Here’s part II of our interview with Catfish and the Bottlemen’s, Van McCann.
(Read part I here.)
GATRS Teri: You’ll be at SXSW, we’ll be there too, would you consider singing new songs?
Van: No, I don’t think so. I don’t want to uhm..
GATRS Teri: Give it away?
Van: Yeah, cause our thing was.. The label asked us if we’re doing a deluxe album and I was like, no cause I want it to be the cleanest band, like eleven songs. Like next album, really quick and really consistent eleven songs or whatever it might be. I didn’t want it to be murky so I don’t want to start playing stuff and have people like videoing it and having rough versions, I’d rather have them wait. So as soon as this cycle’s done, I just want them to be dead see-through band I want people to know.. See exactly what they wanna see, we’re straight up. We don’t tell lies, we don’t act up for nothing, this is who we are. This is the music we play. That’s it, that’s straight, so I want our music to be like that as well.
GATRS Teri: Since you’re going SXSW, do you have.. Are you on an American label?
Van: We’re on Communion over here, which is the same as England.. I think something’s happening with the second record. For this one, we’re on Communion that’s why we’re so blown away. It’s remarkable for us because we’re their first rock band and our record deal is tiny. It was nothing, ya know what I mean? Like they couldn’t even afford us plans over here or things like that so everything was built on people believing in us straight up and people’s brothers going.. Check this out or boyfriends/girlfriends passing the cd around, it’s just proper.. You just don’t get many bands like that anymore. Normally you’ll see if a band comes from England, they’ll be all over the magazines over here and all over the tv but it’s dead weird to us, it’s dead strange. We come off every night at these clubs at night that are 200/300 people and it’s like.. Wow, these people know who we are, they wait to talk to us outside and I’m like what the fuck.. Ya know what I mean, it’s crazy.
GATRS Teri: What do you see is the major difference between the U.S. and the U.K. as you’ve been traveling?
Van: Major difference? The immediacy of people’s reactions. In England, it takes you about three times to play in London before they embrace ya, if you know what I mean, you got to impress them three times but over here they kinda go this band’s come from England, they’re young lads but they’ve done their grafted (British slang for work) to get here so it must mean that they’re on to something. They give you like, uh.. They just immediately embrace ya. If you say you want to take over the world, they’re like c’mon mate and in England if you say you want to take over the world they say, who do you think you are? Until you impress them so that immediacy but it’s not to say it’s better than England, I love England. It’s just the uhh..
GATRS Teri: The Difference?
Van: Yeah and it’s just the uh, dunno, they’re just lovely. Everyone’s dead positive, everyone wants you to succeed so for us it’s been dead humbling, dead nice.
GATRS Teri: Well, you know what it is don’t you? It’s that we like your accent *laughs* If anyone comes over here and they’re British we go, oh.. Yeah.
Van: You like it though?
GATRS Teri: I mean is that not right *looks at fellow GATRS, who shyly nod in agreement* Ask any girl and that’s what they’ll say.
Van: Oh really?
GATRS Teri: Guaranteed, take a poll.
Van: There ya go. I wouldn’t know about any of that stuff *smiles, turns to drink water*
GATRS Teri: The Balcony has been a huge success, both here and in England, does the fact that your debut was so well received make you nervous about recording a follow up?
Van: Umm, no because it was well received, the critics didn’t like it, we never got any good critical.. Until we got over here, America, again took it in but it was the people in England, like we got number one for physical sales in the whole of the country like over any album that was out. Barbra Streisand’s album was out, you’d think like the mums should be out buying that album ya know what I mean? And we go got number one, so it was people on the streets. We didn’t have any press or tv or anything surrounding it and the press we did have was against us, ya know what I mean? I was like ‘oh, this band’s aren’t going to do anything’ cause we have no money and we’re normal daft idiot lads, ya know what I mean? We’re just dopes having a good time ya know and the only people that took a risk on us were the people that sat there and were like you’s remind me of the Arctics and the early days of Oasis, these are hungry. The people who got into our desire and head space so how we were grafting and our passion and saw how serious we were and how much of a good time we have doing it. So it was just people built, I think the next one could be better if we get the label behind it now the people are there and they embrace it. But I’m not, I was nervous until I played.. The last two, I had all the stuff together and me best mate (Larry), I played him eleven songs and he was just like you got it in the bag mate. He was just like, cause he thinks I’m an idiot so when someone like him, I’m just like.. Larry?? He’s just me best mate what are you talking about?? But he’s an idiot and says I’m an idiot but I write good songs and I’m always like, mate… Thank you.
