JOHN PEEL TALKS US THROUGH THE SUBWAYS MAGNIFICENT GLASTONBURY COMP WIN IN 2004
THE SUBWAYS AT GLASTONBURY 2004 PHOTOS BY STUART NICHOLLS
"In 2004, I was working in a hotel, collecting the dirty sheets from the rooms. During this period, I was also writing lots of music, recording more and more of the band’s demos in my parent’s council house, before sending the CDs out to promoters in London for small gigs. Our neighbours were incredibly understanding. One day, one of the local bands I was recording in my parent’s tiny kitchen told me they were sending their demo to Glastonbury: ‘If Michael Eavis likes it, he’ll put you on The Other Stage!’ I sent one of ours off to the address I’d found, along with a batch of about thirty others we were mailing out to London promoters for the next month’s gigs. Two weeks later, I received a phone call from a man named Wes White: ‘We love the demo, and Michael wants you to play a competition at his local working men’s club in Pilton!’ We rehearsed, we played, and, after our mere three-song-set, as we rushed to pack away our equipment, Mr Eavis came straight up onstage and told us we were playing The Other Stage at Glastonbury Festival. I don’t remember the gig itself. I remember the few days before, camping out and sinking pints around the fire, I remember sound check, then standing side of stage about to go on, and, finally, walking offstage after the performance itself. The late, great John Peel introduced us, and he was the first to play our first single ‘At 1am’ on the radio. It’s totally crazy when you think about it. Sitting here, writing this now, I realise how much I’ve taken this brief, whirlwind of a period in 2004 for granted. This was an incredibly important moment for the band, as was the support and encouragement we received in all of these early days. But I’m also reminded of our precociousness, tenacity, and our drive to make, record, and play onstage the music we truly believe in. And we still do." Billy Lunn
"It was all such a crazy time - we were so young and it was all so exciting. When we sent the demo off to Michael Eavis, I don't think we even expected anyone would listen to it, let alone for us to be shortlisted for the final. It was a bizarre experience for us to play in that small room in Pilton, knowing there were judges in the crowd, but I guess we just got up and did our thing. We couldn't quite believe it when we found out we had won - 18 years old and we were going to play Glastonbury. We had being playing the local and London club/pub scene for a couple of years at this point; small, dark dingy venues We had no idea what to expect from The Other Stage, it was so far removed from what we were used to. I don't have many memories of actually being on the stage, it was all a bit of a blur. I do remember that it was raining and everyone was wearing rain macs and had umbrellas. It was so cool to have space to move and dance properly for the first time and the whole set seemed to go by in a second (we probably did play at lightning speed!). We were camped right by the stage and of course grabbed the opportunity and stayed and celebrated the whole weekend. It was the start of our love for festivals, and every summer they are just as fun for us 15 years later!
I have a very clear memory of John Peel playing At 1AM - our first ever national radio airing. We were crammed in the back of the small van we used to transport all our gear around and we started to hear John Peel talking about a band we knew must be us: "Is it really? Can't be....no, I think it might be!" Despite our age, we knew this was an important moment and along with the Glastonbury show, this is where things really started moving and everything that came after it, I think can be tracked to this time. So thank you Michael and thank you John....15 years later and we are still loving this life!" Charlotte Cooper