Glasgow artists share their favourite spots in the city that inspired their albums featuring Bemz, Joesef, and more

Glasgow bands and artists nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year Award shared their favourite spots in the city
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The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award are currently taking public votes from the people of Scotland on their

Scots are able to vote up until midnight tomorrow - Thursday, October 4 - you can vote for albums released in the last year to make the shortlist for the SAY Award for free on sayaward.com.

In the run-up to the SAY Award, Glasgow artists ranging from JOESEF to Bemz to Cloth shared their favourite spots in the city that inspired their albums on the longlist - check out what they had to say below!

Joesef - Permanent Damage

PIC LISA FERGUSON  07/07/2023PIC LISA FERGUSON  07/07/2023
PIC LISA FERGUSON 07/07/2023
  1. How did Glasgow inspire your Longlisted album? What connection do you feel to the city and how do you think that comes through in your music?

“Quite a few of the songs are back-lit by the city, particularly ‘East End Coast’ in which Glasgow’s mentioned directly.

“A place like Glasgow seeps into everything you do, and most of the stories in Permanent Damage are set in the throes of heartbreak during the three day benders of the past few years.

“I hope it comes through in the honesty of the tunes, we are a passionate bunch with a low tolerance for shite so to be anything other than truthful would be against my nature.”

Glaswegian Joesef will perform at Glastonbury 2023. Image: Nathan DunphyGlaswegian Joesef will perform at Glastonbury 2023. Image: Nathan Dunphy
Glaswegian Joesef will perform at Glastonbury 2023. Image: Nathan Dunphy

2. What are your favourite spots in Glasgow?

“A few places I like are Max’s for a booze and a dance with my pals, I’m in America at the minute so canny stop thinking about breakfast rolls, pretty much anywhere down the Gallowgate will sort you out on that front.

“The Barrowlands is a must go for any gig to be honest, such a special place.”

Bemz - Nova’s Dad

Rapper Bemz will be appearing at Wide Days 2022Rapper Bemz will be appearing at Wide Days 2022
Rapper Bemz will be appearing at Wide Days 2022
  1. How did Glasgow inspire your Longlisted album?

“Glasgow inspired Nova’s Dad because everything I experienced was in Glasgow. I found out I was going to be a dad in Glasgow.

“I felt the feeling of sadness and isolation in Glasgow. I felt happiness and proudness in Glasgow. So yeah this is where a lot of things came from.”

What connection do you feel to the city and how do you think that comes through in your music?

“Glasgow is like where I’ve grown into becoming a man. I have deep connections as this is where my daughter was born and where I’m based.

“It’s my second home in Scotland after Ayr (which will always hold a place in my heart).”

Bemz PIC: Andy LowBemz PIC: Andy Low
Bemz PIC: Andy Low

2. What are your favourite spots in Glasgow?

“My favourite spots in Glasgow gotta be, Sugo, my bed & Axors sofa.”

Kapil Seshasayee - Laal

Kapil SeshasayeeKapil Seshasayee
Kapil Seshasayee

1. How did Glasgow inspire your Longlisted album? What connection do you feel to the city and how do you think that comes through in your music?

“It’s hard to imagine writing an album without my experiences working as a DIY promoter in Glasgow for several years factoring in.

“I fondly recall putting on a gig for my friends The Spook School a few years ago and being inspired by how everyone packing out the venue hung on every word in these political 3 chord bangers about what it meant to be trans and proud of it.

“I went home that night wondering how I could approach my own songwriting in that way - 2 concept albums later (“Laal” tackles themes of nationalism, censorship and disability rights) I’m very much the protest singer myself and I have my experiences on the Glasgow gig circuit to thank for that.

2. What are your favourite spots in Glasgow?

“Everyone who has spoken to me for more than a minute knows my undying love for whisky so a fair few tunes have been penned in between drams. My origin story with whisky is amusing in that a friend got me the smokiest dram they could in a bid to make me recoil but I ended up falling head over heels for everything Islay instead.

“I’ve had inspiration strike for a tune several times (me hurriedly taking wee notes on my phone) at visits to The Pot Still in town, The Bon Accord and my personal favourite - Finnieston’s Ben Nevis. All three boast whisky from around the world so you’ll be likely to find something you like regardless of your tastes.

Cloth - Secret Measure

ClothCloth
Cloth

1. How did Glasgow inspire your Longlisted album? What connection do you feel to the city and how do you think that comes through in your music?

“We both feel a very strong connection to Glasgow. We were born there and both our parents are from Glasgow so it’s an environment that feels very much home to us. We’ve got a lot of great memories of writing the record in a close friend’s tenement flat and going for big walks In Bellahouston park when we needed to clear our heads.

