4 piece rock band Catfish And The Bottlemen will release their new single ‘Rango’ through Communion Records on September 16, 2013. The ATC-managed band have been asked to play the BBC Introducing Stage (previously selected artists include Daughter and Rizzle Kicks) at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival, on August 24 and 25 respectively, and will follow this up with nationwide tour dates throughout September and October.
‘Rango’ (Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record In The World’) is the follow up to Catfish and The Bottlemen’s debut single ‘Homesick’, released through Communion Records in June to radio support from Radio 1 (Zane Lowe ‘Next Hype’, Huw Stephens, Phil & Alice), 6Music (Steve Lamacq, Lauren Laverne) and a playlist from XFM, whose John Kennedy described the band as “stadium ready”. Written by frontman Van McCann about the band’s struggles to escape from the humdrum of life in Llandudno, North Wales, ‘Rango’ is possessed of a suitably ragged urgency, all arcing guitars and McCann’s shredded vocals. “I wrote ‘Rango’ about my first girlfriend just after we split up. It’s about how our shitty small town wore us out together a bit- everyone knowing our business, and wanting to be involved in it a bit more than we did.”
McCann’s story, however, begins far removed from the small-town ennui which drives Catfish’s material. As the only child of free-minded Liverpudlian parents, Van spent most of his early years travelling around Australia by car, in between fleeting visits back to the UK; “My parents are the people who would just pack up their things at the drop of a hat, plonk me in the back of the car and take me with them.” A test tube baby (his mother having been injured in a car crash when she was young) who struggles to easily recall his birthplace - “Where was I born? Cheshire? Cheshire.”- McCann’s itinerant background is aptly reflected in the widespread and fiercely loyal UK fanbase that Catfish and The Bottlemen have acquired through tireless gigging.
Once back at school in the less expansive environs of Llandudno, McCann came into the orbit of future bandmates Billy Bibby (guitar), Benji Blakeway (bass) and Bob Hall (drums). Billy proved an unlikely catalyst for the band’s formation, when, having previously taunted McCann- who he knew only as the best friend of his younger brother- he taught both Van and his close friend Benji how to play guitar. The rhythm section was later completed with the addition of Bob on drums, via a mutual producer acquaintance, despite Van having lived opposite Bob- blissfully oblivious- for several years.
McCann soon found himself expelled from school due to prolonged absences whilst writing, recording and touring with his older bandmates. Frequent journeys to play gigs round the greater Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield area soon garnered a firm following in the North West, and an overdue sense of belonging for the 4 English kids ‘from’ Wales. Although still based in Llandudno, the band’s ad hoc domestic arrangements reflect the sporadic nature of time spent there between constant touring- the 4 piece have a rehearsal space in the B&B run by McCann’s parents, and drift nomadically in and out of vacant rooms when back in town.
The inherent heaviness of the debut Catfish and The Bottlemen material marks them as something of an anomaly amongst the contemporaries they frequently share live bills with. Says McCann; “Someone told me ‘you need to have a wall of sound behind you’, and that really resonated with me. We used to be all about the hooks, but now it’s about crafting choruses that can pin you to a wall. I feel like everyone else is making daytime music, and we’re making night-time music”. That’s not to say it’s all muscle and no nuance, however- Catfish’s wall of sound is tempered with the emotional connection of McCann’s lyricism, informed as much by the latter day poetry of Arctic Monkeys and The Streets, as the albums by Elvis and namesake Van Morrison which he found in his father’s record collection. “I love the olds like that” says Van, “I want our sound to be cinematic, and their music just crushes your heart”.
Catfish And The Bottlemen signed to Communion Records (Deap Vally, Half Moon Run) this Spring, recording their debut material in Wales’ legendary Rockfield Studios with Communion founder Ian Grimble. The signing followed a furious 18 month period which saw them play over 150 live shows to hone their live set, which invariably sees frontman Van McCann climbing the walls and playing guitar as though his life depended on it, whilst fans crowd surf and sing every word.
Catfish And The Bottlemen are Van McCann (vocals & guitar), Billy Bibby (lead guitar), Benji Blakeway (bass) and Bob Hall (drums).