Billy Bibby And The Wry Smiles are about to embark on a big nationwide tour to support their debut EP Bide Your Time. You may know him as the former guitarist of Catfish And The Bottlemen, but he's branched out on his own and is building an audience and reputation all of his own. We had a chat with him before tonight's opening night at The Night And Day in Manchester.
Where did the name The Wry Smiles come from?
Hi, Well we were just throwing a few funny names around in the practice room as you do and then our bass player goes 'The Wry Smiles?' I said let me think on it. A few weeks later I decided that was the one, told the lads, all happy with it and there it was. Name sorted.
How does it feel to be going back out on the road with a new band after a year or so away from that type of touring?
It feels like the natural thing to do. I have bad cabin fever at the moment stuck in the house, but at least I've been able to write songs and get other shit done and now I'm ready to get out on the road with my band and show everyone their new favourite music!
Why did you choose to go down the band route rather than playing as a solo artist? And will you continue to do solo shows as well as full band ones?
I love the sound of being in a band. it's more interesting to me and it's where my heart is. It's easier as a solo musician with little equipment to lug around but I'd much rather make the effort with the band and that's what I did. Have you ever spent a night in a Travelodge with a group of lads in the band? Good times! It's what we do it for! haha. I'll still do acoustic gigs though yeah of course.
Could you tell us a little about your new EP Bide Your Time?
Bide Your Time is actually a line from a song that's not on the EP. I liked that line though and thought it was suitable for the EP. You'll hear that song soon enough. It's a corker!
And about the other songs on the EP?
I'd just suggest to buy the EP you won't regret it!! It's got a song that's full of energy and is the kind of song I personally like listening to. There's a song for everyone! I don't really like describing what the songs are like with all the ins and outs I just like saying they've all got a rock/pop/country vibe and they are all in my opinion worthy of being a decent single for the average punter who likes to hear a catchy tune about everyday things that can sing it in the shower, in the car or at work!
How much material do you have written - have you always written and stored them up in the way Noel Gallagher did pre-Oasis and have albums worth waiting to be heard?
I write as much as I can but I don't write songs for the sake of it. If I think a song is half decent I'll get rid of it! If i don't think people quite take to it I don't bother finishing it. The melody isn't a problem for me. The lyrics are the hard part because if I haven't got something interesting to write about then I won't write until I do. I've got a fair few together now though. A couple of good albums will be ready to go soon!
When we watched Catfish in the early days around the venues that you're playing again now, you always looked to be the odd one out in a band that was getting more poppier and commercial every time we saw them. Do you ever look at what Catfish have become and have any regrets that you're not still with them?
Well having short hair and being taller than the rest of the lads may have made me seem like the odd one out in that respect. In terms of the music though, and that's the important part, I was very much into that music as much as anyone else!
I'm only looking forward now though and although I'm very proud of what I achieved with Catfish I'm now concentrating on the future of my band and how I get us to the same kind of heights. I said in a recent interview 'I've yet to regret anything that's happened in my life' Not everything that happens in life is pleasant, but every experience we have can teach us something. There's nothing to regret about learning. Experiences good and bad are what shape our life paths and careers and should be taken as the learning curve towards what makes us in the future!
Deep stuff I know but that's just how I see it!
What can we expect from you in the rest of 2016?
A shit load of music released, loads of gigs, building a fan base that will help sing the songs with me at gigs and just enjoying every minute of it!
If you had to describe your sound and your songs to someone who'd never heard you before - where would you start?
I'd say listen to James Bay, Noel Gallagher HFB, Jake Bugg, Fleetwood Mac and then mash it all together and you might have Billy Bibby & The Wry Smiles!?? It's really just simple tunes done well!
Billy plays the following dates : Manchester Night And Day (Feb 5), Stoke The Underground (6), Liverpool Studio 2 (11), Edinburgh Sneaky Pete's (12), Inverness Ironworks (13), London Upstairs At The Garage (18), Doncaster Leopard (19), Preston Mad Ferret (20), Alderley Edge The Yard (21), Brighton Prince Albert (24), Bristol Thunderbolt (25), Stroud The Prince Albert (26), Exeter Cavern (27), Glasgow ABC2 (March 2), Aberdeen Cafe Drummond (4), Swansea The Scene (12), Merthyr New Crown Inn (13), Crewe The Box (17), Chester Live Rooms (18), Sheffield The Cremorne (19), Leeds Milo's (20) and Gravesend The Middle Eight (26).
The Bide Your Time EP will be available at the shows.
Billy is on Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud.
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