Scottish Album of the Year award: Young Fathers star opens up on how they had to reform and ‘start from scratch’ to make Scotland’s album of the year
Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) winners Young Fathers have revealed the band had to reform and “start from scratch” due to the impact of the Covid pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
Alloysious Massaquoi, who formed the ground-breaking Edinburgh group with Kayus Bankole and Graham 'G' Hastings in 2008, said the “trials and tribulations” of lockdown had inspired the title of their prize-winning album, Heavy Heavy.
He opened up on the personal toll of the music industry shutdown after picking up the coveted prize at the annual awards ceremony in Stirling on Thursday night, saying he had to “find it again” after the group decided to get back together and make new music.
Massaquoi told the audience at Stirling’s Albert Halls he had a “sort of love-hate relationship” with music.
Young Fathers won the “SAY Award” for the third time, edging out Andrew Wasylyk, Becky Sikasa, Bemz, Brìghde Chaimbeul, Brooke Combe, Cloth, Hamish Hawk, Joesef and Paolo Nutini.
Their win was announced in the midst of a long-awaited new UK tour, which included two gigs at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom this week and hometown shows at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh next week. Young Fathers signed their first record deal four years after starting to write and record together using an old old karaoke machine plugged into a cassette recorder.
The group won the Mercury Prize in 2014, the same year they also won the SAY Award for the first time and were honoured with the Scottish title again four years later.
Massaquoi, who described Young Fathers’ latest win as “radge”, recalled the effort needed to kick-start the revival of the group.
He said: “For me personally, I had to try to find it again because I have a sort of love-hate relationship with music. A lot of my inspirations aren’t musical. I just started to feel a bit down about stuff that was happening in the world, and life and whatnot due to lockdown.
“The guys and I decided to just come back together, reform and bring that excitement back again. The album is called ‘Heavy Heavy’ for a reason, it was just the trials and tribulations of everybody.
“It was one of those things where we sort of had to start from scratch – it had been five years since we had put something out with Cocoa Sugar – for us to get back together and get excited again with each other, and all the ideas that everybody else brings.
"This is just topping off a great year for the guys and I. We've just done two shows at the Barras. Honestly, I think the Scottish crowd probably is the best – it's always nice to come to these places, because it feels very homely.”
The awards ceremony saw performances from last year's winner, Fergus McCreadie, Dead Pony, Becky Sikasa, Brownbear and Taahliah.
Edinburgh teenagers Verity Slangen and Morgan Morris won the £10,000 Sound of Young Scotland Award for their duo No Windows.
Massoquoi added: "Watching some of the young folk coming up here is inspiring. I don't think the guys and I will ever lose that – we look at stuff right across the board. It doesn’t matter where it is from the past or present, or how old the person is.”
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