EXCLUSIVE: Pillow Talks to Catfish and the Bottlemen

CATFISH and The Bottlemen encompass the youthful spirit that we all love: Loud, proud, with an added explosion of guitars.

And after working the gig circuit non-stop for 18 months, the quartet – aged between 19 and 22 – have signed to Communion Records.

The rock and roll band are set to play the BBC Introducing Stage at this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival on August 24th and 25th.

The lads have an incredibly tight live set. Front man Van McCann climbs the walls. Literally.

Previously artists to have gone onto critical acclaim have included Daughter and Rizzle Kicks.

Catfish and The Bottlemen, who all hail from Llandudno in Wales, embarked on a headline UK tour last month.

In between the commotion of extensively touring, Pillow Mag caught up with Van – the crazy, witty, honest front man and ringleader.

We talked about being in the bedroom, 1D, and Friday night shenanigans.

Note of warning: Van’s brutally honest, and a little eccentric (just how we like ’em).

How’s the tour been so far?

It’s been absolutely amazing, we’ve had so much support from people and the gigs just keep getting busier, sweatier and madder! We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year really.

Which was the best city you have played so far?                                                                                

It’s too hard to say really because they’re all so good in different ways but the city we’ve felt the biggest connection with is Sheffield for sure! They seem to just click with us over there and feel exactly how we try to make people feel about our music! They go absolutely nuts! We headlined in this place called SOYO for Tramlines Festival and the gig go so crazy everyone who were crowd surfing pulled the chandeliers out the roof. The venue had to shut to refurbish for two days! We love Sheffield, it feels like home.

Crazy! How did the band come together?

Billy and Blakes were a few years older than me in school and they used to just bully me about the football pitch ‘cause I was a little chubby runt but I was Billy’s little brothers best mate. Bill taught me and Blakes how to play guitar and I just started writing.

You don’t wanna know how we met Dr Bob! It includes mud wrestling, a riot van and a next door neighbour who looks like a black George Clooney….. another time [Laughs].

How would you describe your music?

Coronation Street. Explosive. Dripping Wet.

You’re young compared to other alternative indie-rock bands, how do you cope with the pressure of succeeding?

To be honest, I think because we’re young we’re all so clueless to everything that’s going on around us because we’ve not had time to learn about anything yet. But that makes me feel great because we know we’re in it for all the right reasons. Like, we just love playing music and touring the world together and there’s nothing more to it: no money, no egos, just music. We just feel so innocent and wide eyed to it all.

How normal is your life now that you are in a band who are touring and getting more exposure?

I’ve been with these lads since I was 15. I got kicked out of school because I was missing so much time gigging and recording and stuff so I’ve never known any other life really. My mum and dad are like vagabonds and when we were younger they’d just randomly pack things into our van and we’d just drive somewhere. I was trained to cope with living out a suitcase fairly early [Laughs].

Which is your favourite single that you have released?

I can’t really say to be honest because they all mean a lot to me for different things like Pacifier – the b-side to Homesick – we feel is the best song but Homesick started the spark with us and it’s the first thing most people had ever heard of us. But, now,  Rango seems to be causing more of a stir than Homesick did so, I don’t know. My favourite single is a song called Lisa that nobody has heard yet, not even the label. Wait till you hear that one! That song is unreal.

Who are your inspirations?

My Mum & Dad (but only when they’re drunk!). They slur out some of the most poetic lines you’ll ever hear when they’ve had a few. Our Tour Manager is at the bottom of most of our songs because he just gets in these wild, wild nights somehow. He’s my best mate from school so I’ve grown up witnessing him fall into all these mad situations.

Who would you love to work/collaborate with in the music industry?

da Maria!!!! Someone told me the other day her management spoke to ours and said she’d love to work with us too apparently??? Soo, you never know! I just love her voice! I want to be the male version of her! But yeah, Ida.

Have you been star-struck yet? If so, who by?

The only time I’ve ever been “star-struck” wasn’t actually by a “star” Have you heard of Stephen Fretwell?


Not many people have but to me, growing up and writing music, he was like a modern day Bob Dylan. I snuck backstage at a really small show he did last year and met him. I just kind of wanted to lick his face and didn’t know what to say to him. I don’t get star-struck with anyone at all. I never understood that “Can I have a photo with you?” kind of approach: they’re just people. But I think I was a bit more in awe than star-struck with Fretwell because of what he means to my writing.


Very very very happily married! You wouldn’t want me anyway, I’m terrible in bed!

What is your view on the likes of One Direction/The Wanted and their successes, gigs, party antics…?

I don’t really have a view except those lucky silver pants wearers who can’t even play instruments or write songs just dance for a living and probably have more sex than a drunken Johnny Depp! That’s not even a pop. I mean that in a way that I’m saying they’re absolute GENIUSES!

I wish I didn’t have to sit in a sweaty van and write my fingers to the bone on songs when I could just rock up with cute curly hair and sleep with anyone I wanted to [Laughs].

The Wanted are shitheads though, they’re too old for it, they should know better. They’re all creepy looking.

One Direction are just young and handsome so I don’t mind them. Apart from the one who looks like an Alien!

What would you rather be doing on a Friday night? Going out to the pub/club/gig? Or, staying in with films, mates and pizza?

Films all day! But you’ve got to remember that we live in Llandudno: the DULLEST TOWN ON THE EARTH! We have a Weatherspoons and that’s it! So definitely films for me all day! Something with Ewan McGregor in.

What can we expect to see and hear from Catfish and The Bottlemen in the future? 

To see hopefully just loads and loads and LOADS of gigs and we’ll be doing our debut album in the New Year which we’re all so excited about.

How excited are you to be playing at Reading and Leeds festival this year?

WE CAN’T WAIT! I always said I never wanted to go to these festivals unless we were playing them. So I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t. I’m really excited to do it. Especially ‘cause Radio1 personally asked us to do it. We just feel really lucky. Can’t wait!

Best moment so far?

Being born was my highlight by a mile.

Homesick is out now. Rango will be out September 16th. For more info, head to catfishandthebottlemen.com

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