After the success of debut album, Strike A Match, released by Rock Action, Sacred Paws, otherwise known as Rachel Agg and Eilidh Rodgers took themselves to Paisley Town Hall on Wednesday night, along with nine other bands and solo artists to celebrate a year of great Scottish albums. Little did they know that they were to emerge as winners, clear from their shocked reaction. When asked how they feel with this success, Agg replied, “a little bit sick” and Rodgers, “totally overwhelmed.”

Within the stunning surroundings of Paisley’s Town Hall, the Scottish Album of the Year ceremony took place in conjunction with Paisley 2021, whereby ten artists were awarded for their shortlisted album and one came out as winner. A strong and varied list, incorporating Lost Map Records’ Pictish Trail for the wonderful Future Echoes, Honeyblood’s Babes Never Die, Mogwai’s Atomic OST and Scots Trad award winner, Rachel Newton’s album, Here’s My Heart Come Take It, it gave an all-rounded sense of some great music that the Scottish scene nurtures.

A night that included some performances from bands such as The Spook School and Elephant Sessions, as well as a special fifteen minute performance from last year’s winner, Anna Meredith, it was hosted by music journalist, Nicola Meighan, and BBC Radio Scotland’s Vic Galloway. Eventful in good measure, it was a lovely night for reminding Scottish artists that there is a brilliant music community within this country that is highly regarded, and seeing hard-working talent reap their kudos, across a varied spectrum.

The Fountain spoke with several from the competitive list including Dominic Aitchison from Mogwai, who admitted he was “genuinely really surprised to be on the shortlist because of the nature of the record, being a soundtrack and unrelentingly stark.” Rachel Newton mentioned that she, “did not expect to be shortlisted at all, it came completely out of the blue.” After discussing her Scots Trad and BBC 2 Radio award she exclaimed, “I don’t normally win a raffle, so I am not sure what’s going on, but it’s been a really good run.” Stina from Honeyblood when asked on the significance of the SAY Award commented, “I think it’s important that we do celebrate all types of music, so that it does not single off into pop or rock, but brings it all together. It’s anyone’s game at the end of the day.”

C Duncan mentioned that he was highly affected by Scottish music when growing up, “my favourite band were Grangemouth’s Cocteau Twins,” and inspired now by Glasgow bands such as Babe, which signifies the heritage of Scottish music, when looking at these ten strapping albums. However, it was Rachel Agg from the winners, Sacred Paws, who reminded us of how nurturing the Scottish music community can be. Coming from Brighton and presently living in London, her somewhat detached outlook reinforced the often forgetting fact that “Scotland is really supportive of musicians in a way that I’ve never really experienced and I think it’s quite unique to Scotland in that the people take the music very seriously. It’s amazing!” And obviously supportive of the work of Sacred Paws and the other eight on the list, and Pictish Trail who won the noteworthy public vote, it will be interesting to see where the ten on the list go from here. One thing seems certain, Agg will be making moves up north.

For more on the SAY Awards and the full list of albums on the shortlist click here.