By Desh Kapur, Rock At Night Manchester Correspondent
Rock At Night had the pleasure of interviewing Billy Bibby (formerly with Catfish and the Bottlemen), who has recently embarked on a solo career. He will be touring as Billy Bibby & the Wry Smiles. Please see the interview below:
Rock At Night: What’s your plans and objectives for 2016?
Billy: Have a successful tour with my band over the next couple of months, have the new E.P well received by fans, build up a loyal fan base that can help make this snowball to a bigger tour next time and to just enjoy every minute I can doing the best job in the world!
Rock At Night: As you have said you have a UK tour coming up. Tell us about that. How big is the tour where are you playing?
Billy: Yeah, I’m looking forward to getting back on the road after 18 months out the game, but we’ve booked in 20+ dates across the UK, so it’s a big tour and that’s how I like it. I’m working hard to build up this fan base playing way up in Inverness to way down in Exeter. So some proper mileage is going in!! Manchester, Liverpool, London and Edinburgh to name a few.
Rock At Night: What release do you have out at the moment?
Billy: I have only one single out at the moment called ‘Waitin’ for You’ which has had some decent radio play and is available on Spotify and Itunes etc. I’ve also created a funny little lyric video for it which you can find on Youtube. It’s got Elvis and John Travolta in it. Cost a bloody fortune it did!
Rock At Night: As you have said, you have a single out at the moment and a EP in the pipe line. Where did you record that? Did you play all the instruments or did you use session musicians? Are you releasing it yourself or are you releasing it through a label? When is it being released?
Billy: Lots of questions there!! Ha! Well the E.P is scheduled for release in early February with an exact date announcement soon. I have my band now, whom are recently christened The Wry Smiles and they came into the studio with me in Penmaenmawr which is just down the road from me– and recorded a four track E.P with a producer called Russ Hayes. It all went better than I even thought it would and the tracks sound fucking brilliant. I’m really pleased with them and Russ I have to say is a genius behind the wheel. The lads in the band absolutely smashed it too. It’ll be released by myself on this occasion. Back to basics.
Rock At Night: Clint Boon from Inspiral Carpets compared you to Bruce Springsteen. Do you think that represents your music and how would you describe yourself musically?
Billy: To be honest, if Clint Boon said I sounded like the Spice Girls, I’d agree with him because he’s that much of a legend in my opinion. No, but seriously, I think he’s right. Yeah, there is that influence along with others in that same kind of category. Musically my songs do have that slight country vibe to them but they are mainly just catchy rock/pop songs. They are pretty simple but I dare you not to sing them after a couple of listens!! Ha!
Rock At Night: You have put a band together for this tour. Will this be permanent members and used on recording or will this be just a touring band, when you need it?
Billy: I want these guys to be permanent. I just hope they do too!! They’re a great bunch of lads. Great musicians, easy to get on with, and easy to work with so there’s no reason to change them
Rock At Night: What are your musical roots? What bands did you listen to growing up and who are your influences?
Billy: I grew up on Elvis Presley as my Dad was a big fan of his. So naturally he is one but others are: Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straights, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, James Bay, early Kings of Leon etc. I also listen to a band called Desert Noises a lot. I did a couple of shows with when I was on tour in the U.S with Catfish. I was in awe watching them live and I’ve enjoyed listening back home and would recommend them to anyone who enjoys my music too.
Rock At Night: Since I play music, I’m always interested in knowing about gear. Do you favour any kind of guitars, amps, or effects?
Billy: I love Fender guitars so my Stratocaster is my prized possession. It’s got Humbucker pick-ups which make it sound fat! Just bought an Ampeg Reverberocket amp which I absolutely love. It’s got a nice rich, thick tone to it. Matt Followill from Kings of Leon uses one. And since I’ve become lead singer pedals aren’t as important to me as they once were with Catfish but I like a good Holy Grail pedal with the Ibanez Tube Screamer!
Rock At Night: Who is an artist you have always wanted to see in concert but never had the opportunity? Who would you like to tour with?
Billy: I’d like to watch Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and support him too. Think my music would go well along side his. To be honest, I’m not overly fussed about seeing anyone else really I’m just focused on my own stuff and how I can get my band in the position of headlining big shows in the near future.
Rock At Night: What is the best thing about being a musician? What is the worst thing?
Billy: The best thing is the gig by a million miles. Playing music with a group of like-minded lads is a great feeling and when you have fans singing back its even better. Oh and eating Wetherspoons every night!! Worst thing would probably be the travelling but to be honest I’m so used to it now that doesn’t even bother me as much as it used to.
Rock At Night: Is there anything you would want people out there to know about you or your music?
Billy: Yeah!! If you like Catfish & The Bottlemen’s music you’ll like mine. And even if you don’t like Catfish’ music… you’ll like mine!! Haha.
Rock At Night: Is this going to be the “Year of Bibby”?
Billy: Aye. Why not!
Rock At Night: And just so we don’t finish on 13 questions… what is your ideal night out?
Billy: I think we’re on 13?? Haha. Depends on the occasion? It usually involves a shit load of gin though…
VIDEO for “Waitin’ For You”