James Allan began working on Glasvegas’ fourth album Godspeed in 2014 while living in Sweden, finishing the record in lockdown in his spare-room studio in Glasgow’s east end. The seven-year gestation period allowed the songs and arrangements to come together to form a narrative of characters set “all on the same night, just as the sun’s going down”.

When the album was released in April this year, James explained that he had decided to learn every element of production and make the album himself rather than work with a producer. What drove that decision?

“I guess it’s probably the same as what made me want to write a song in the first place. At the beginning with the band, I was unemployed at the time and a friend gave me a compressor and someone set up an old computer. I would just spend time writing songs and messing about. I felt that if I wanted to imagine a sound and then hear that back, I would need to learn how to record it myself.

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“I was picking up things as I went along, but this time it was a much steeper learning curve. I realised how much sound engineering makes a difference.”

He admits the drawback of working on your own is you don’t have people to talk to when you are stumbling for an answer. I wonder if he considered bringing in someone else to make sense of where the album was going. “See, anybody in their right mind would, but I’ve realised that I must be some kind of psychopath, because that never crossed my mind at any point. And that worries me,” he deadpans, then laughs.

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Glasvegas’ music is honest, serious, anthemic and has a resolute sense of place, rooted in Scotland. The band have enjoyed a connection with live gig audiences that has taken them all over the world and James is grateful for the way the music has been received. “I am fortunate. I don’t need a costume; not that there are any rules on how you go about things. But, if the music is accepted in any way, then they’re accepting me and my life and the way that I look at the world. I’m a dead lucky person for that.”

With new music to play, Glasvegas are returning to the stage soon with festival dates that include Playground at Rouken Glen Park on Friday, September 24. Walking to the band’s regular practice room in Glasgow, James has been playing songs over in his head, “It is a beautiful walk, by the Tennent’s Brewery, towards Glasgow Cathedral, going by the graveyard. No wonder the music sounds like it does”.

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The band reunited after lockdown and it reminded James of the connection they have together. “I’ve always known I have a good thing with them, but you only realise when you are together how easy things can be, everything slows down, and you can move between each other. Not just with music, just being in each other’s lives.

“I remember the first time we played Daddy’s Gone together and it felt like the air was moving in the room, it was so loud, you’re lost in the thing, it’s quite a mad feeling.”

That’s a sound James is considering capturing for the next album. “Maybe we’ll rehearse it, get it in one take, then put that out. It’s always from one extreme to the other with us”.

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