It has been seven years since Scottish indie band Glasvegas released an album and they never meant it to take so long.
Singer-songwriter James Allan decided to record, engineer and produce the album but there was just one problem – he didn’t really know how.
Bandmate Rab Allan told BBC Scotland’s The Nine: “James wanted to record the album on his own so he had to learn how to plug things in and how to unplug things and move them about and that takes time.”
“I didnae want to blow myself up,” James says.
Glasvegas were formed in 2003, in Glasgow, and built up a solid following before hitting the big time with their debut album in 2008.
It went to number two in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury music prize.
Two more albums in the next five years made Glasvegas one of Scotland’s most successful bands. But then came seven years without new music.
James says making the new album without any assistance was not the safest or most logical idea but it was what his heart was telling him to do.
He describes the process as being like learning a new language and says it is only this year that he has started to feel like he is fluent.
“It is only since the start of lockdown that I’ve not felt that every day was a crash course,” he says.
“I’m swimming now. Maybe the doggy paddle. It’s not like the Olympics.”
After seven years of work to achieve James’s singular vision, the album, ‘Godspeed’, finally began to take shape at the start of the year and is now scheduled for release in April 2021.
According to Rab: “The songs were written quite quick a while ago and then it was him learning the process of recording.”
So why did Rab not tell James to hurry up?
James says: “He is an angel like that, I have got to say.”
He says Rab buries his frustrations down deep within himself. “And that’s what I want him to do,” he jokes.
It has always been best to allow James to be creative and “do his thing”, Rab says.
“Because we grew up together I learned a long time ago how to deal with these things,” he says.
‘It just happened’
This has been the case since the early days when Rab and band-mate Paul supported James when he was writing what looked like unpromising songs about social workers and absent parents.
But those tracks – Geraldine and Daddy’s Gone – turned out to be two of the band’s landmark songs so they learned to trust James’s instincts.
The first single from the new album “Keep Me A Space” is written for a cousin who James grew up with but then lost touch.
“We got to an age when we never saw each other and the family went in different directions,” he says.
“There was a time where I wanted to send Kathleen a message. Maybe it is my way of sending a message that is not just a text. It’s my way of expressing how I feel about someone.
“I did not sit down to try to write it, it just happened because I had been thinking about her.”