Gigslutz interview with CATFISH & THE BOTTLEMEN

We have been more than taken recently at Gigslutz Towers by the emerging talent of Catfish & The Bottlemen. As well as getting the prestigious Gigslutz ‘track of the week’ they have also recently been Zane Lowe’s ‘hottest record in the world’ for latest single ‘Rango’ and have just wowed crowds at Reading & Leeds festivals this weekend on the BBC Introducing Stage. Mari Lane caught up with Van McCann to get their story…

Catfish and the Bottlemen is a very interesting name for a band, sounds like the title of a fairytale or one of the more trippy Beatles numbers – Where did the name come from? )on the subject of names, you couldn’t get a much cooler name than Van McCann!)

Haha thanks very much! My Mum and Dad have a weird sense of humour! The name actually comes from my first recollection of hearing music. I spent the first 2/3 years of my life travelling around Australia with my Mum and Dad and my first remembrance of music was being plonked outside this cafe on the harbour and seeing this busker playing. He used to play half empty wine bottles like a drum kit and churn out christmas tunes and stuff on them! he was insane haha! anyway, he was called Catfish the Bottleman. I just thought it was really fitting to name the band that when we eventually made one

Do you think the style of music you play, and the way you play it, has changed much since first meeting at school in Wales?

Yeah loads really! When we first started we could all hardly play at all and just used to play like terrible Beatles covers and stuff like that. When we got a bit tighter as a band and started to actually learn how to play I got really into writing and I just used to sit write all day everyday! The more we got together writing songs the tighter we got really. But we only really started getting half decent this year. The stuff previous to Homesick was utter garbage.

Who are your main influences and inspirations?

I’m more into lyrics than music so the things that influence me are the people around me. Stuff our Tour Manager says and does when he’s drunk or just little one liners you over hear. So i’m more influenced by the people and happenings around me. I’m inspired by my Grandad! he’s about 2001 years old and he still tours in like an Irish Jig Folk band! he’s insane man!

What’s your favourite song and band at the moment?

I’ve got loadssss of favourite songs atm but there’s a song on the new National Album called ‘Humiliation’ that I always crank up when i’m driving! The lyrics are epic in that song!

Does one member of the band write the majority of your songs, or is it more of a collaborative process?

I tend to write everything and bring it into the lads and they kind of paint the picture I have in my head! I can’t take credit for the sound they create! I can’t really play so I just sit in the back not doing much! but between the other three they can make a pretty huge sound to be fair to them!!!!

It seems you’ve been playing as many live shows as possible lately – has one in particular been your favourite?

Because we play so many everything just seems to go so fast so it’s all a bit of a blur to be honest. We only really ever get reminded by pictures or when someone brings it up. We played a wild one the other week in Sheffield and everyone was going absolutely crazy! They were all crowd surfing and some lad pulled a chandelier out of the roof! The venue had to shut to refurbish for two days haha.

Gigslutz holds a monthly radio show – would you like to pick three songs for us to play as a ‘mini playlist’? (these can be any songs; your own, bands you want to big up, guilty pleasures, anything!)

I WOULD LOVE TO! Paul Simon – You can call me al, Travis – Selfish Jean, Van Morrison – Baby please don’t go.

With recent praise from the likes of Zane Lowe and Steve Lemacq, it must be a very exciting time for the you all – what next for Catfish and the Bottlemen?

It’s really really exciting! We just feel so fortunate to have an opportunity like this and we’re just gonna do us best to make the people who are into us happy! we’re gonna work our asses off over the next few months touring and getting the word out to as many people as possible and then hopefully we’ll drop the album!

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I’m in love with you, thanks for having me, Van x

We love you too! 

Mari Lane


Mari Lane

Mari Lane

Editor, London. Likes: Kathleen Hanna, 6Music, live music in the sunshine. Dislikes: Sexism, pineapples, the misuse of apostrophes.