Scott Bathgate is no stranger to the music scene- he has already made some waves in the post-rock world with his band Karma For Vandals and has shown himself to be a talented and hardworking composer, winning the prestigious Carlaw-Ogston Composition Prize in 2018. For his first solo track he has teamed up with singer Nadya Albertsson to produce a solid debut, Heavy Soul– I got the chance to speak to him about it earlier this week.

Heavy Soul was given a spin on Amazing Music and was featured as BBC Introducing’s track of the week- how does it feel to have had such a great reception before the track was even released?

Honestly the entire run up to release has just been overwhelming. This being the first track under my own name and the first track properly released that I’ve entirely produced. The ongoing pandemic has seen many people find their own outlet and a way with coping with the hard times caused by it. For me, my emotional outlet has always been music and so I thought there was no better time to immerse myself in it in order to cope with this adjustment that I, and the entire world is making. I am so grateful and so happy that people are enjoying it and that all this hard work is paying off. It’s absolutely surreal to hear your own name getting a shout-out on the BBC and Amazing Radio, two stations I never thought I could be a part of less than a year ago. It makes me very excited about my next single cycle and what could potentially happen when its released fully!

Your track features some stunning vocals from Nadya Albertsson, how did you find working with her and can we expect more collaboration with her in the future?

Nadya has one of those voices that you are instantaneously drawn in by. I knew from the first moment I heard her sing in The University of Aberdeen Jazz Orchestra (where we met) that she was something special. When it came round to thinking of potential collaborators, she was one of the first people that came to mind. Working with her was such an easy process as we both have a lot of musical common ground and the arrangement of the song seemed to instantly click for the both of us. The song was completed only within a few weeks and the reception to our collaboration has been so positive. We are working with each other on another new single hopefully due out early to mid-summer and I am producing a track for her own EP she has been working on with The Milhouse Collective. 

You fully produced this song from your bedroom, what were the challenges you faced not having studio access and what, if anything, did you find easier?

I think one of the biggest hurdles for anyone that self produces is that you are the sole quality control. There isn’t a mixing engineer, pressure of pitching ideas to others and even band mates to exchange opinions with. That’s both a blessing and a curse for me. On one hand you can fully explore any and all ideas you have for a certain track or how instrumentation should sound, making it easier to realise your ideas fully. On the other, I am my own harshest critic, and I can never really tell if I have an idea that’s worth developing unless I can get an outside opinion, or if people will respond to what I am doing. It’s a very weird freedom and frustration at the same time. Another hurdle I came across is also of the financial limitations as I am obviously not in Abbey Road. Therefore, the cheaper equipment I am using I have to be more creative with in order to get the sound or atmosphere I want in a song. I also find myself raring to get back into a room and physically play with other musicians. I love producing but it can never beat that feeling of creating with others. I am sure the thousands if not millions of musicians out there are feeling the same thing.

Artwork by @clarerobinart

What artists influenced this track and who are you listening to right now?

Certainly, when I was in the very early stages of producing this track, I found myself listening to some of the Neo-Soul greats like Erykah Badu, D’Angelo and Lauryn Hill. Nadya has a voice that lent itself well to that genre, hence why it seemed like a perfect song for her to be a part of. But as I developed the track, I found there could be a really great chance to diversify that sound with my Hip-Hop influences like Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator, MF-DOOM and Gorillaz. My music taste is all over the place. Right now, I am obsessed with the new Jonsi album Shiver, Oil of Every Pearls Un-Insides by Sophie (who we unfortunately lost this year) and the collaboration Emma Ruth Rundle has released with Thou; May Our Chambers Be Full. I firmly believe there is at least one good album in every genre and there is so much amazing music out there that it would be almost depriving myself if I only listened to one genre.

Have you got any other projects or collaborations lined up for the future?

As I mentioned before, me and Nadya are working on a follow up single to “Heavy Soul”, and I am hoping to release it around early to mid-summer. I am super excited about the new collaborators I have on board as I plan to release more singles throughout the year and see where it all takes me. I have some other projects in the works at the moment, but I can’t give away many details just yet. Keep your eyes and ears peeled!  

Heavy Soul by Scott Bathgate feat. Nadya Albertsson is out now, do yourself a favour and listen here:

All artwork by clarerobinart