Artist in Focus: Catfish and the Bottlemen


Catfish and the Bottlemen have experienced immense growth over the past few years, and it is safe to say their progression has been unavoidable globally.

Formed in the North Welsh town Llandudno in 2007, the indie rock band began to discover their sound as Ryan ‘Van’ McCann (lead singer) and William Bibby (former lead guitarist) named the band ‘The Prestige’. McCann and Bibby were later joined by Benji Blakeway (bass guitarist) and Jon Barr (former drummer). A few years later, the band lost Barr, who was then replaced by Bob Hall in 2010. Alongside Barr, Bibby also left the band in 2014 to pursue his own musical career and was later replaced by Johnny Bond, the four of them forming what we now know as Catfish and the Bottlemen. Despite this loss of members over the years, the band has done nothing but adapt and grow, earning them much fame and attention.

Their very early musical appearances were mostly in the carparks of other concerts, where they were able to achieve a little recognition. It’s hard to imagine the hit singles they have achieved being performed in such a mundane environment, but this really emphasises the huge growth the band has experienced.

One of their earliest EP releases was Poetry and Fuel in 2009, and the songs now have hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. Fan favourites seem to include ‘Sea Found’, ‘Harlot’ and ‘Bite Down Salvador’.

In 2013 the band signed to Communion Music, a record label known to promote other indie bands such as Bear’s Den and Twin Peaks. The same year, Catfish released three of their most popular singles; ‘Homesick’, ‘Pacifier’ and ‘Rango’. Catfish are now currently signed to Universal Island Records.

2014 was a year which brought much success to the band. Their first studio album The Balcony was released in September 2014 and caused the band an enormous amount of attention as it later featured in the UK Album Charts at number 10.

They also won the BBC Introducing Award in this year, an outstanding achievement which is where many of their current fans discovered them. On the night of their winning, they performed the hit single ‘Kathleen’.

McCann has previously been known to comment on the reaction from NME towards their music. It seems that NME held much disbelief and dislike towards the band. Despite this rejection, Catfish continued writing and creating and ultimately landed in success, as in 2016 they were nominated for the NME awards for Best British Band, Best Live Band and Best Fan Community.

Since 2014, the successes of Catfish and the Bottlemen have been never-ending and they have earned more mainstream attention. In 2016, they won the British Breakthrough Act and later on in the year released their second album, The Ride, which reached number 1 in the UK Album Charts.

The first single from The Ride to be released was ‘Twice’, featuring in the UK Top 100 Charts and later becoming a crowd favourite, exhibiting much excitement from the crowd for its powerful, memorable chorus and monosyllabic lines.

One reason why Catfish and the Bottlemen perhaps gained so much popular attention in arguably a short amount of time is due to the combined mix of influences involved in their sound. McCann often states that The Streets acted as a big influence on their music, and their sound is often likened to that of Johnny Marr and Mystery Jets. This combination of influences has resulted in their popularity as a band being experienced globally, as demonstrated in their performances in major festivals across the world, such as Lollapalooza in Chicago and Glastonbury festival.

On January 25th 2019, Catfish announced the release of their upcoming album, The Balance, which is out today. The track-list includes singles which have already been released, such as ‘Fluctuate’, ‘2all’ and ‘Longshot’. ‘Longshot’ managed to reach number 25 in the UK Top 100 Charts in January, gaining the band much positive attention and excitement from fans for the upcoming release.

The Balance is available now via Island Records.



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Live Editor 2019/20 & third year English student. Probably watching Gilmore Girls

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