[Written by Lynsay Holmes]
[Image Credit: 1. Christopher Byrne, 2. William Woozie and 3. Dom Emek]
Thursday marked a new presence in Scotland’s soundscape with the release of a 7 track LP Wish You Well by hip-hop artists Billy Got Waves and Joell. Originally Edinburgh based, but now Glasgow focused, the duo from 131 Northside collective came through to our city to launch their newest 7 track LP in new arts space COLAB.
Pre-launch I was sent two tracks, Till I’m Dead and Headlights, with music videos for each, at the launch they started with these to get us into the swing of things. With everything from futuristic chords to tropical rhythms, there is a sense of diversity across the LP. Each track has its own unique energy, yet still flows coherently; the dreamlike twinkles of Till I’m Dead, the summer sound of Everything, the sombre notes of No Love. However, the LP’s melancholy undertones always point back to losing loves. The title a reflection of the difficult dynamic Billy Got Waves deems: “you have to leave my life, but I don’t hate you, I wish you well”.
The event was intended to be a gathering of friends: The intimate venue COLAB perfectly reflected the intention of the night; small scenes and clusters of conversation were peppered throughout the shared space. What I found interesting was Joell’s perspective of the people who attended and seeing this strand of music as a “language” they share. A common language which stretches across the nation – with links from London to Nottingham. Nottingham based artist Baygee, who visited Glasgow for the launch and to further collaborate with Billy Got Waves, produced two tracks on the project. Their philosophy of seeking fresh energy is reflected in this token, with Joell and Billy only having met the Nottingham artist a few months ago. Joell explained to me: “Everyone is from different places, pick five people in this room, right now, and I swear they will have met recently and through this. This is about connection.” Seeing music as a social tool and using it to build an authentic culture and community in Scotland was a refreshing thought. At the launch party, the pair managed to generate an environment that was close knit, yet inclusive. They value letting “outsiders” in; new people means new ideas and new opportunities.
According to Billy, the duo have known each other since they were babies: “We’ve been making stuff together for years – a lot of these tracks are rejuvenated ideas and material from three years ago…We made a lot more tracks that would be considered more “commercially viable”, but for us, the seven we chose were the ones that we connected to most.” The pair also commented that partying locally had been their biggest influence, feeling inspired by the local energy and sound. This reiterates the idea that knowing the community on a deeper level creates more authentic music. If you create the music alongside having fun and partying with people in Glasgow, you understand what they appreciate. Throughout the night Joell was always encouraging people to dance and saying: “If you’re not having fun, then what’s the point?” Even though the grind can be tough at times, there must always be joy.
“I would love to get a peep into the next year to see what’s happening, just for five minutes, just next year. This is just the beginning.” Billy confesses. I too am excited to see what is to come, but for now the Wish You Well LP is available on streaming platform Spotify. It is certain to say that with figures and energy like these, very exciting and special things are on the horizon of Glasgow’s music scene.