Heard the music scene in Glasgow is amazing but not sure where to begin? Fear not – we sat down with Ryan Hassan, a professional musician from Glasgow, to tell us all about what makes the music culture in Glasgow unique; and where guests of the Radisson RED, Glasgow can go to experience the best that Glasgow has to offer.
Tell us a bit more about yourself.
My name is Ryan Hassan, I am a professional drummer and musical director. I’ve worked with artists like Fatman Scoop and Clean Bandit as well as my own project That Drummer That DJ.
What got you interested in music and why are you based in Glasgow?
My parents were big on music so I was brought up listening to artists like Bruce Springsteen, The Police and Dire Straits from an early age. I started playing drums when I was about 11 years old. My high school class were given a chance to try different instruments and when it came to drums I loved them straight away.
My first gig was The Offspring at the Glasgow SECC in 2001, I was hooked on live music from that point. Hearing drums in that way made me realise exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I’m based in Glasgow through fate, I was born here and I’ve lived here my whole life apart from one year (in New York City) and I wouldn’t change anything about it…except maybe the weather.
What do you think makes the Glasgow music scene unique from other cities?
For me it’s the variety.
A lot of cities are famed for a particular sound. Manchester, for example. One year Glasgow can have Paolo Nutini breaking through, and the next big break out will be a band like Biffy Clyro – it’s really diverse in style. The audiences play a massive part as well, it’s a lively, working class city where people are passionate about everything from family and work, to music and football. You will never play a gig in Glasgow where people stand still. It’s always going to be a night to remember.
Does music in Glasgow have a particular ‘style’? Or how would you describe Glaswegian music?
Indie. The Glasgow music scene is really focussed on indie bands but if you look a little deeper there’s a great jam scene being led by amazing musicians. There’s a solid up and coming hip hop scene and loads of amazing pop artists as well. Events like the Oui Sessions at the Radisson RED, Glasgow really help bring that to the forefront.
How would you describe your style of music? Who or what bands do you take inspiration from?
What I create is a mixture of pop/ RnB/ hip hop and electronic music. There’s quite a lot going on creatively and I’m lucky to not be stuck in one genre. I listen to everything for inspiration though, one day I’ll be listening to Kanye (West), Yelawolf, Kendrick (Lamar) and the next day I’ll be onto Billie Eilish, The Gaslight Anthem or Hans Zimmer.
Drums play a massive part in what I do obviously and when I was growing up Travis Barker (Blink 182) was a massive influence on me. As I’ve gotten older I realise drummers like Stewart Copeland (The Police), Dennis Chambers (Santana) and Steve Gadd (Steely Dan) helped shape my sound as well.
Outside of music my inspiration to keep progressing and achieving as much as I can as a musician comes from my parents and my family and a special mention to my drum teacher and now good friend Colin McGibbon who has always had my back.
What are your top 3 bars/clubs to visit in Glasgow for new music and why?
The Sanctuary. It’s an amazing club in the west end of Glasgow ran by a friend of mine and they always bring the best DJ’s to the club. The see the bigger picture of giving back to their audiences by bringing artists like DJ Jesse Marco and US Red Bull Thre3style Champion, DJ Big Once to Glasgow to perform. They’re always pushing the boundaries of what is expected from a nightclub.
Magic City at The Berkeley Suite. Great for hearing new hip hop and RnB. Simple as that.
Mango Jam Sessions on a Wednesday night. It’s an amazing vibe and it’s a great chance to see some of the best musicians in Glasgow just having fun and playing music off the cuff. Almost like Glasgows answer to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.
How do the OUI sessions at the RED in Glasgow contribute to the music scene?
It’s amazing for Glasgow artists having events like OUI Sessions putting them in front of captive, receptive audiences. The location is amazing being so close to the SEC Campus and when there’s an event that relates to your style of music you’re exposed to a lot of people directly interested in hearing your style of music.
It’s also hugely supportive of the music community by advertising new artists and giving an alternative to unfair ‘pay to play’ events. With the hotel audience you never know who is going to be around to hear you which always adds an element of excitement to the gig and there’s a strong chance you’re playing to people based outside of Glasgow and Scotland as well, it really helps spread the word.
What would be your one recommendation for anyone visiting Glasgow that isn’t familiar with the city or the music culture there?
Try and experience a gig in one of the bigger venues with a bigger crowd just purely for that ‘Glasgow’ experience. Also seek out the up and coming artists in smaller venues to hear the real sound of Glasgow. You can look online for gig listings but it’s usually only the shows backed by bigger promoters that appear on there without really digging, so take a walk around, ask people and look for music with your ears. If the weather’s too bad for a walk, take a taxi or an Uber – haha 🙂