Interview Young Fathers: ‘I Don’t Like Being Straight Down The Line’

Shock! Horror! A Scottish trio with a ‘hip-hop boy band’ past, now intent on forcing through the fear factor.

Young Fathers

can’t dodge accusations that they’re trying to put the fear in the listener. A trio from Edinburgh, consisting of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and Graham ‘G’ Hastings, they’ve spent the best part of the last five years going to and fro between promising hip-hop act to downright terrifying haunts. So much so, it’s almost gone overboard

‘A girl came up to me after a show and said ‘I thought that was lovely’,’ begins Hastings. ‘But she was absolutely terrified. She said to me, ‘if we were alone, would you stab me? Would you attack me?’.’

As reactions towards the band go, this one’s pretty extreme. The two ‘Tapes” of Young Fathers have released to date on Anticon (hope of fellow hip-hop inclined genre-benders Why?) are purposefully freakish, but not in the conventional sense. It’s more a determination to be different that gives Young Fathers their fear-factor. People don’t know where to place them. Perhaps that’s as scary as it gets.

‘We’re not straightforward - there’s no black-and-white. I don’t like being straight down the line,’ says Graham. ‘I’d be worried if people were just accepting us and saying ‘you fit other there’. I think it’s better to bend things.’ A mission statement (which adopts Graham’s Scottish dialect) is, in his own words: ‘Trying to take anything that’s traditional and get it tae fuck.’

So far they’re succeeding. It hasn’t always been plain sailing. The band formed when each member was aged 14. They flirted with major label success, played festivals like T In The Park & Creamfields, on the back of what was technically their debut album ‘Inconceivable Child… Conceived.’

‘There was just fucking bullshit happening; listening to voices we shouldn’t have listened to,’ states Graham on the band’s early days. ‘Stuff got kept back, never saw the light of day. We were left in this space.’ The Young Fathers we see today are completely different. This 2008 debut is essentially something made from a different band, in a different time and place. ‘People who talk to us today; they almost can’t believe the change.’

Change will always be on the agenda for Young Fathers. A debut album’s readied for early 2014. ‘When we go into recording, it’s always like ‘we’ve done that, so we need to do this’. No-one really speaks about it but it just happens.’ Whether it’ll scare the living daylights out of every casual listener remains to be seen. Don’t bet against it.

Taken from the October 2013 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.

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