He may have come to prominence as the lead guitarist of Catfish and the Bottlemen but Billy Bibby is now on a quest to forge a new musical path.

Billy left Catfish in 2014, seven years after forming the Welsh rock band with his friend Ryan 'Van' McCann.

In the intervening year, Billy took himself and his music in a different direction, writing new material before bringing together musicians for his new band, Billy Bibby and The Wry Smiles.

His efforts have now made their public debut, with the band's first EP, Bide You Time, receiving its UK release last Friday.

"There's a good mixture of dynamics in terms of the music I think," Billy says. "It's got some heavier sounding songs, but then there's also a slow one so you can have a slow dance with a partner and also just a classic pop/rock song that's sort of in the middle of both."

However, despite his new start, the EP of rousing pop rock tracks still has a nod to Billy's old group, with Russ Hayes, who was involved in some of Catfish's early recordings, acting as producer.

"We recorded it in Penmaenmawr not far from where I live in Llandudno with producer Russ Hayes whom we did early recordings with Catfish," says Billy. "Russ is a fantastic producer and musician so he deserves a lot of credit for squeezing the best out of us. The lads also did great laying down their instruments."

The decision to leave Catfish, a band that Billy had poured his heart and soul into for seven years, just as they were beginning to enjoy mainstream and international success may seem strange to some.

However, the Welsh rocker says, despite it being a hard decision, he believes it was the right call.

"It was always going to be difficult leaving something you've been a part of for such a long time and I'm proud of everything we achieved as Catfish," he says.

"After Catfish I wasn't sure what I'd do next. I knew it'd still be in music but I didn't know what exactly. Then I wrote a few decent tunes and after trialling them out at acoustic gigs I decided these songs needed a band.

"Starting again wasn't as hard because I have a head start in a way so to get to this point now with the band is great and I'm just excited to see what the future holds for us."

However, writing the EP provided to be a very different experience for Billy, who wrote all of the songs and their parts before bringing in musicians to form his new group.

"I did everything because I didn't have a band at the time," Billy says. "Then when I got the band together they learnt the parts and put their own twist on the parts in a good way.

"With Catfish, Van wrote the lyrics and put his acoustic guitar on it and then when he brought it into the studio we all put our parts on top of it.

"The sound is what it is. I didn't try to copy Catfish's sound nor did I try to stray away from it. The difference just comes with the songwriter and I'm naturally different in terms of ideas musically and lyrically."

The band are now preparing to play Edinburgh's Sneaky Pete's and Glasgow's O2 ABC as they hit the road for their UK tour and Billy can't wait.

"I don't think any other crowds compare to Scottish ones," he says. "I haven't got a bad thing to say about the Scottish and their mental crowd antics. I've always had a good gig in Scotland and I'll always make space for Scotland on the tour."

Billy is now focusing his efforts on touring and recording with his new band. However, don't expect to see their debut album anytime soon.

"I've got loads of songs written for the album but in terms of recording and releasing it that will be a long way off yet," he says. "I'm in no rush to get the album out just yet. If anything I'll probably do another EP and single before starting work on the album."

The former Catfish guitarist has also given a glimmer of hope to fans of his old group, saying he would not rule out a reunion with his former band mates one day.

"Never say never," he says, "but I'm currently very happy doing what I'm doing so I can't see that changing any time in the near future."

Billy Bibby and The Wry Smiles will play Sneaky Pete's in Edinburgh on February 12 and Glasgow's O2 ABC on March 2.