Home > Interviews > Q&A: Charlotte Cooper (The Subways) at 2000 Trees Festival

Q&A: Charlotte Cooper (The Subways) at 2000 Trees Festival

Carrie Humphries


The Subways last played here at 2000 Trees Festival in 2010. Is there anything in particular that brings you back?

It’s really cool and in such a beautiful location. There’s something about this size of festival… It’s a lot more chilled than the big ones and the line up’s normally interesting. It’s not just the bands on stage that are great; all the little stalls and the camping area are fantastic. All in all, it’s just a really nice place to hang out. It’s the sort of place that you buy a ticket for before the line up is even announced, just because it’s a fantastic festival in itself.

Today you are doing two sets; one acoustic and one normal one. What can the audiences expect from your performances today?

Well I’ll be in the audience for the acoustic set; it’s just Billy on his own, which I’m quite looking forward to! His acoustic sets are usually quite good fun; it’s our songs, but stripped back and he also normally does a couple of covers. Then the live set tonight is our festival set; just a mixture of songs off our four albums. I’ve seen the stage and it looks pretty mental down there, so it should be good fun!

Is there anyone else on the line up this weekend that you’d recommend that people watch?

I think tonight’s line up in The Cave is really good. The Computers and Turbowolf are wicked, they’ve supported us before; so it should be good to see those guys again and it’ll be nice to just catch up with them as well before watching them play.

You have recently played quite a few European Festivals and gigs. How do those generally compare to the British scene?

Each one has kind of got it’s own vibe. We play quite a mix of different shows which I think is awesome to be able to do. The big ones all around Europe like Hurricane and Pukkelpop are great; they have a really special atmosphere about them. Then again, we’ve also done some really weird little ones in French towns. Community festivals that are free to get in. They’re all good, it’s just each one has got it’s own vibe really.

The Subways get to play on lots of tours and festivals and spend a lot of time on the road with other artists. What is the most weird and wonderful thing that you have ever seen while touring?

Pretty much every day something wacky happens. It’s lovely visiting different places each day and some of the bands that we’ve had on tour with us are a good laugh. We had these two bands called Purple and The Doom Rats on the last tour, who were both big party bands. You’d kind of open the door to their dressing room and it would just kind of be a rock ‘n’ roll scene. That was always quite entertaining

I really enjoyed your latest album The Subways and I have heard that you guys self produced it. What inspired this move and how did it compare to the recording process for previous albums?

Billy has always been interested in production and he’s done our demos right since the beginning. He’s also worked with a few local bands, so it’s something he’s always wanted to get in to. We were lucky enough to work with three amazing producers on the first three albums, so we learnt a lot from them by watching what they do. Billy got to this stage and felt that he was ready to give it a go himself, so it was just something that we went for. I’m glad that we made the decision as it was a completely different experience. We got to record it in our own studio space, so it was all a lot more relaxed than the big studio environment. When a song was ready we could just record it instantly while still playing shows in between.

Your debut album Young For Eternity turned ten recently and fans have been sharing their memories on Twitter and Facebook. How does it feel to have touched so many people emotionally with your music?

It’s been really nice actually. I had this idea of putting this big post on social media and collecting thoughts. People say to us things like “I met my girlfriend at your gig” or “I had this song playing at our wedding”, so I thought it would be really nice to collect all that together. It’s been so touching just reading through all the messages. My favourite ones are people who’ve met their best friend or their wife at a gig; I think that’s always a really sweet story.

Recently your band mate Billy has been campaigning quite heavily on Twitter for more females in rock music. What advice would you give to fellow ladies who want to get involved in music?

I still don’t really understand why there is a lack of ladies in rock music. People always ask me why I think this is, but I’m not sure why. I think that we just need more girls coming through. It is hard to stand in front of people and put yourself out there; but it is just as hard for a woman as it is for a man to pour out your soul on stage. The best thing for anyone starting out is to practice and play as many shows as possible, because it builds your confidence. The more you do it, the more you lose the fear and start to enjoy it. All I can say is just go for it; we want more ladies in rock!

Have you ever found yourself up against sexism when you’ve been performing or perhaps when people have been reviewing the band, and how do you cope with it?

I think that it used to bother me more when I was younger. To be honest, now I just really don’t give a shit! I’m really happy doing what I do, and I don’t really care about what other people think. I care what our fans think, but they’re generally nice people. I think the best thing to do is just try and ignore it. I’m quite lucky that I haven’t really experienced anything really horrible. When Lauren Mayberry from Chvrches wrote that piece about sexism, I was horrified by what people were saying about her. That’s just absolutely disgusting. Maybe I’m just lucky, I’ve not seen that kind of stuff; but I’m really pleased that she did write something like that, if it was that relentless.

Do you feel that the British rock scene is in a good or bad place at the moment and are there any new up and coming bands that you’d recommend seeing live?

I feel it’s in a fairly good place. I really like the bands that were on our last tour, Doom Rats and Purple. There’s also a band called Kill It Kid, who are not new, they’ve been around for quite a while now; but they were on our last tour and they are very good. I also love Wolf Alice; I think their album is incredible. It was really great to see it at number 2 in the charts and they have a really cool lady fronting the band. Hopefully she can inspire some girls as well!

What’s next for the band? Have you got any more tours coming up?

We’ve got more festivals coming up in the summer, which should be really fun. Then we have some more shows in the autumn. We’re doing another European tour in December which should be really good. We’re visiting Germany, so I will hopefully get to visit the Christmas markets! It’ll be a really lovely couple of weeks.

Photo by David Baird