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Catfish and The Bottlemen: Portrait of The Next Biggest Band

January 13, 20198 min read

As I sat down to write this article 4 years ago, I initially wrote it with the unique goal of making people discover the band Catfish & The Bottlemen (CATB) in an attempt to shine some light on indie rock’s latest successful band. As I finally brought myself to finish this article 4 years later, I was sadly in the obligation to hit the delete key.  ”Underrated” was amongst the many words I used to describe them, however, they’re the last words I could use to describe them now. Catfish and the Bottlemen are a British rock band, formed in Llandudno, Wales in 2007, as of 2019 their members consist of Van McCann (Lead singer and guitarist), Bob Hall (Drummer), Benji Blakeway (Bassist) and Bondy (Guitarist). Their debut album, The Balcony, reached number 10 in the UK Albums Chart, was the #1 selling album as far as physical copies go and achieved Platinum status on 30 December 2016. Most remarkably, they are according to NME: ”Arguably the biggest new band in the country” and they aren’t close to stopping at that. As absurd their name can be, their music most definitely doesn’t hold the same title.

Here are all the reasons why Catfish and The Bottlemen are most definitely on the rise of becoming one of the next most influent bands of this decade:

© Gabriella Hughes

  1. Their unique sound

For the past couple of years, many have speculated that the “Rock” genre was dead and far from being revived in the 21st century. Although this fact can be quickly nodded at by simply checking the current charts which mostly display Rap, Pop and R&B tracks, dozens of upcoming bands have made their main task clear: bring back the rawness of the genre. And Catfish most definitely haven’t derogated from that:

Catfish are not reinventing the wheel. They make tightly honed, dense, melodic two-guitar rock that draws elements from new wave, indie, garage, grunge and Britpop, plumbing a line through Nirvana, Oasis and The Strokes.

© Gabriella Hughes 

Through his song writings, Van McCann, the lead singer, is more-so focused on trying to resonate with people rather than trying to speak up about issues. The songs are undeniably more heartfelt and pay tribute to all themes love and lust related and as McCann underlined, I just believe in us. I know how good the lads are at playing music, I know I can write songs that resonate with people, and I know I care enough about people who come to see us. The young singer had 300 songs written and 3 albums ready at the time their Record Label signed them. In Catfish & The Bottlemen, no member is favoured over the other, unlike some bands we’ve seen in the past. Each member has his moment of glory and can proudly shine through their respective musical performances. Their songs are refreshingly raw and true to their feelings. The usual robotic sounds and keyboards, common to the charting songs nowadays, are suppressed sights at their gigs, where only loud and meshed guitars lifted by the hundreds of singing fans in the crowd unite in ecstatic energy.

2. They most definitely don’t lack confidence 

Despite the fact that their concerts sell out in just a few minutes, the lead singer made it clear that he is bound to be the greatest in anything he undertakes with his band. On many occasions, McCann emphasizes his wish, “Too successful wouldn’t be successful enough for me.” In an interview with Noisey, he adds:

”To me, it’s like wanting to be a soccer player or an American football player but feeling OK about being on a team that’s tenth in the league. You want to be on the best team in the world, right? If I was a dustman, I’d want to be the best at picking up litter, you know? I just want to be the best I can be. I’m not scared to say I want to be the biggest band in the world.”

© Gabriella Hughes

From receiving un-justified hate and backlash from British media, sleeping in a van for three years with no money to their names, to touring around the world while performing in the biggest stages, Catfish & The Bottlemen have undoubtedly earned the right to seek for the best and strive for the top and it has only benefited their career as well as their outside image on the long-run. However, their infinite gratitude is constantly expressed through the many interviews they have but also through their commitment on stage. Humility is a familiar word for the band and as well for the people describing their working experience with them, reminding their audiences how easy CATB is easy to work with.

3. They’re The Future of Indie Rock

With a Brit Award for “Best British Breakthrough Act” and millions of fans worldwide, Catfish & The Bottlemen are far from resting at that. Their main goal is to bring their fans together through the dozens of concerts they play each year in various packed arenas and festivals to spread good music moving with ecstatic energy and passionately singing to his beloved crowd singing directly back at him their heart out on every song played. Catfish and The Bottlemen have only just started to climb the musical ladder and it is undeniable at this point that nothing could stand in their way and their goal of becoming one the next biggest band of this decade. With me along for the ride, we’re assured to only be in for great surprises.

”No matter what they’re into, no matter what they hate, what they love, what their religion is, what their race is, what their sex is, whatever, they’re all there because they’re vibing to this one thing I made.” – Van McCann

As GQ perfectly summed it up: ”In other words, no matter what you think of their name, they don’t plan on letting you forget it.”

If you’d like to find out more about the band, check out their website.

Check out Catfish & The Bottlemen’s latest single titled ”Longshot”

Featured Image: Gabriella Hughes 

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Hania Def

Hania Def is a writer who enjoys broadway shows, music, all things literary, cinematography and painting. She lives in Paris, France, where she attends law school. Email her at: [email protected] or find her at: @regrttes on twitter


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