YOUNG FATHERS have scooped the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award for 2018.
The trio were presented with the top prize at an awards bash in Paisley last night for their latest release, Cocoa Sugar.
It’s the second time they’ve won the SAY Award, having previously been recognised for their Tape Two mixtape in 2014.
They also won the Mercury Prize in the same year for their debut LP Dead.
The group, made up of Alloysious Massaquoi, Graham Hastings and Kayus Bankole, was formed in 2008, and started performing in nightclubs as teenagers.
Kayus and Graham were both born in Edinburgh, while Alloysious moved to the city from Liberia at the age of four.
Speaking to The Sunday Post after receiving the award, he admitted it had come as a bit of a surprise.
He said: “It’s fantastic, it’s a surprise because we’ve won it before and didn’t think we’d win it again.
“We thought it would be a case of passing on the baton to someone else but we made a great album that we all love and the judges thought so too.”
Cocoa Sugar, he said, is exactly the album he wanted to make, adding: “I think for die hard fans it’s been a progression, but for people that are just getting into us now the album is a perfect amalgamation of an introduction – ‘I can get into these guys’ and ‘oh it’s something different’.
“That’s what I wanted, I wanted this album to be something that a lot of folk got into that wouldn’t necessarily listen to our music and I think we’ve achieved that and it’s still growing and we still need to get to the next level.”
There’s not much time for the trio to celebrate, with them heading to Singapore next week and heading on tour to the US later this year.
There’s also a run of shows in the UK at the end of the year.
“For me [awards ceremonies] mean everything and nothing at the same time,” Alloysious said.
“Everything because it shines a bit of light on people that have been working hard over the years, people who won’t necessarily get a shout.
“Nothing, in terms of the majority of artists I like to believe don’t make music or create to win awards, they do it because they love it and are passionate about it, so it’s a balance between that.”
He also recognised the diversity of the acts on the shortlist – from folk and indie to Young Fathers’ blend of hip-hop, pop and electronic.
“It shows that you can be from a small, cold part of Europe and still come out with stuff that’s interesting, that’s engaging, that says something that inspires,” he said.
Robert Kilpatrick, general manager at the Scottish Music Industry Association, said: “A huge congratulations to Young Fathers for winning 2018’s Scottish Album of the Year Award.
“Cocoa Sugar is a fantastic, world-class record which showcases the band’s incredible song writing talent and musicianship.
“Having previously won the SAY Award for Tape Two back in 2014, as well as the Hyundai Mercury Prize in the same year for Dead, they continue to go from strength to strength, defying expectations and creating some of the best music to have come out of Scotland.
“A truly well-deserved win from an outstanding, crucially important Scottish act.”
The SAY Award was launched in 2012 to promote and reward the most outstanding Scottish albums released each year.
Other acts nominated on this year’s shortlist included Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, Babe, Best Girl Athlete and Golden Teacher.
Karine Polwart with Pippa Murphy, Kobi Onyame, Out Lines and Siobhan Wilson also made the final list of ten for the judges to pick from.
Katie Buchan, a.k.a Best Girl Athlete, said she was delighted to have been shortlisted among so many great acts.
“I was so pleased,” she said. “The list of acts is unbelievable, so many strong albums. To be among it is such an honour and to be a part of the awards itself is really, really cool.
“Because it’s such a diverse list, it shows that it doesn’t matter what type of music you’re making, it can still get recognised on a big platform.”
Franz Ferdinand’s Paul Thomson, who accepted the award for being shortlisted on the band’s behalf, said: “We’re pretty pleased, it’s always good to get some sort of recognition for your work and it’s an album we’re quite proud of as well.
“It’s a good shortlist as well – the best yet I think.”
After playing at least 140 shows this year, the band are looking forward to getting a break and writing their next record.
But before that can come, there’s the small matter of headlining Edinburgh’s famous Hogmanay street part.
“It’s a big one for me,” admitted Paul. “I’m from Edinburgh so I used to go up every New Year’s Eve so to be playing it is a thrill.”
Visit https://www.sayaward.com/ for more on the awards.