September 14, 2016

The Subways @ SotAlaZopa: on the microphone for the right things

Kunigunde Weissenegger

They are The Subways – and that’s why we think there’s no need for further explanation. They will be playing this Saturday, 17th of September 2016 at the SotAlaZopa Festival in Primiero San Martino di Castrozza in Trentino. We had the chance to send them some questions. So, here’s the interview with Billy Lunn about touring, songwriting and being political as an artist – Charlotte Cooper and Josh Morgan were busy preparing the stage for their concert…

franz: What were you up to, the very moment you started reading the first question of this interview? 

Billy: I finished watching the Liverpool vs. Leicester City game on my laptop. My team Arsenal won today, and it was a good treat to see before going onstage at Ring Festival in Austria. But I like to watch the other teams’ games too! 

You have been together since 2003, 13 years now! Congratulations! …almost like a married couple. How does it feel? 

Billy: Thank you! Yes, we are all essentially married to this band! We spend so much time with each other, and we know each other so well – but that’s what makes this whole adventure so special.

One word, please, for each one of you: Who is Billy? What characterises Charlotte and Josh?

Billy: For me I would say “nerd”. For Josh I would say “gamer” and for Charlotte I would say “athlete”!

How many concerts do you play in a year? How is it to be on tour? Exhausting, weird, boring, cool, fun…? What’s best and the worst thing about being on the road? What should never be missing on tour?

Billy: We love being on tour. For us, being on the road and playing live shows is what being in this band is all about. We love rolling into new cities, new countries, new continents, and just rocking out and causing chaos in the moshpit. We also love all the stuff that is attached to that – meeting new people and visiting and getting to see all the amazing places in this huge world of ours. 

One thing you should never be missing on tour?  


When you sing about “Good Times“ what do you mean and what are you thinking about? What should the song “do“ to the audience? 

Billy: I wrote the song when I was trying to deal with a really low point in my depression. I just wanted to feel that there would be a “good time” again, though when you’re really depressed it feels like nothing is ever going to be good again – ever. I hope that the audience take from that song that there is always someone else struggling too, that they are not alone, and that no matter how pointless life feels at the time, it’s always worth living for the next day. 

Your song “Rock & Roll Queen” was part of The Wave’s soundtrack. How do you remember that movie? Are you worried about the current situation in Europe and the world?

Billy: I am deeply concerned about the way Europe is heading at the moment. The EU referendum in the UK – what we call “Brexit” – was a huge disappointment for me and for the band, because we feel such kinship with Europe and with the idea of working together with Europe to fight for the right ideas: freedom, justice, equality, international relations, peace. It really feels like things are heading in the wrong direction; it’s almost as if everyone has forgotten what happened in Germany in the 1930s. Racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, they are all on the rise in the UK and people are being attacked in the streets. As well as this, refugees who have had to flee their homes in war-torn regions – people who are suffering from broken families, death and homelessness – are now becoming the victims of all the hate over here too. I really hope compassionate people realize that we are having to fight hate and fear all over again in this century, and oppose hatred and bigotry.

Do artists and musicians have to make political statements? Do you do it? How? 

Billy: Artists don’t have to make political statements, but they probably should more. We have the microphone, the paintbrush, the camera, and we should all use that a little more to appeal to our audiences to care for the right things. I’m quite political on Twitter and Facebook, and I stand for the Labour Party in the UK for local elections (but I always seem to lose – haha), but I have decided to work that political energy into more of my songs. You will see that on our fifth album in a few years, I think!

Could you anticipate some of your upcoming projects? What’s going to be on over the next few months? 

Billy: We are actually taking a break now so that I can study English at Cambridge University. I will also be writing, recording and mixing our fifth album in that time – so the next few years will be very busy! 

What do British do better than the rest of Europe or the world? 

Billy: Complain in our heads. We never say anything aloud – we just complain in our heads! 

Thanks a lot and really looking forward to meeting you live! 

Billy: It’s been a real pleasure! Looking forward to meeting you!


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