Issue 71

Monthly newspaper and online publication targeting 18 to 35 year olds. The ultimate guide to the hottest parties, going out and having fun. Music, fashion, film, travel, festivals, technology, comedy, and parties! London, Barcelona, Miami and Ibiza.

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Page 28 of 45

Catfish and The Bottlemen have had it pretty good recently, and when I say pretty good, what I really mean is that four lads from North Wales have had all of their wildest dreams answered in just over the space of a year, and from the look of Van; they're having the time of their lives. The release of their debut album The Balcony is imminent, and with it has come a rapturous frenzy of excitement, by regular Joe 90s and the music media alike. I ask Van whether he's nervous for the arrival of his new born: "We're not really worried about anything in the way of sales, we didn't start a band to sell one hundred million records, we only care that it hits the people it hits, we want people to feel connected to it. Have you ever heard of Frightened Rabbit?" Van asks, "Their album was one of the best albums I've ever heard, and when I first discovered them they weren't very well known at all, but that's one of my favourite albums. If we can just do that, and make someone think that of our album, then to me it doesn't matter if we sell a hundred or a hundred thousand albums. I'd rather it meant the earth to a few, than to just be another CD on a shelf to the whole world". From the looks of things, the snowball of near hysteria surrounding the band could lend itself to more than a humble "few". "The only reason we've got anywhere is because we've been at it for so long, it's all word of mouth. At our gigs it's almost like we're best mates with everyone, we always go out for drinks with the fans after shows and make sure we say hi to everybody. We're just normal lads and we want to make people feel like they're a part of it." Van can't be stopped now, not that anyone would want him to. It's refreshing to see a band that are in it for all the right reasons: not the kudos of being a rock star, not the gimmicks of superficiality, not the money and not the ego trip. Catfish and the Bottlemen love what they do, and what they do is write music straight from the gut, fuelled from the heart. "The people who come to our gigs picked our album", he continues, "We did a tour in March and played about thirty songs across the duration of it. We basically said to the crowd to meet us at the bar and tell us which ones you like and which ones you don't like. So at the end of the gig it would be like, "Don't put that on there it's shit" or "That one's amazing, that one's gotta' go on", so they tracklisted the album. It's really important to us that the fans get it, when I was a kid if I liked a band I'd go see them ten times a year, I want people to come away from our gigs feeling fucking amazing". Censorship is an issue with Van. Their music has been subject to criticism from the media concerning the swearing in their lyrics, and he explains how the video concept for their next single is in dispute due to certain scenes. "People smoke, people drink, know what I mean? People swear, people have shit days and go through a lot of shit, why can't we sing about that? I was raised in a working class background and I want people to listen to everything I write and go "I know exactly how that feels". There's not a band that's come out since the Arctic monkeys where you know what they're talking about. 'Cocoon' is my favourite song, and the chorus says "Fuck it if they talk/Fuck it if they try and get to us", and the label where a bit like, "What, you're gonna try and get that on the radio?" and I'm like, why not man? That's what people say! I'm not axing that as a single just because the chorus swears". It's this brutal, unrelenting realism that make the band so intriguing, and it's the same realism that has produced one of the most anticipated debut records in years. It's not just rock'n'roll, it's anthropology. Track 2 on the album, 'Kathleen', stands as testament to all of this, a raw, puchy, gutsy track that suggests you leave whatever you're doing right now to go and drink whiskey in a cheap hotel before smashing your room up at 3am. It was during the recording of this song that Van contracted Bronchitis, not only did this hinder his ability to breathe whilst recording it also gave the recording a brilliantly raw edge. Who needs to breathe anyway? Winding down and packing up, Van talks of playing Reading and Leeds, how he threw up after they came off ("I couldn't stop shaking for three days man!"), the tours booked up until next Christmas and the aspirations of a band on the brink of something massive. Catfish and the Bottlemen couldn't be in a better place right now if they tried, bottoms up lads, for here be dragons. 29 Issue 71 / 2015 INDIE / ROCK INTERVIEW Catfish and the Bottlemen " We did a tour in March and played about thirty songs across the duration of it. We basically said to the crowd to meet us at the bar and tell us which ones you like and which ones you don't like " Stubbing his cigarette out on the cobbled floors of central London's Kingly Street, Van McCann pulls up a chair and leans forward on the table Follow@thebottlemen Interviewed by: ZakkDodd

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