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An Interview with: Subterraneans

Subterraneans are a four-piece punk-charged funk fusion band who hail from Winchester; we spent a short time with them finding out how they met, their favourite bands and what it's like being a female-fronted band.

Hey guys! What are your names and roles in the band?

Joe: I play guitar.

Georgia: I’m on bass and questionable backing vocals.

Romi: I provide food from the reduced deli section of Lidl whilst also playing drums.

Emma: Vocalist/lyricist.

For those who may not have heard of you guys,tell us a bit about the band and how you know each other?

Joe: I’d describe our music as a funk fusion; it's a halfway house between punk and alternative. Imagine if ’91 Chili Peppers had a baby with ’89 Pixies. I first met Emma and Romi through being in the same philosophy lessons. We soon worked out that we are all as fucked up as each other and had a shared love for music - especially Radiohead - so we decided to start a band. We knew Georgia already, so when we heard she played bass, she had to be in the band.

I couldn’t quite believe it when I read that you guys have just finished your A-levels. Are people often shocked by how young you are?

Georgia: There are some fucking fantastic teenage bands around, our mates the Gillies have members as young as 16 and still manage to blow everyone away. So I suppose we may be young in the grand scheme of things, butin comparison to our local scene we’re probably not that young.

Was it hard to balance exams with band commitments?

Georgia: Yeah agreed, making music was a real source of happiness during college and having to put that aside to focus on exams was awful.

Emma: For me, band commitments went hand in hand with exams as I was able to record the band for coursework and later use these tracks as a part of my uni audition for Leeds College of Music.

Am I right in saying one or two of you have gone to study in Manchester? How does the scene compare to that in Winchester?

Emma: I moved to Leeds and the live music scene is incomparable. Where Winchester is home to a mere one live music venue, the scene in Leeds is huge with a diverse selection venues and opportunities. Upon visiting Joe in Manchester I found it to be the same.

Joe: Manchester is fantastic! You go outside and can breathe in the music and taste the history.

There are so many incredible venues which puts Winchester's only venue (The Railway) to shame. It means there will be no more throwing gigs in the Winchester Football Club bar. I will really miss that and how they'd always degenerate into a hundred man mosh pit. Since being in Manc I've had the luck to see Nick Cave, which was a purely religious experience. I'm seeing King Krule in December. Manchester doesn't stop.

A while back you supported The Moonladingz in Portsmouth, that’s quite the gig! How was it?

Georgia: I’ll always remember the day I found out we’d scored that gig. I was in a quiet philosophy lesson at college when I got a message from Adrian, the keyboard player, asking if we’d be on board. I had to ask to leave the room so I could calmly reply, but I was absolutely ecstatic. The best part though was calling Joe (who was already a big fan of The Moonlandingz) and telling him I had big news. We were both in disbelief, it was a fucking fantastic feeling. The gig itself was like a surreal dream sequence, we’d all been fantasising about it for so long. We played our best ever set, had so much positive feedback and went on to soak up the mad genius of The Moonlandingz.

They made a point to have female fronted bands support them on tour. Is enough being done to promote gender equality within the music industry, if not what more do you think could be done?

Georgia: I have total admiration for them for promoting female fronted acts, it’s so important but not something enough people make the effort to do. There are so many incredible women in music that don’t get enough praise. Gender equality within the music industry in general is an interesting topic though. On one hand, organisations like Girls Against exist to promote sexual harassment-free gigs, and magazines such as She Shreds encourage and promote talented female guitar players. So the music industry is as equal as it ever has been, but it’s definitely still not perfect. Alice Glass recently coming forward with her story of abuse, even within her own band, really highlights how rife it can still be. We’ll get there one day.

Emma: Coming to a Conservatoire really put into perspective for me the gender inequality within the industry, with 80% of students here being male. Particularly studying production, I am definitely in the minority. However, I’d say there is a definite push in the market right now to see more females recognised for their work. Speaking to a lot of management students here has reiterated that, as they are keen to work with female fronted bands due to the demand for women in the industry at the moment.

What does the creative process look like for you guys when you are making tunes?

Emma: Until recently, the band have made Georgia’s garage their home for creativity. I’d say our creative process has evolved over the time we've known each other; it’s come to be a lot more collaborative. A lot of the time one of us will have an idea and we will all work around it and build on this idea together.

Georgia: We practiced in my garage, much to the dismay of a particularly angry neighbour (who we ended up writing a really loud, aggressive song about). In terms of the song writing process, usually Joe would come to us with a riff or idea and we’d build our individual parts from there. Sometimes though, songs were just born out of a warm up jam, like our new single Closer.

I’ve seen an amazing teaser trailer on your page for a new music video. Do you have any idea when the full video will be released?

Georgia: We’d love to do a full video some day, but it’s just a teaser to announce the song being available on Spotify, which is huge for us!

JC: Do you guys have a similar music taste, or do you differ from one another?

Georgia: We all share a love for a lot of the same bands, which I guess is what makes us compatible as musicians. In saying that though, we each have our own slightly varying tastes, which is cool because it allows us to bring loads of different inspiration to practices.

Emma: I’d say we all have a mutual appreciation for a lot of the same music, with all of us drawing influence from a lot of alternative/art rock bands including The Stone Roses and Radiohead. However, we do all have an extensive taste in music and enjoy a lot of different genres to each other as well.

What one song would you tell our audience to go and listen to right now that they might of not heard?

Joe: We Will Fall - The Stooges. It's a song of demonic power, threatening and intriguing. Pure rock 'n’roll!

Georgia: My Favourite Dress by The Wedding Present. A post-punk 1980s Manchester band who are totally overlooked, but are possibly my favourite of the era, and this tune is a banger.

Emma: Control by Babe Punch is a banger which I'm really into at the moment; they are a grungy girl band with a raw, rocky vibe, and I rate their live performances.

What lies ahead of you guys as 2017 draws to an close?

Georgia: With the band being spread over the country, gigs are hard to coordinate these days but we do have one coming up in Southampton in January, so keep an eye on that. We’d love to get some more music on Spotify too. Even though we’re not all living in the same town anymore, this is just the beginning for Subterraneans, I can promise you that.

Images: Subterraneans @ Facebook

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