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The Subways - Keeping It Underground

Author: Carlisle Rogers
Thursday, 7 August 2008
3D's Carlisle Rogers talks with Brit 'it' band The Subways about recording with a production legend.

It is one thing to play Glastonbury, have John Peel playing your first single and go on to play all the other big festivals in the UK, play with The Strokes, Foo Fighters and just about every other vaguely relevant band - it's another to have Butch Vig producing your album. Butch Vig who took a bunch of scraggly-haired white noise pumping white kids and crafted Nevermind. Butch Vig who produced both Gish and Siamese Dream for Smashing Pumpkins.

All or Nothing is The Subways' second album, and lead singer Billy Lunn says it was a long and winding road getting it done and dusted.

'After we finished touring in 2006, we started to concentrate on the new album. We released Young For Eternity and toured for about two-and-a-half years, and we had all these songs we wrote along the way, during sound checks, on the tour bus, and we'd slash out ideas and sometimes play them live to test them,' he says. 'So we had a load of songs by the end of the tour and our manager said, 'Listen to all your favourite records and figure out which producers were involved in those records and I'll see if I can sort out some meetings.''

Lunn says that of all the producers they listed for the label, Butch Vig wasn't on there. He was out of their league, there was no way in the world he would want to hang out with a British indie band to talk about their new album.

'We met all these other producers and their ideas were OK, but we didn't feel like we had that connection that we felt was totally necessary to make this record,' Lunn says. 'After we met all these producers, I just said 'Guys, should we just call Butch Vig and see what he says-' and luckily enough he had just finished recording a record with Against Me! and was looking for a new band to produce. We sent a demo over, he listened to it and got straight on the phone and was like 'I really like the songs, really like the ideas, let's go out for coffee.' He was mixing in New York, so we flew over to New York, sat down, had coffee, started talking and discussing. We met him once before, he came to a Los Angeles show at The Troubadour where Charlotte [Cooper, bass] and Josh [Morgan, drums] had to be escorted from the tour bus on to the stage at stage time because they were under 21. We were chilling out in the bus waiting and we get this knock at the bus door and it's Butch Vig. We're like 'Fucking hell, Butch Vig is at the bus door and he wants to come in!' He was like, 'Hey I really liked the first record so I thought I'd come down and see you guys and have a chat.' We chatted and found out he was really disarming, a genuinely nice guy who put us all at ease. We felt that we could make the record we really, really wanted to make.'

WHO: The Subways
WHAT: All or Nothing through Infectious/Warner
WHEN: Out now