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Catfish & The Bottlemen: Red’s New Favorite Brit Pop Band

Posted by June 7th, 2012 No Comments » Interview: Catfish & The Bottlemen
Q&A with Van McCann
By Greg Lehman First off, thanks for taking the time to interview with us humble rockers at I found you guys on What’s the Noise when I was working on an article about Kasabian.  I had been checking out The Lysergic Suite as they had just done a few songs with that band’s lead singer Tom Meighan. I decided to click around to some of the other bands and you guys immediately blew my fucking doors off.  I did not think that was the type of sound I would hear from a band called “Catfish and the Bottlemen.” How did that name come into being?
Van McCann: It’s a long story really, mate, but to cut it short, I used to go to Australia a lot as a kid and outside the place we used to stay this busker would play these wine bottles like drums. He was called Catfish the Bottleman and he was epic.

NM: I’m sure I can find your biography on Google, but I’d rather hear it from you. How did the band form?
VM: Me and Blakes the bass player are cousins and we met cause we both used to go out with these girls who where twins which was kinda weird cause they used to swap when we were out and he’d end up kissing my one and vice versa and then we’d end up scrapping. I don’t know how we met Billy. I think he just showed up for practice one day and no-one said anything so he just kept coming. We met Dr. Bob in Ireland. We were at this strip bar as a laugh and looked across the room to see his giant microphone head looking up dancers’ skirts, so we went over to see what he was about and it turned out he was a monster with sticks in his hands. So we brought him back with us and said he could live with us. And that’s all she wrote.

NM: The tracks on Beautiful Decay aren’t enough.  I can listen to them over and again.  The phrasing, the stop and starts, the melodies and the playful tempo shifts make for an incredibly addictive listen.  Other music sites point to influences such as Arctic Monkeys, Rolling Stones and The Streets… what would you say your influences are?
VM: Cheers man. I’m glad you dig the songs. That means a lot. Influence wise we’re all into the older stuff our dads made us listen to because, to me, that’s when music was at its best and most real. When we write or practice or anything we discipline ourselves like that. In terms of Influence over our sound and words I kinda write about stories i’ve had or heard or something. In terms of our sound we want to make it so that everything SMACKS you. I want it to feel like we’re pinning you the back wall.

NM: Are the songs meant to be listened to in order?  I notice some slight similarities with the end of one song and the beginning of the next song.  I wasn’t sure if this was something you meant to do, but it’s pretty brilliant.
VM: On that EP there’s a deliberate track listing so I guess so, but they still sound alright if you mix and match ‘em.

NM: Are there any other releases that your U.S. audience (including myself) isn’t aware of? Or are there any up and coming releases that we should know about?
VM: We’re going to releasea single in the next few months so keep your eyes open for that. We also released a little homemade video of a song called “Sidewinder” that you can find on Youtube. It’s just a standalone song.

NM: Which band(s) would you want to tour with?  What bands have you played with?
VM:  We’ve played with a load of bands. My favourite one we’ve toured with is The Hacienda from Italy. They’re a class bunch of lads and they’ve got some class tunes too. They’re like an Italian version of us. I also wouldn’t mind touring with the Cribs because I think they’re a mega live band.

NM: Any chance of you jumping the pond and playing some shows over here?
VM: We can’t wait to get over to the U.S. We’re just waiting for someone to throw a load of money at us.

NM: Have any of you been to the United States?
VM:  I think we’ve all been, but never to gig. Just to hang out with Mickey Mouse and that gang at Disney Land.

NM: Having lived over in Scotland I miss Irn-Bru and Branston’s pickle. What are some necessary items for you guys on tour (music, movies, food, drink)?
VM:  I travel light so I don’t take anything really, but Billy always brings these Elvis films… Elvis riding bikes with little kids singing Mexican songs and that. They’re amazing and they keep his little stupid face quiet all the way to gigs so we don’t mind. Blakes is normally reading some kind of dirty book that his girlfriends bought him to keep him “going” on tour and Dr. Bobs is really into photography, so he just carries loads of pictures of naked girls from the 50’s around. He says its art. We all love a good game of poker to so we’ve got a little casino going on in the back of our bus too.

Catfish and the Bottlemen (2012) bNM: When I was in a band we all had our roles.  I was the lyric guy and the practical joker.  Do you guys have your own roles in the band?
VM: I guess if you put it like that, I write the words, Billy makes the songs sound like the end of the world, Blakes makes the girls smile and Dr.Bob eats every role we give him.

NM: Is the song “Harlot” a true story?  Because it’s quite descriptive.
VM: Haha. Yes it is, but it’s just about this guy I know who loves woman and they love him and he just likes to travel around the world meeting them. I’m not wild about singing this one because it sounds like I’m saying “I” and that makes it sound like I’m on about me. So people started thinking I’m some kind of man whore when I’m not. I’m a “fall in love and settle down” type of guy. Just ask Karen Gillan if you can get in touch with her. She’ll tell you!

NM: You guys pull any practical jokes on tour?
VM: There was this one Blakes pulled off which was pretty class. We all wanted Billy to shave his beard off because he makes us look like kids right and he wouldn’t. So Blakes got this face moisturizer cream he uses and filled it up with rapid drying glue. One morning Billy’s doing his girly routine and the next minute his hands are stuck to his face. W had to rip his hands off his cheeks which made all his beard rip off and become all patchy so he had to shave it off anyway Blakes is a genius to be honest. That’s his role.

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