Van McCann on his band’s success: ‘Now we’re having sticky toffee pudding for dessert… and more!’

Catfish And The Bottlemen's frontman claims playing festivals has contributed to his band's rise

Catfish and the Bottlemen’s Van McCann has discussed his band’s meteoric rise, attributing a lot of their success so far to playing festivals.

In this week’s NME cover feature, available digitally and on newsstands now, the singer, whose band play a huge number of festivals including Glastonbury, Radio One’s Big Weekend,T In The Park, Latitude, plus Reading and Leeds this year, says how the group told their booking agent, “Say ‘yes’ to everything”.

“Playing T In The Park and then Reading and Leeds last year were real game-changers for us,” McCann told NME. “Before that we’d been playing 50-100 capacity venues, and they’d been crazy – but then at the festivals it was just as crazy and there were 4,000 more people.”

One milestone, the frontman says, was playing last year’s Reading and Leeds. “That’s when I knew it was real,” he revealed. “I thought [the crowd] were just coming in [to the tent] because it was pissing it down, but it was still sunny. When we went on they knew all the songs. Our album wasn’t even out yet. It was mental.”

Despite having only attended one festival as a punter in his youth (V Festival in 2009, “I only went to that because it was close and all the girls at school were going”), McCann states that he relishes playing at them. “I love festivals. We started the band when we were so young that we always said: ‘We’re not going to that festival unless we play it.’ We never went to Glasto or Leeds or anything like that.”

“I never really liked them until we played them last year. You always have to drag your gear through the mud and you’re never allowed into the posh bit where the Arctic Monkeys are eating. Now we’ve earned our way into different areas. Now we’re having sticky toffee pudding for dessert… and more!”

Van McCann also described the band’s goal of headlining Glastonbury. He added, “Our Glastonbury headline set would just be greatest hits. No album tracks, no B-sides, no messing about with the shit songs.”

“I like it when a band just takes headliner status, instead of being bestowed with it just because it’s about time. No band since the Arctic Monkeys has done that. With us, the fans have made us and I want that to continue. I’d love for Glastonbury to say: ‘Well it has to be them.’ I’d love for it to not even be rumoured. They’d just say: ‘Well it has to be them because of what they’ve done this year, and what their songs have done.’ I’d love it if we could force our way in.”

Elsewhere in the interview, McCann also stated that the band’s next album will be “miles better” than their gold-selling debut ‘The Balcony’, vowing that the LP will cause “a little bomb” to go off in the music industry.

McCann said, “I think a little bomb will go off in the music industry and people will go ‘Who’s making all that racket?’ It’s miles better than the last album. The band’s 10 times better, the crew’s 10 times better and we’re all 10 times better looking.”

Speaking of his aims for the album, McCann commented, “I wanted to make a life-affirming record for normal heads – people who get up and just want to have a good day. They’ll put it on and think ‘Fuck, this feels mint.’ It’s proper arms-out music. I want to make you feel the way The Strokes did, but with the enormity of Oasis and the lyrics of The Streets.”

Catfish And The Bottlemen recently unveiled the video for their new single ‘Hourglass’, which stars Ewan McGregor after the band cut up clips of McGregor’s films and set compiled them into a video for their song ‘Kathleen’.
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