“The parks in Glasgow are second-to-none and I think frequently walking those wide open spaces has definitely influenced Secret Measure, in the sense that a lot of the songs are quite uncluttered and sparse. There’s a tremendous lineage of amazing music that’s come out of the city and bands like The Blue Nile really captured the sometimes bleak/sometimes beautiful spirit of the city in their music and lyrics. Being able to evoke a certain place like that is something that really inspires us.”

2. What are your favourite spots in Glasgow?

“Stereo Cafe Bar - we’re big fans of Stereo for its incredible vegan food and beer selection. It’s also just a really pleasant space to spend an evening with pals and has ended up being home to many a late night for our band.

“It’s also a brilliant gig space where we’ve seen some amazing artists including Mitski and Sorry. We’re playing our biggest Glasgow headline show yet there on Nov 1st and cannot wait!

“Scran - Scran is without doubt one of the best (maybe the best?) breakfast/lunch spots in the city. Chris who runs it is a big music fan and has been a great supporter of our band so we always make a trip East to visit the cafe when we can. The chicken shawarma wrap and halloumi fries are life-changing stuff.

Barrowland Ballroom - there’s a reason this venue is famous on a global scale. There’s no other room quite like it and when you see a good gig in there it stays with you forever.

“We’ve been lucky enough to see bands like Frightened Rabbit and Mogwai perform in there and even luckier to actually play it ourselves twice, supporting Arab Strap and The Twilight Sad. It’s a surreal feeling performing on a stage you’ve watched bands playing on for pretty much your whole life!

Juliette Lemoine - Soaring

Juliette LemoineJuliette Lemoine
Juliette Lemoine

1 . How did Glasgow inspire your Longlisted album? What connection do you feel to the city and how do you think that comes through in your music?

“The music on ‘Soaring’ was written as a way of capturing and making sense of significant experiences and emotions over the past few years, during which time I was living in Glasgow city centre. I think that the music and place are inextricably linked as a result, and this is deeply reflected across the album: from the music, right down to the album art which is based off sketches I did of Sauchiehall Street & Charing Cross, as well as in some of the tune names which refer to specific landmarks in the city.

“Glasgow is a vibrant melting pot of musical styles, with thriving traditional music, Classical and Jazz scenes in particular, and this has been a huge influence musically—and I think this wide range of influences comes through in the album. I feel deeply connected to Glasgow having grown up here, and the more I travel the more I’ve come to value what a special city it is, particularly for the arts.”

2. What are your favourite spots in Glasgow?

Favourite spots in Glasgow include the Pocket Cafe, which is quiet and hidden underneath Kelvinbridge, bars such as the Ben Nevis and the Machair which host live Scottish traditional music sessions throughout the week, as well as recent discoveries ‘Big Bear bakery’ and ‘Short Long Black’…. good cake sometimes helps with writing music!

“Also the shop ‘Quality Vitamins & Herbs’ just off Sauchiehall St — they are so friendly and sell great samosas…”

Comfort - What’s Bad Enough?

ComfortComfort
Comfort

1. How did Glasgow inspire your Longlisted album? What connection do you feel to the city and how do you think that comes through in your music?

Glasgow has played a vital role in our lives, not just creatively but personally too. Speaking for myself (Natalie), Glasgow is the place where I came out as a trans woman, and it feels like my true home because of this. It is a place that has given me strength, a place where I have felt less alone, a place where we as a band have learnt who we are. Without Glasgow’s thriving artistic community, we would not have had the safe space to nurture our creative ideas, to pursue something different, to question ourselves. I remember being awe struck, upon moving here, that people would actually come out to see alternative music and champion it, you get a real sense in Glasgow that you can do anything, that people want you to succeed, there is a passion here that is rare and beautiful.

“I believe the post-industrial landscape of Glasgow comes across in our music, Glasgow is a place with many sides, like our music, it can be brutal yet delicate, and beautiful in it’s own way. I cannot imagine us being the band we are now if we did not live in Glasgow. The way genres and different scenes mix, how club culture bleeds into gigs, suits us perfectly as Glasgow feels like a place that’s always redefining itself. Which is something we aspire to as well.

2. What are your favourite spots in Glasgow?

“We would definitely need to give credit to Carlton Studios, we do most of our practices in my bedroom to cut down on cost (we use an electric drum kit there) but we have one weekly practice at Carlton to try things out properly. It’s been going since the 90s and is truly a legendary place, we wrote a lot of “what’s bad enough?” there.

“Queen’s Park is also a magical place, we’ve lived not far from it for the better part of a decade now, and during lockdown (when the record was written) we walked around that park many times. Going out for walks and allowing your thoughts to wander is an important part of the writing process for my lyrics, we also filmed quite a few of the shots for the “Real Woman” video there.

“I never get sick of walking around that park and taking in the view of Glasgow from the top of the hill. I would also like to recommend Bonjour as it is a beacon of the Queer side of Glasgow, without which I would not be the woman I am today.”

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