EDINBURGH-BASED hip hop trio Young Fathers have scooped one of UK music’s most prestigious awards despite selling just over 2000 albums.
They won the Barclaycard Mercury Prize for the best British or Irish record over the past 12 months – an award previously handed to bands like Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal and Franz Ferdinand.
The trio of Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole and G Hastings were nominated for their album Dead.
It beat 11 other albums from acts including Damon Albarn, Bombay Bicycle Club and bookmakers’ favourite, FKA Twigs
In a brief acceptance speech, Massaquoi said simply: “Thank you, we love you, we love you all.”
The group had been just 14-1 to collect the £20,000 prize at last night’s ceremony at the Roundhouse venue in north London, hosted by Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw.
The group have shifted only a handful of copies of their album, with just 2386 sold by this week – a sixty-fifth of the quantity sold by fellow nominees Royal Blood.
Even following their inclusion on the shortlist, they managed to sell only an extra 531 copies of their album.
The act, formed in 2008, have clocked up appearances at numerous festivals and have been described as a “psychedelic hip hop boy band”.
Simon Frith, who chaired the judging panel, said of the winners: “Young Fathers have a unique take on urban British music, brimming with ideas – forceful, unexpected and moving.”
At a press conference after their win, the taciturn trio had to be asked to smile by photographers and still continued to look stony-faced. Speaking afterwards, the band said the award “doesn’t change anything at all – it’s just part and parcel of the industry”.
They said they would spend the prize money on making their next album. They added: “We are constantly writing and trying to be as creative as possible, so we are just continuing with that We want as many people to listen to our music.”
Band member G Hastings, who comes from Drylaw, said: “We’ll take it in our stride. We always wanted to make something bigger than the city we were living in.”
Earlier this year, the band beat established names such as Biffy Clyro and Mogwai for the Scottish Album of the Year award for their EP Tape Two.
Hundreds of fans gathered outside last night’s event to watch as the musicians and other celebrities arrived for the one of pop music’s biggest nights of the year.