Billy Bibby sets sights on success ahead of Sheffield show

Billy Bibby.
Billy Bibby.
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Billy Bibby and his band, the Wry Smiles, have recently undergone a line-up change – but everything is “starting to come together”.

New drummer Ailis MacKay and lead guitarist Thomas Hill joined Bibby and bassist Matty Thomas in December.

Billy says: “You don’t plan to make changes, sometimes it just happens. Being on the road at our level is tough when you’re also trying to make money and keep everyone happy as well.

“We aren’t topping the bill and don’t make millions, so we have to work around our jobs, so they left for those reasons.”

The former bandmates – guitarist Rob Jones and drummer Mike Pearce – are fully supportive of the new line-up.

“There are no hard feelings,” says Billy. “Our old drummer came along to our recent Chester gig and enjoyed it, although it was weird seeing him in front of me when I’m used to him being at the back.”

The band has released numerous singles since 2015, with their most recent, Together?, out at the beginning of March, with an EP out this month.

But The Wry Smiles is not Billy’s first band – he was a founder member of chart-topping Catfish and The Bottlemen, leaving just before the release of their top-10 debut album in 2014.

“I don’t look back with any remorse because they’re doing their thing and I’m doing mine,” he says. “There are no hard feeling between us.

“Being in Catfish gave me invaluable experiences and puts me in good stead when growing a band from grass root.

“It can also be seen as a double-edged sword, as some people who associate me with Catfish may not listen to my stuff if they don’t like theirs.”

Like his current band, Catfish went through the struggles of being an unsigned band.

“It was about seven years before we got signed, and of course during that time we had doubts over if we’d ever get noticed,” he says.

“We are getting similar vibes at the moment, there’s plenty of bands who give up but if we just stick at it we will get somewhere as long as we have the tool to do so.”

Looking ahead, he wants “to keep writing and playing”.

“Even if it doesn’t take off I want us to be in a position where we will be ready for when it does,” he says. “The plan is just to keep releasing music and hopefully it’ll get bigger and bigger.”

Billy Bibby and the Wry Smiles play Sheffield’s Record Junkeee on Friday, April 20.