature. Of course there are things we can all do on a personal level, but unless those with power change, we have a real crisis to contend with. For example, the government are encouraging us to walk and cycle more. I think there needs to be a way better cycling infrastructure, so people feel more safe cycling in cities and towns. Energy needs to be 100% renewable, electric cars need to be subsidised, the way we produce food needs to change….I could go on indefinitely!

Do you have any more singles planned for release anytime soon? If so, what are they and when can we expect them to be released?

We do have plans for something else new towards the end of the year, we hope, but nothing definite yet. The album is ready to go, but we don’t want to release it until we can tour it properly. Playing live shows has always been everything to us, and we are so proud of this album, we want to wait until we can play it loud!

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected the workings of the band over the past year or so?

We were on tour celebrating 15 years of our first album, Young For Eternity, when the pandemic hit. We have postponed the shows twice now, but hope we can finish the tour in autumn this year. Although we definitely don’t want to do this until it is 100% safe to do so.

Do you have any plans to release a full-length album in the near future?

We were in the middle of recording our 5th album when the pandemic hit, which we were really excited about. We all live in different places (I’m in Sheffield, Billy is in Hertfordshire where our studio is, and Josh is in France), so it was impossible for us to get together in person. We found a way to work from our separate locations to finish the album. I set up a vocal booth in the corner of my bedroom and found a way to send bass and synth tracks to Billy. He then made it all sound magical in his studio!

You recently announced some rescheduled tour dates across the UK. Are you excited? Would you ever consider doing socially distanced gigs?

Billy has actually done a couple of acoustic socially distanced gigs this year and I think he just really enjoyed playing again! I guess never say never for a full band show! Although I think the full tour needs to happen once we can all get close together again…we hope this will be September, although right now I can’t imagine it! A note to your readers….there might be Sheffield, Leeds and Hull warm up shows to look out for!

What sort of music have you been listening to recently that you can recommend to our readers? Have your influences changed much over the years?

We interviewed Nova Twins for the B Side of the Fight 7inch. They are a super cool band with huge tunes and a big sound. They are top of my list to see when gigs happen again – I’m in love with Georgia’s bass sound! I’ve been listening to The Big Moon and Magdalena Bay a lot recently and I really like everything Billie Eilish does. I guess I’ve embraced my love for pop music more the older I get, although I still love a good punk song!

You’re bringing Art Brut out on tour with you. Did you know the band before the tour was arranged, are you fans of their music?

We used to play with Art Brut waaaaaaay back when we first started out in the mid 2000s, so it’s amazing to see them and listen to them play again!

What can people expect from a The Subways gig, and why do you think people should come and see you perform live?

We have always loved being on stage and given a lot of energy. Can you imagine what we’ll be like after over a year inside?! We can’t wait to get back to seeing all your happy faces in the crowd!

Any last words for the fans?

We have been a band for over 15 years now and we are eternally grateful to our fans for coming to shows and getting excited about our new music. This single Fight, is the most political song we have ever written and we were quite nervous before it was released, but also knew that we really wanted to spread this message. The response has been humbling and overwhelming – that you so much to everyone that’s taken the time to listen. We’ll see you on stage soon!