Young Fathers: ‘Mercury Prize victory will not change anything’

Band were surprise winners at this year's ceremony
Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers say they do not think that winning this year’s award will change them as a group and that they plan to celebrate by going to Berlin to record their next album.

The Scottish trio beat competition from favourites Kate Tempest, FKA Twigs and Damon Albarn to win this year’s prize last night (October 29) for their album ‘Dead’.

Speaking at the winners’ press conference immediately after their name was announced, the group gave little away at first, with Alloysious Massaquoi saying that the only thing that went through his mind when he heard Young Fathers’ name being read out by host Nick Grimshaw was that he “needed to go pick up the award”. Similarly, his bandmate Graham Hastings was asked if he was happy to win to which he replied, “Should we be jumping about the place? It’s just part and parcel of the industry.”


Hastings insisted that the victory “will not change anything” for his group, who also won the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) award earlier this year. “We try and stay in this childlike mentality and just absorb stuff. We try and create that same atmosphere,” Hastings said and confirmed that the group will head to Berlin to record the follow up to ‘Dead’.

Massaquoi admitted that he “wants as many people as possible to know about us, as many ears as possible on us”, but did also add that Young Fathers will not change in light of the unlikely victory: “We see ourselves as Young Fathers. We’re not trying to confine ourselves. We fly our own flag.” He did admit, however, that the band will spent their £20,000 winners money on a new van.

Kayus Bankole, meanwhile, said that the group did not have a favourite to win the prize as they have not heard any of the other nominees’ albums. “We haven’t heard most of the music from the shortlist so it wouldnt be fair to say,” he admitted. However, Bankole was happy that his mother got to see him perform live on TV as part of the ceremony.

Alt-J, who won the prize in 2012 for their debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’, tweeted Young Fathers to congratulate them. Tweeting directly to the group, Alt-J wrote: “@Youngfathers congratulations on your Mercury win, we are big fans and it’s very well deserved.”


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