Eventim Spotlights caught up with ex Catfish and The Bottleman guitarist Billy Bibby about going solo, his favourite songs to perform and his upcoming show at 229 The Venue, part of Independent Venue Week….
Was there a defining moment in your life that helped you to realise you wanted to be a musician?
No I don’t think there was ever a defining moment as I’ve been passionate about music since I can remember and my Granddad made me my first guitar when I was about 3.
I suppose being in Catfish [and The Bottlemen] and when things started progressing it kind of sunk in that I was a professional musician by name, but it’s always been my passion to play on stage in front of people and play music so I always believed I would get to that point.
After being a member of Catfish and The Bottlemen for several years, what made you take the leap to become a solo artist?
Well I’m very proud of what I achieved with Catfish, and to be honest I wasn’t sure what I was going to do after it. I then just started writing these songs and they came out alright, so I took them on an acoustic tour to see what the public’s reaction would be to them.
If they didn’t like them I would have maybe written some more, but they went down well and then that led me to want to start a band and do the songs some justice.
How did you find your backing band?
With a bit of luck really. It was through a friend of a friend who knew Simon Jones (the Verve bass player) and he told her to tell me to give him a call. So I did and we chatted about a few things and so I asked him if he knew of any musicians that might be interested in joining a band with me.
Next thing you know I’m in his studio with people auditioning for the band and within a few weeks we had the band sorted and ready for practise! Within a couple of months we played our first few gigs together before Christmas and we are now about to go on a 20+ [date] tour of the UK! So I’m happy with the progress made to say the least!
What is the best thing so far about going out there on your own?
Well, to be honest I like being with a band, and that’s why when I’d toured the songs acoustically with just my brother (manager) I thought I need to get this sorted soon, because I’m not travelling round the country just the two of us again!!
I suppose the only thing I enjoyed was the lack of all the equipment to set up and only having to worry about myself. But I’d much rather make the effort and go the full Monty. The songs deserve at least that I think.
Which of your tracks do you enjoy performing the most?
To perform Don’t Fall is my favourite as its got some balls to it and they’re the kind of songs I think most people enjoy playing on stage. Big chorus, big guitars and big sound!
On the other side of that though I do enjoy playing Believe Me as it’s a song I’m very proud of and one that I wasn’t sure if I could write.
Who inspires you musically?
Elvis Presley will always be up there for me as I’ve grown up listening to his music so an element of that is always in my songs. I love Mark Knopflers style of playing on guitar and at the moment James Bay and Noel Gallagher’s albums I take a lot of inspiration from, as they are current and are doing well in the charts so it’s important to me that my songs are with the times.
If you could gig with anybody, who would you choose and why?
I’d like to gig with Noely G or James Bay. Like I said both artist are doing well and I think my music would fit in well as it’s somewhere in between the both. I also want to build my own following up though to so it’s important if you want to have a loyal fan base to go out there and try and headline your own shows as well even at this early stage in the process!
It’s not long now until you grace the stage at 229 The Venue! Can you give our readers a few words on what to expect from the gig?
Just expect a well polished performance that’s well rehearsed. Our bass player is good with the pyrotechnics too so watch out!!
What is the best advice you can pass on to any young musicians starting out?
Learn from mistakes quickly and gig hard because once you’ve got a set of songs you believe in you then have to find a way to make everyone else believe in them too, and that’s the hard part…
Billy will be performing at London’s 229 on Thursday 28th January. Find your tickets here.