UKBlues Federation is proud to be hosting the Fifth UKBlues Challenge. The challenge will be taking place at Worthing Pier’s, Southern Pavilion on 8th September 2018 Doors open at 18.00 hours. Tickets are in demand so get yours today – over at SeeTickets.
Bluesdoodles is delighted to have once again the opportunity to have a conversation with the invited participants for the Fifth UKBlues Challenge. The judges are going to have a real challenge in deciding the which of the five bands (Catfish, Greg Coulson, Tom C Walker, Kyla Brox and band number five to be announced after Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival, Jessica Foxley stage will be choosing the fifth band!) are going to be heading off to represent the UK at the 35th International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2019 & 9th European Blues Challenge in Ponta Delgada in the Azores in April 2019.
Fourth conversation with Liz over at Bluesdoodles is with Catfish, well Paul & Matt Long. Catfish are a band that are getting attention on the blues circuit for all the right reasons. They play music that connects. The current album Broken Man, continues to delight with every listen. Catfish may at times be define by matt Long’s guitar but they go so much deeper, with its signature Les Paul and Hammond sound.
The conversation was with Matt & Paul Long – M&PL
BD: Firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 5th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more.
M&PL: Thank you as well for taking time to chat with us.
BD: 2018 sees the fifth UK British Blues Challenge. Tell us what it means to Catfish to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in International Blues Challenge in Memphis and European Blues Challenge in The Azores in 2019
M&PL It is an amazing idea to have a challenge, it is going to be a great night. It is a real opportunity to showcase young blues artists in the UK. Starting off in Worthing it is a great adventure. Paul shared that he had been to Memphis as a punter and found it an interesting week, American blues is somewhat different, it is much less diverse. UK blues cross references many styles and approaches. Catfish has a wide range of styles. As Matt said, to encapsulate Catfish we play blues with soul and on all occasions play true to ourselves. We are different, but then LaVendore Rogue won last year, they definitely had a great adventure I think they scared Memphis a bit. Catfish will play with the same passion, it is hard to know what to play in a thirty-minute slot, our tracks of 22mins, 10 mins and 17 mins are just not suitable. We tend to do longer tracks, not like artists such as Jared James Nichols, his whole album is over in less than thirty minutes with tracks only 2 minutes long, capturing the power of Nicholls blues guitar.
BD: What are the Blues to Catfish? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?
M&PL: Blues is a strong influence on the whole band, you can hear it in the guitar, and how we write the music it is not just about a chord sequence. Blues in Europe is different. Euro bands tend to be more entertaining they don’t gaze at the floor, they energise the audience and that is half the show.
Blues, whatever your sound, is influenced by people. It is a statement, ‘this is me’ individuality is a blues tradition. We all have the same sequences and chords. Yet BB King Versus Buddy Guy the sound is totally different thy have found their own signature. It is rather like finding your own voice. Lyrics are not about singing about cotton fields, slavery but we do all have in common relationships, politics and what we think. Have to keep sound and lyrics real and relevant or you just become a pastiche artist.
BD: Catfish, your last album was Broken Man any plans to be back in the studio soon once the festival season across Europe is over.
M&PL Catfish are in the studio at the moment, we have nearly written the whole album, just one or two songs left to do. It will be fun to get out and play some new material. The album is definitely not Broken Man 2. The songs are about life changing moments, there is a change in songs direction with a few more personal subjects that cut deep. The album will have the same variety and this time we are co-writing this time is a change. Co-writing team Long & Long. I (Paul) will bring an idea of a tune to Matt it will be different it emerges and a number with a monster sound in the middle. It becomes a different song it is no longer a piano ballad. Matt gives the number a quiet intensity. It is interesting to have a different perspective not everything had to change. We do have slightly different work ethics combined with similar music interests. Co-writing has shown us it is good to change a few things. I can guarantee we may have changed a few things, there will be plenty of big guitar sounds. But it will always be about the song that is the heart of the blues. We can take a traditional blues chord, have guitar solo in the middle but Catfish stand by our original ideas for the music we play bringing a bit of diversity.
BD: What do you feel The UKBlues Federation can bring to the UK Blues what would you like the Federation to be doing for Blues artists on the circuit in Britain today?
M&PL: It is interesting now we have a Federation not that many years UK was not in the IBC. The Federation is doing good work. One way forward would be forming a close alliance with promotors/venues/artist/publicity scene so acting together as a link the holds all the strands together. The collaboration could have a presence at festivals with a stall and bigger gigs getting the Federation a presence. Promoting live blues music at times feels like you are shouting into the void all this would help in getting bands, blues and the Federation known and seen.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
I love having people who are better than me playing it makes a good band.
Guitar: Lowell George
Drums: Richie Hayward
Keys: Leon Russell
In fact yes, let’s have Little Feat plus Leon Russell
Guitar: Joe Bonamassa
Drums: Dave Grohl
Bass: Billy Sheehan
Vocals: Myles Kennedy
A final message, Catfish will continue playing music our way if you don’t like us that is fine walk away and find what you do like.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to Bluesdoodles, best of luck on the 8th September at the Fifth UKBlues Challenge in Worthing.
Tickets still available follow the link to Purchase from See Tickets