Since 2012 when the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Awards began, certain musicians have been nominated time and time again.
This year, Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert – who have both won the award separately – are nominated together for their collaborative concept album ‘Here Lies the Body’ (HLTB). With their partnership coming to an end later this year, what better a way than to put their album to rest than by potentially sticking ‘award-winning’ in front of it?
“I promised my son I’d take him to Disney Land, and the last time I took him it was with the money I had won from the award” jokes Aidan. “He’s got a little sister now, so im not sure how much I thought that through… here’s hoping I’ll win again”.
Although having already both won the award previously – Aidan Moffat won the first SAY Award with his collaboration with Bill Wells, for ‘Everything is Getting Older’, whilst RM Hubbert won in 2013 with ‘Everything Lost & Found’ – both Hubby and Aidan know to keep their expectations low to avoid disappointment.
“It’s great to be a part of it and to be recognised, but I mean, we’ve been doing this for 20 years” says Aidan.”
“We both know to keep your ambitions low. Winning would be fantastic and welcomed, but it’s nice just to have the music appreciated”.
Appreciating the music is exactly what the SAY awards are about. Based on musical merit rather than the numbers of records sold, times streamed or affiliations with labels, the SAY awards are respected by artists and industry heads alike. They stand in stark comparison to their English counterparts like the Mercury Album of the Year Award, which this year had no Scottish albums on the shortlist.
“There aren’t any Scottish artists on the Mercury, but in truth I can see why there aren’t” said Aidan. “You have to pay to get on the list, before you even think about travelling down for the awards or getting a table.”
“It’s just shy of 300 pounds, just to put yourself in for the running” adds Hubby. “It’s a crazy expensive endeavour. I don’t think Scottish bands are bothered – it doesn’t make economic sense, so why bother? We have the SAY awards now.”
Finances aside, HLTB is an album that merits artistic appreciation.
With a title that has a dual meaning, the album explores an old relationship revisited at a Blackpool pleasure beach, while its protagonists are on a stag and hen do. Encompassing various different artistic platforms like film and writing, HLTB is a magnum opus in the solo careers of both artists who are stalwarts of Glasgow’s musical fabric.
“It’s about the two most important things in the world – sex and death” explains Aidan.
“The two are very intricately connected, I find. People should make their own minds up about it, but ultimately it’s about sex and death and … Blackpool” he laughs.
Alongside HLTB, the duo released a Christmas album (what Aidan descries as the “seasonal money-grabbing” record) and a Live Record Store Day vinyl also. It’s the perfect point from which to end on, or, as they describe, to ‘uncouple’. Aidan has four solo albums and a book planned, and Hubby is setting his sights on a solo album at some point in the future.
“The whole point of making a record is that we have it forever” says Hubby. “We write it and record it and release it and that catharsis is done. The thing we wanted to say is said as best as we could have said it.”
“We started working on HLTB in 2013, so it’s actually been about a five year project. We were only ever going to do one album, and then we did a Christmas album because we had September off because we were bored. I love that record, though.”
“It was the weirdest thing recording sleigh bells in shorts in November” laughs Aidan. “At our level, you only have a window of about a year or so on a project. That’s another good thing about the award, its reminds people that you have an album out. People find something new so quickly these days. It was always meant to end around now.”
“We’re ending it right before we f*****g hate each other” laughs Hubby. “We can still go out for a pint occasionally”.
The last shows for the Here Lies the Body tour are:
19/09/19 Gardyne Theatre, Dundee
20/09/19 Summerhall, Edinburgh
22/09/19 Saint Luke’s, Glasgow
Tickets Available at: www.432presents.com