I’m dead excited, it’s soulful, it’s big and coming over to America and hearing what’s on the radio over here and seeing how positive people are and how much you want to embrace that enormous sound, which is what we want. We want like a stadium rock sound and it inspired me to write soulful songs, like more universally speaking songs as opposed to little Northern lads trying to escape small town so it’s a bit more open-minded and life affirming, big, and powerful.
GATRS Teri: So you’ve finished it? (2nd album)
Van: Oh, yeah, it’s all done. I wrote it all before we even put the first album out. That’s how serious we are, I got the next album written.. As soon as this one stops recording, the next one will be ready to go. We’re years ahead of where we want to be.
GATRS Teri: When do you think the 2nd album will come out?
Van: It’s all strategic, I don’t get involved in the politics of music but it’s all record company and how many times. Like we got to America a few times first, still got two more tours in England to do and Europe to go to, Australia and Japan again and an Island, I’ve never been to an Island. We got to take it around the world so as soon as that cycle is done, that one will be ready. That one could be ready by summer ya know what I mean? We could have it in the bag there.
GATR Naomi: CATB have not been shy about wanting to achieve fame and success, what or who is the ultimate goal?
Van: No one, there is nobody I’d like to champion really. It’s just as big as it can get, there’s no limit. There’s no sky, it’s like Muhammed Ali is one of my heroes, I grew up watching him a kid and it’s like more than boxing is what he was. I mean he was a person but he was a like a life changer. I don’t want to change it or change the world, it’s more than music, it’s about this gathering of people to form a massive stamp. There’s no legacy I’d like to fulfill or anything like that, it’s just my path and I’d like for it to be as eventful as possible and as big as possible and as wild as possible, as successful for me to like ring me dad and say “I bought this” and he’d say “ohh no way.” Imagine saying “dad I just bought you a helicopter” and he’ll be like “whaaat?!” So yeah, anything, there’s no limit.
GATRS Teri: I’m a mom, I have a kid about your age..
GATRS Teri: How does your mum handle the fact that hundreds of girls want you?
Van: Hundreds of girls…? Hundreds of girls don’t want me, maybe tens.. No one will ever be good enough, fully, for a boy cause she wants me to find someone who’s like her, cause she thinks she’s the model human. Me mum’s the best, she’d love it. She’s funny me mum, me mum’s the funniest person, she’s a proper maniac. She’s a rockstar. I dunno, she’d just laugh her head off. She goes outside for a cigarette at gigs and goes like what’d ya think of the band? The singer’s a bit of an idiot isn’t he? and someone would say no he’s well cool and she’d go.. Is he? Yeah he’s my son, yeah she’s all over that. She’s the kind of person that loves the girls around me asking for photos, she’d be like he used to wet the bed, him! Look at his photo, that’s the one you wanna see! Showing her wallet. She don’t mind it, she’d just laugh it off. She’s just dead proud that the bands doing well and she gets to see us on the telly and if she turns on the telly and I’m on it, she goes mad. She’d go, what’s he doing on the telly, look at him and his big daft gull on his head. I’ve not spoken to her in ages, I never get to speak to me mum cause I barely use the phone, I’ve not spoke to me mum in about a month or something.. Month and a half. Must call.
GATRS Teri: What’s the most embarrassing song on your ipod/iphone?
Van: None of them. I wouldn’t put it on me iphone if I was embarrassed. Honestly, I’m embarrassed about nothing, I love all music I listen to.. But let me think of one.. *Turns to ask Dan* What music do I play which is garbage? Ahhh.. What about Usher Confessions Pt. II, I’m not embarrassed by it.
GATRS Naomi: That’s a good song! I’m not embarrassed I like it either!
Van: Ahh, right! What a tune!
Dan: The Cribs…
Van: Shut up. The Cribs are good *turns and points at Dan* he doesn’t like the Cribs but no, no. Usher, Confessions Pt. II and I’m not embarrassed by it in the slightest. What a tune, the emotion in that song.. *Starts singing chorus* “She opened up the door and didn’t want to come near me I said “one second baby please, baby”..”
GATRS Krystal: That should be your next cover you do!
Van: That’s it. Yeah! Yeah.. I would looove to do that! I love it.
Catfish and the Bottlemen are incredibly talented and hardworking guys that deserve an abundant and endless amount of success.
We have no doubt that Bottlemania will occur.. It’s beginning to happen now in the states.
We look forward to seeing what else the lads have in store and throughout the years but until then, make sure you see them perform live on their ongoing headlining tour and support them by purchasing their hypnotic and magnetic debut album, The Balcony.