Shoplifting with Young Fathers

Rough Trade Records

February 9th, 2023


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“We’d like to see ourselves as one of those groups that come around every 15 to 20 years and then disappear. Until the next lot come and do their thing. So it’s inspirational to think about these records as timeless.”

Photos by James Potter

A boundless creative ethos which we continue to be fascinated by, Alloysious Massaquoi, Graham ‘G’ Hastings and Kayus Bankole are Young Fathers. A trio of multi-hyphenates who thrive on making music without rules.

Since the arrival of their debut Dead, A Rough Trade Essential album and contemporary masterwork, we have been eagerly awaiting the following chapters for the Scottish trio. With two other standout albums releasing between 2015 and 2018, (White Men Are Black Men Too and Cocoa Sugar) the band have been away for a good while, leaving us with a Young Fathers-sized hole in our hearts. We are now more than fulfilled with the release of Heavy Heavy (Ninja Tune), an absorbing, joyous, cinematic collection of tracks, with renewed soul and the same kaleidoscopic energy we fell in love with at their beginning.

Young Fathers at Rough Trade East

Red vinyl with 12 panel fold-out poster.

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We were lucky enough to catch up with the group between their two sold-out Rough Trade East in stores, where Rough Trade East’s Michael Appouh invited them down to the counter to chat influences, inspirations, and any records in our racks which really caught their eyes.

Discussing the inspiration of the The The, Grace Jones’ icon status and Sun Ra’s incomparable talent, Young Fathers draw from the racks a selection of music which has fuelled their ambition to make timeless music.

Kayus and Aloysius at the Rough Trade East counter with Michael

Alloysious: So, in my hand here is Grace Jones, Nightclubbing.

Kayus: (sings) Nightclubbing, nightclubbing.

Alloysious: Grace Jones is an iconic artist, and one of the references we used for the album cover for Cocoa Sugar. She was part of a long list of references, but just her. She’s got the longest legs I’ve ever seen shiny very smooth. She’s ageless, timeless, and again iconic. Just amazing.

Alloysious: Next up, this is the biggest-selling album of all time. Michael Jackson, Thriller. What can you say? I mean, there’s enough written about him and there’s enough music that he’s made. He’s made some of the best pop music ever.

Alloysious: And last but not least, I had this on a cycle when it first came out, through my sister. She’d always get the stuff from America, she’s always into that. Lauryn Hill needs to get more props for this record because once again, it’s one of the best albums ever. In all genres.

Kayus: So, I’ve picked Sun Ra‘s Singles album and The Definitive 45s Collection Vol 2. This is because that’s the G-O-D. There is no one nothing comparable to this kind of music. It’s in a world of its own. It’s an inspiration to have something that exists outside of the cracks. It’s an honour to be able to hold these collections in mind and let the sun shine.

Michael: Was there anything in any of these albums which particularly inspired Heavy Heavy?

Kayus: It was just, we were taking a lot of time off, so then by the time we got back, we’d been listening to a whole bunch of stuff, you know? London life experiences and whatnot. I think a lot of that came into the record. I guess there is a correlation with these artists in terms of wanting to make something iconic, whether it be music or an artwork sleeve… you want to have something that is memorable. You look at these people and you think, you can’t touch these, these are one-offs. We’d like to see ourselves as one of those groups that come around every 15 to 20 years and then disappear. Until the next lot come and do their thing. So it’s inspirational to think about these records as timeless.”

Graham: This first album I’ve got is Soul Mining by The The. I first heard of the The The with this first album. It’s one of those records that seemed to have missed me for most of my life and then someone said to me: “you must have listened to them at some point?” and  I’d say that I had actually never listened to them. A big inspiration before we started this record.  It’s kind of when you mash things together successfully and end up with a pop song.

Graham: I’ve never actually heard this but I just know I want to listen to it and I’m going to buy it. I love him. Everything with U Roy‘s name on it is fucking brilliant.

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