Billy Bibby, ex-Catfish and the Bottlemen, is on the rise with his new act Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles. They’ll be hitting the festival circuit this summer, and they’re taking it slow. I got the opportunity to speak with Bibby about his favourite cocktail and how he’s handling post-Catfish life:
First things first, why did you leave Catfish and the Bottlemen?
Well what I did with Catfish is something I’m very proud to have achieved, whilst I was with them. But at the moment I’m just looking forward to the future with my band, you know… That’s all I’m focused on really. It’s just one of those things, sometimes you’ve got to move on.
How are you looking to craft your own image and separate yourself from Catfish?
I think it just happens naturally really. The songs are different in their own right because the way I write songs is different to the way a band writes songs, so they’ve taken their own course. I’ve not tried to force it or anything like that, it’s all just working that way.
What do you think you learnt from your time with Catfish?
It taught me a lot really. We started from very young teenagers and that; it just taught us everything about touring, recording and everything to do with the music business. It got to the point where we were getting signed by labels and stuff. So it’s great to have that experience on board from those days. It’s been a lot easier for me to make a transition to my own stuff and my own band because you just take what you’ve learnt into that. Obviously I know it all now, well not all of it, you’re always learning, but it makes things a lot easier anyway.
How did you go about choosing the members for your new band?
A friend of a friend knows Simon Jones, the bass player from the Verve, so she mentioned me to him and he was telling me to give him a ring. I didn’t really know what he wanted to talk about but I gave him a ring anyway and we had a little chat about things. Then I just asked if he knew any musicians and if he wanted to get a band together. He said he knew loads and he has his own studio so we organised to have some auditions there. It wasn’t massively serious or anything – we weren’t sitting there on a judging panel. We just had a little jam, got the ones that fit the bill and put them to work! So I’ve been with those lads now since last summer, last July I think. We’ve already got that bond as a band.
I ask this to most people I interview, and I’m slowly compiling a list. If your band was a cocktail, what would it be?
Well my favourite cocktail is a Caipirinha. It’s like a Brazilian style vodka thing, a little bit like a mojito. I don’t know if I’d describe us as that though because it’s a bit sad. So I’d probably go for a… I’ve never had this question before! Something sweet…
Yeah, a Woo-Woo’s a good one. Yeah, we’ll go for that! [laughs]
How was it to leave a pretty well established act and go back into the industry on your own?
It was a bit strange at first because obviously you’re on your own and that. I didn’t know what I was going to do after Catfish, I didn’t have a plan really. Then I was like, shall I start writing some music? So I started to do that again, and I quite liked what I was doing, what I was writing. So then I thought I’d try and do an acoustic tour, just me and my brother. Just to see what the songs sounded like and how they went down, and they went down well. So then I decided to try and get a band together. You don’t have 10, 20, 30 people having their involvement anymore either. It was going that way with Catfish, loads of people telling you what to do and that. So it was nice to sort of go back to the old school way of doing it yourself, and not have to go through loads of people to get to a decision about anything. Even when I got the band together there’s more heads involved, but it’s still a nice little family. I love it. I love it this way. Obviously I want it to grow and get bigger and bigger, hopefully up to the stage that it was before, you know. I’m not afraid of that success if it comes.
Who are you listening to most at the moment?
I’m listening to a lot of Nothing but Thieves, really into them. Our drummer and guitarist listen to them a lot so I thought I’d give them a go, and it’s good. It’s a bit different to what we do but I like listening to it. I just started listening to the Last Shadow Puppets’ new album as well and there’s some decent tunes on there. So they’re the two albums I’ve been listening to the most, yeah.
Where do you hope to be by the end of the year?
Still trying to build. We’ve got a new single coming out soon, then hopefully we’ll be keeping busy just before festival season, then we have quite a few festivals slowly starting to creep in including Kendal Calling. Then we want to tour straight away off the back of the festivals, and maybe bring out a new E.P. before the end of the year. Then, next year, just keep building on that!
Find out more about Billy’s tour and band here: https://www.facebook.com/billybibs20/