2018’s Scottish Album of the Year Award ceremony was once again held in the auspicious surroundings of Paisley Town Hall. The Fountain sent cub reporter Dylan Matthews along to soak up the atmosphere and grab a chat with some of this year’s nominees as the excitement built during the evening before the big announcement was made. Speaking with Gerard Black from Babe, Golden Teacher, Alloysious Massaquoi from Young Fathers and Siobhan Wilson, Dylan got a sense of what the Awards means to the performers and who they think are strong contenders for the years to follow.

TF: The SAY Awards, what does that mean to Babe?

GB: It means our album that came out in 2017 gets a second wind, and anyone who missed it the first time around gets the chance to listen to it again. If you get nominated for a Mercury award, your album has already sold thousands if not millions of copies by then, but the SAY award is much more inclined to giving a hand to the underdog.

TF: What do you think of the mix on this year’s shortlist?

GB: It’s surprising how everything is kinda good. I’m maybe not the best person to ask, I’m getting to the age where I like what I like. I like my bangers, I like my UK Garage. I might not listen to all these bands normally, but there’s quality running through them.

TF: What up and coming Scottish bands are future SAY contenders, do you think?

GB: There’s one band we’ve asked to support us on our album launch; Lylo, who are a bunch of guys trying to do a live music thing which isn’t a rock band and isn’t electronic music, it’s all that mixed up at the same time. There’s another band I like called The Lawnmower. They’re a duo, really daring kind of music, like a Tears For Fears kind of thing. The guy’s totally taking a chance on stage singing in the style he sings in.

TF: What classic Scottish album do you think should have won a SAY Award, had the award existed at the time?

GB: can think of, like, ten! Every album by The Cocteau Twins, every album by The Associates, every album by The Blue Nile, Orange Juice, The Beta Band. Do I have to pick one?! Head Over Heels wouldn’t have been picked for the SAY award, so probably Heaven or Las Vegas by The Cocteau Twins.

TF: So the SAY Awards, very exciting, how are you guys feeling about that?

GT: Yeah, really excited and happy to be here. I think it’s okay to feel proud sometimes! There’s a lot of great albums on the list, just to be nominated is enough for us. There’s a lot of good bands on the list who we know one way or another, so you kind of wish everybody well.

TF: What up and coming Scottish bands are future SAY contenders, do you think?

GT: I’ll go right out and say it; LAPS, one of Cassie’s projects. Certainly Hairband who played tonight, they were amazing. I would really like to see a Glasgow band called Total Leatherette do well if we don’t lose them to Berlin because one half of the band is there now.

TF: What classic Scottish album do you think should have won a SAY Award, had the award existed at the time?

GT: They’re not together anymore, but I’m going to say a band called Organs Of Love. It would have made total sense to me if they were nominated for a SAY award. I feel like they didn’t get their time. Does Annie Lennox count? And The Associates were around at the same time and totally got me into making music.

TF: The SAY Awards, you guys are getting to be old hands!

AM: Yeah, yeah. We’ve got from the longlist to the shortlist, so that’s positive. Yep.

TF: What up and coming Scottish bands are future SAY contenders?

AM: No idea! Golden Teacher, Callum Easter.

TF: What classic Scottish album do you think should have won a SAY Award, had the award existed at the time?

AM: I went to a Transmission night and there was a band who was playing and they were f**king brilliant, Kübler-Ross. I asked them to send me some s**t – it was banging!

TF: So SAY Awards, quite exciting! You feeling it?

SW: Yeah, I’ve been quite excited all week. Well, I’ve been a bag of nerves. I was more nervous about being on the longlist, than when they said what the shortlist was. I don’t know why. I was in Germany when they announced it listening to it on the BBC iPlayer, so that was funny. Tonight I’m just celebrating being on the shortlist, I’m not expecting to win or anything. I think it’s nice, and really important, to have a party to recognise there’s great new music being made in Scotland, and people working really hard to make it. And you need a bit of a release sometimes! So it’s not like a competition, it’s just a big party!

TF: A few people I’ve spoken to tonight have mentioned that; that’s there’s a great feeling of support and collaboration on the Scottish music scene.

SW: It’s interesting you should mention that because, for example, Matthew Young from Song, By Toad has done a lot to sustain that community and it’s been a real honour to be affiliated with his label, and it’s a lovely kind of crossroads and change in his career path that he’s gone on to be a full-time parent, but it’s really important to acknowledge when people talk about the Scottish music scene that they include Matthew in that. Even though he’s stopping now I think people will always include him for a long time.

TF: What up and coming Scottish bands are future SAY contenders?

SW: Oh, that is a really good question. I would say Catholic Action. They were on the longlist. Chris McCrory who leads them, who produced my album, is somebody that’s going to show up again.

TF: What classic Scottish album do you think should have won a SAY Award, had the award existed at the time?

SW: Anything that Average White Band ever wrote! Also anything that Roddy Frame was ever a part of. I think they’re my two favourites! We should go now – I think they’re about to make the announcement!

Fortunately Siobhan and I made it back from the press room down to the main hall just in time to hear our ever-captivating and elegant hosts, Nicola Meighan and Vic Galloway, announce that Young Fathers had won the SAY Award for an unprecedented second time with their astonishing album, Cocoa Sugar.

As the dancefloor erupted to Underworld’s Born Slippy, congratulations were offered, glasses of fizz were clinked, and hugs were shared, before finally a deservedly proud-looking band from Leith slipped home with the award for the best Scottish album of 2018 securely tucked under their arm.

Photos courtesy of Euan Robertson