"It's all hard-hitting. I want to make a record where every song could be a single, not a story" – hmv.com talks to Catfish and the Bottlemen
As they head into the studio to record their debut album, we sat down with Catfish and the Bottlemen mainman Van McCann to talk about their plans for the record, why he'd give everything away for free if he could and why he's working with The Vaccines and Mumford & Sons…
You're currently out on tour supporting Little Comets, how are you finding life as a support band? Are you a tough sell?
"To be honest I quite like it. I like going onstage with an audience that doesn't want to like you and winning them round. You've got to really put on a show and play like it's your last gig, I like all that, no pressure, no expectations, you've just got to work hard."
Where are you with your debut album? Have you started recording it yet?
"We've been testing producers out and we recorded this one track, that'll probably be the next single, but we're going in properly straight after we're done touring. Mid-March, we've given all the demos to label, soon as they say they're happy with it we're off. I can't wait."
You're working with Jim Abbiss, how's it been so far working with him?
"We did a rehearsal with him and he said he liked what we're doing. We didn't click with him straight away, but that kind of made us click and work harder. It's a bit like that when you see a girl in a night club and she tells you to go away and then you see her later at a taxi rank and it feels like it's back on. You try that much harder."
He's made some pretty big records with the likes of Kasabian and Arctic Monkeys, but he's also known for being a bit of a disciplinarian, do you need someone like that?
"Kind of, with him it's very nonsense, very structured. We've worked with a lot of producers who are quite free and blasé, that's not what we're about. This band is based around hard work and being punctual. He's a good leader."
"The fact that he's worked on big records is a good thing for press to hang things on, I like his work rate, what he gets out of us, the demo he did with us sounded like a band I've never heard before, it's exciting."
How many songs have you got?
"We signed with about 70, I've got hundreds and hundreds, but we've whittled it down to 15 for the album sessions. It'll end up being between 11 and 15 for the record, it's all hard-hitting, direct tracks. I want a record where every song could be a single, not a story."
How hard was it to get 70 down to 15?
"Very. I do feel like we've kept some of our best songs back too for the second album; we're not going to throw anything away. I feel like we've got at least the first two albums ready."
How old are some of the songs? Do some date back to you being a teenager?
"All the songs are from the last two years, I've been writing since I was 15, but I wanted it all to be relevant to where we're at now, nothing too old. There's even a few that were written last month, I went to New York and did some writing with Justin from The Vaccines and Ben Lovett from Mumford & Sons, I think some of them will make it."
What was it like working with Justin? He's known for being very prolific too…
"I was out in New York with him, he's very sweet and a great songwriter, he helped me out a lot. I also rinsed him at football."
So when can we expect to hear the record?
"I'm thinking summer. August or September time. It'll be finished quickly though, we don't like being in the studio much, we started the band to tour, we never wanted to make money, I like living in a van and waking up in a new place every day, I'd give everything away free if I could. But I guess you've got to eat."
What's the plan after it's done? Touring and festivals?
"I want to do every festival we can. We're doing loads. We just want to tour and tour and tour. We're going to America to do Governor's Ball too, and we're going to tour around that. We're hoping to do some European dates too."
Catfish and the Bottlemen will release their debut album later this year. You can check out their previous singles in our download store now.