Young Fathers, who won the 2014 Mercury Music Prize, were formed in 2008 in Edinburgh.
Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and ‘G’ Hastings met at the Yard MCs’ under-18 hip hop night Lickshot at the old Bongo Club in Edinburgh, and formed a band with one eye on hip-hop, and the other on pop. They originally billed themselves as a ‘psychedelic hip-hop boy band’, with Hastings explaining to the list magazine “The lyrics of hip hop songs are always quite straightforward,with the MC saying what he thinks at the time. Whereas we write more in a pop way, where the meaning can be taken in a lot of different ways — we’ve always been a pop band who does hip hop, if you see what I mean”
The band got good reviews, featuring in loads of ‘the next big thing’ lists, and started recording a debut album Inconceivable Child … Conceived on the Black Sugar Music label. A couple of singles were released, followed by heavy touring, but by 2011 the band had left their label and seemed in the wilderness.
Taking the initiative, and a new darker sound, the band released two free e.p’s on their own – entitled tape one and tape two. The ep’s got good reviews and support from various djs, and by 2012 had come to the attention of Shaun Koplow of the AntiCon label. A meeting was setup between the trio and label at the SXSW festival, and resulted in the band being signed.
In 2014 the band’s first official album, Dead, was released. An 11 track masterpiece, continuing on from the dark and rhythmic earlier eps, Hastings likened it to the experience of a funeral in New Orleans, where mourners dance their way through the funeral parade; talking to The Skinny magazine he explained: “It’s a glorious occasion, walking through the streets with brass music. It’s fucking beautiful,” he explains. “That’s what the whole record feels like to me now. It has that feeling of something sad has happened, but it’s nothing to be down about; especially as I have arrived at the end. To me, the album sounds like one of those processions – it’s quite a glorious thing.”.