Catfish and the Bottlemen

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Catfish and the Bottlemen

Without a doubt, one of the biggest buzz bands around the Australian scene at the moment is Welsh group Catfish and the Bottlemen. Touring around with The Kooks at the moment, it was such a surreal moment to sit down with Van McCann, lead singer and guitarist for the band, to have a chat. Having seen these guys support The Wombats in Liverpool whilst I was living in England in 2011, these guys are saving rock music from all the Top 40 hype. Having just played on David Letterman in the US a few days before we chat, McCann is still buzzing as we chat.
“Oh MATE! I used to stay up late before school to watch that and at school the next day we would gather ’round with our friends and talk about it. I was like, ‘You’re the Strokes man, you’re Oasis, you are everybody that you used to grow up watching on that program. I was like a little boy. I was in there going aye’ Letterman. I was loving it.”
The chances are that as Catfish haven’t done any regional Australia shows, you probably won’t have heard of them. Take the music of Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Oasis and Stereophonics and put it in a blender and that is what Catfish and the Bottlemen are all about. Indie rock at its finest. The main track ‘Cocoon’, off their debut album The Balcony which was released in September last year, was written whilst in New York.
“I was flown out there because we were doing some promo and writing songs and I remember thinking what am I doing over here? I’m only 21 years old and up until this point I could only dream about writing songs in New York. For it to actually happen is a real pinch yourself moment.
“The song came about very naturally and is about following your dreams and being who you want to be. You’re in a dead-end job, you work all week, this is the kind of song you put on driving home to release all the tension.”
On the back of their EPs, Catfish and the Bottlemen were supporting some of the biggest names in music. At the tender age of 17, they supported The Wombats and from then, their mainstream success grew. “It’s funny how big we have grown to be now. Back then, we wanted to be the biggest band in the world. Now, we are good, instead of just telling people that.”
Last summer the band played over 30 festivals throughout the UK and Europe including Reading and Leeds, Latitude, T in the Park and Governors Ball in New York. “They are all hot and they’re all good. I was in New York having a smoke next to Julian Casablancas from The Strokes. I ain’t no rockstar. The little kid in me said, ‘Go lick his face man!’ You grew up listening to this guy. He’s a legend.
“Eating buckets of chicken with the Arctic Monkeys at T in the Park was also a moment that I will remember forever. These bands were so influential to us and they’ve had the same journey as us.
“I think that over the next ten years, we are going to develop into one of the biggest acts around. If we have our way, we’ll be touring Australia every 12 months.”
When&Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl – January 24 & The Hi-Fi – January 25
By Tex Miller