Interview: Catfish and the Bottlemen

Catfish and the Bottlemen are a band rising through the ranks in 2014. Set to release highly anticipated debut album ‘The Balcony’ on September 15th 2014, the band have a summer full of huge festival shows such as Reading/Leeds festivals, Ibiza Rocks and Latitude. Recently released single ‘Fallout’ has received critical acclaim and is currently on the Radio 1 playlist after being Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record of the Week’.

I caught up with frontman Van McCann to speak about the new single and plans for the future for this ever-evolving band:

Your new single ‘Fallout’ has been released to a huge wave of support. Do you believe this is your favourite single so far and if so why?

Ermm, no my favourite single is Homesick. Homesick is my favourite because it was the first one and I’m dead proud of it I don’t like the recording of it and I don’t like the video, I think they’re both shite, but it’s the song that gives it a heartbeat, and I like the lyrics especially. I do like the story of Fallout though, but I think the next single that we put out is going to be my favourite!

You are starting to see a strong development in airplay and listening figures for your newest singles. Do you believe this has altered the make-up of the band to retain the current genre of music that you produce or do you think that you may venture into other genres in the future?

We’re not the kind of band, I don’t really know what we could do with our band. We’re very Stones. It’s just very rock and roll music. Me personally, I’m all about just writing good songs with good lyrics and lyrics that move people and something that makes you feel something. I’m not trying to impress anybody or style it particularly, like “Wow these are a bit interesting”. We’re not trying to be interesting, just trying to be quite straight down the middle. Very much just simple like Oasis kinda were and The Rolling Stones kinda were. The Rolling Stones were The Rolling Stones forever. I think the way we can grow is in our production. I like the way our songs sound, I like the music we’re making and I don’t really want to change that but you never know what might happen. At the moment I like making songs that can be played on the acoustic guitar in the same style as it would be played to an arena. I’m very inspired by Oasis and The Strokes, so I’m into keeping it simple. I’m not really into bands thinking outside of the box too much.

I see that you are commencing on a US tour later in the year. Is this the first time you have toured in America and are you excited for showcasing your music oversees?

Yeah it’s our first time playing here, and it’s really exciting. It’s exciting how much I can get away with on stage, I like to have a joke with the crowd but over here it’s even better. If you try and rib somebody in England they are kinda like “Shut the fuck up” while over here they love getting the piss taken out of them and then giving it back. Really sassy out here, yeah we’ll call it sassy. Everyone’s digging it and pricking their ears up, I can see some people when we’re playing taking interest. It’s very exciting!

You recently supported Little Comets on their tour. How did you feel about these shows and your relationship with the band?

Just the best, one of the best months I’ve ever had being in a band. They are the nicest guys, they’re so cool and a proper hard-working band. They’re not some bullshit, they just make music and they don’t care for being famous or celebrities. They just really care about making songs and believe that they’re music is something people want to listen to. We’re just inspired by them as songwriters, they’ve done everything for themselves and gone out and done gigs off their own back with no label backing. It was a complete honour, we’ve just recently met up with them in New York, and it was just fucking class. I’m honoured to have even met them never mind play with them.

Have you any plans to support other bands in the next few months or are you looking to push your new material forward with shows at Reading/Leeds and other festivals?

I don’t think we actually have time, but we never get called as we don’t really know anybody to get on tours to support people. You kinda have to be mates with them or somebody’s sleeping with somebody’s manager. We don’t do that, we’re very much outcasts, when we turn up people are like “Who the fuck are they?”. There’s not many bands like us out there who we’d support, though Jake Bugg is one, he’s the same kind of person as us. Same roots, I think we’d get along well.

But I don’t think we have enough time, with all our festival dates as well.

I read online that you have played over 1000 shows since forming, how has relentless touring affected the band morale and do you believe you are now stronger as a group?

I think we’re a really strong band, I don’t think there are many bands out there who are stronger than us. We actually hate other but we’re so solid that we’ll fight all the time and nothing will be affected. Touring relentlessly from the early days where there was nobody in our shows and with nothing on the horizon, the fact that we can survive that shows how tight we are. Everybody’s in it for the right reason, like the only reason why they’re in a band with me and I’m in a band with them is the Music, as we know we all work together even though we all hate each other. It’s about making music and entertaining people. Making people happy, which makes us much stronger.

What are the plans for the rest of 2014? How do you believe that you are going to develop as a band, are you looking forward to an anticipated album release?

Going to do all these festivals in the UK and then we go out to Europe, release another single and then the album will drop in the UK and we’ll be playing some big gigs at the end of the year to support that. Just tour really!