UK garage rockers The Subways were one of the highlights of this year's Sziget Festival, treating fans to a simply brilliant set over on the A38 Stage. We sat down with bassist Charlotte Cooper ahead of the band's performance to discuss their decade-long career, with some surprising results
After one of the most exciting (and stressful) weeks of our lives, we've finally returned home from this year's magnificent Sziget Festival over in Budapest, Hungary, where we were treated to a crop of stellar performances from some of the biggest names in music. We try not to do favorites here at melty (impartial journalism and all that), but if we were to rank each day by the talent on offer across Sziget's multitude of stages, last Thursday's lineup, featuring Kasabian, The Subways, Marina & The Diamonds and Avicii, would certainly come close to topping the list. Having played the Main Stage twice in previous years, Day 5 saw The Subways take to the A38 Stage in front of a sea of devoted fans, and their relentlessly energetic set was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the week for many. We sat down with bassist Charlotte Cooper to talk about the band's most recent album, their dream collaborations and whether anything has changed since their career began over a decade ago.
Formed in Welwyn Garden City back in the early 2000s, the band got their big break after sending a demo tape to Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis, going on to play the Other Stage in 2004 after winning an unsigned bands competition. They've since gone from strength to strength and can now boast a huge European fanbase thanks to near-constant touring (talking about their success in Germany, Cooper said: "I really don’t know what it is about Germany: something about that just clicked for us. I don’t quite know how, but I’m very grateful for it!") As impressed as we are by the band's remarkable career - their first album, Young For Eternity, was released back in 2005 - Cooper remains humble about their success: "I don’t think anybody thinks they can be this lucky. It’s amazing. We’ve been doing this for ten years now and we’re baffled as to how we’ve got here… I think we’ve been blagging it for ten years, to be honest!" Speaking in more detail about their debut effort, Cooper said: "I think we had a lot to learn... There’s something about Young For Eternity that, listening to it now, almost seems quite naive. It does sound very young, but we were very young, we were 18, and that’s the best we could have produced back then."
Ten years in the business, two brothers in the band: as Cooper says, things can sometimes get volatile. So, how do the group manage to resolve creative conflicts as and when they arise? "We don’t often have creative differences, actually. That’s normally something that we’re pretty much on the same page with. Outside that, of course we have fights!... We have had our ups and downs, we have had our hard times, but we love being on tour and being on stage so much that nothing’s ever gonna come between that." The group's decision to self-title their most recent album was an obvious one according to Cooper: having collaborated with fans on the album's artwork, as well as engineering and producing the record themselves, the band felt that The Subways was the natural title for what Cooper describes as a "real team effort". Give the full interview a watch in full above, and let us know whether or not you're surprised by Cooper's confession about her dream studio collaboration: we know we were! Did you get a chance to see The Subways' set at Sziget this year?