Sheffield. Division Street. The Frog & Parrot. All three days of Tramlines Festival, this tiny pub in the centre of the street has had one exciting line-up. On the Saturday night, Catfish And The Bottlemen headlined the venue to a packed crowd. Although these days it has become easy to dismiss new guitar bands as generic rip-off acts, the four piece from Llandudno easily have the potential to become Britain’s next biggest rock band; combining a hard work ethic with unmistakably explosive, fresh tunes is sure to get them there, not to mention the fact that they can count Carl Barat, The Vaccines and The Wombats as part of their fan base! A few hours prior to their set, singer Van McCann took some time to speak to Hooting And Howling about his views on the festival and the current music scene, as well as what the band are up to at the moment.
How important is it for you to get involved with festivals such as Tramlines?
Van: This is the first time we’ve done it but judging by how it’s gone down, it’s pretty amazing. We’ll get involved with anything; if anyone asks us to come down and play at a festival or a gig, we will. It’s as important as anything. It should be quality in The Frog & Parrot tonight so we’re just honoured that people see us as a headline act. I love Sheffield too; it’s like our second home, so it’s really good to get involved with stuff like this.
Have you seen any bands this weekend?
Van: I’ve just seen Cut Your Wings; they’re a bit of a blues band and I think they’re from round here – they were great. I’ll probably go and see The Ratells later and The Heartbreaks tomorrow if we stick around.
Would you say you enjoy playing live more than recording?
Van: I definitely prefer playing live. I hate being stuck in a room for ages so I like playing live and doing our bit. I do like going in the studio but it’s completely different and playing live is just so much better.
You play a lot of gigs together – where do you find is best for live music?
Van: Sheffield’s my favourite because we’ve got the biggest fanbase here; we’ve got a great following and they’re all really sound. London’s always good too. Whenever we go to London it always feels like something exciting’s going to happen. Venue-wise, I like big square rooms…big, but at the same time really sweaty and horrible! There’s a place in Chester called Telfords Warehouse that’s amazing. I think it’s my favourite venue at time of press!
Have Catfish & The Bottlemen got any new releases or recording plans coming up?
Van: We just released…oh no, it was ages ago, in April, but we released a single then and I think we’re going to release something in October but maybe sooner. We’re going to Germany in September and then we’ll release something. We’ll probably do our own tour in November, but probably only a small one and we’ll do a bigger one in the new year.
What inspires you the most when you write your music?
Van: People! I wish I could just imagine songs but I can’t, so a lot of our songs are all happenings between us four and our roadie…mainly our roadie, he gets into some right situations!
Why do you think guitar music is so important in today’s music industry?
Van: It’s real, it’s all real people who write real music I guess. I don’t have anything against electronic music but guitar music is real. You’ve got to learn to do it and work hard at it; tonight at The Frog & Parrot, it’s so small, you could just turn up with a laptop, press play and sing and that would probably be a lot easier but it’s so much better cramming loads of people in there, you can hardly move in there! Everyone’s just bumping into each other and sweating. I just like the realness of it; it’s raw and it makes people feel something.
Do you ever thing guitar music could ever take a prominent place back in the charts? Do you think that’s even important?
Van: It’s important to guitar music because it means that if a guitar band charts then that sound is moving into the public eye. I don’t know if it matters but it will definitely come back. All it takes is for people to love it that much and it just so happens that people love other things at the moment, but until someone class comes about then it’ll be difficult. But, bands like The Heartbreaks and Little Comets are doing it which is a really good sign.