Teenagers who dream of a career in music or are just bored enough to find a productive way to entertain themselves can end up being the next big thing. It could almost be a recipe to stardom.
The Subways come from a very similar starting place. Bassist Charlotte Cooper notes that she met guitarist/vocalist Billy Lunn and drummer Josh Morgan when she was 13. Cooper, along with Lunn and Morgan (who are brothers), grew up in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, England.
Cooper recants those days fondly: “We were always hanging out because Billy and I were dating at that time.”
They all had a love for music and started out covering Nirvana and Green Day tunes.
“It was quite a natural and organic start,” she says.
Cooper remembers that they started playing shows in their local area and in London. After playing their fair share of small venues, the Subways signed up for the 2004 Glastonbury Festival Unsigned Performers Competition and won. Suddenly, they began to play for bigger audiences, and by year’s end, they had recorded their first album, Young for Eternity.
The album’s release brought them commercial success and a dedicated cult following. John Peel, a popular and respected British DJ, was the first to play their single, “At 1AM” on national radio.
Their music made it across the seas then they appeared on an episode of “The O.C.” and played two songs. One of which, “Rock & Roll Queen,” is an energetic, rebellious, love song.
For their sophomore effort, All or Nothing, they had the pleasure of working with Butch Vig. Cooper is grateful for the opportunity to work with such a notable producer.
“It was absolutely amazing,” she relays. “It was amazing just to get to meet him.”
During the time they spent working with Vig in the studio they found him completely disarming.
“He put us all at ease and made being in the studio such a joy,” Cooper says. “Vig’s ideas were amazing and complemented the songs we had.”
But even with the commercial success, world tours and getting to work with big names in the music business, the Subways are still the band that started for the love of music and the joy of spending time together. Much of their songwriting process starts out organically, like it did in the beginning. Lunn will approach Cooper with ideas on the bus, and they’ll mess around with things.
Cooper feels that band has become a family: “They are pretty much like my brothers, and I am like their sister. We have this really strange, really close relationship. It makes it really fun to be on the road together, and it helps with making really dynamic live shows.”
Since winning the competition that shot them to stardom four years ago, they’ve become more experienced and mature, yet they’re still the same kids from the suburbs of London. They still enjoy hanging out with friends, drinking wine and cooking, being on tour in the States so they can see movies before they’re released back home and going to local shows and checking out the new ’n’ upcoming acts from their area.
It is without question that the cycle of musical influence will be continued and helped along by the Subways as they continue to reach a wider audience.
All or Nothing will be available Sept. 9. For more information, visit www.thesubways.net.