Following The Pictish Trail

The Fence Collective come to Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy in January 2013
The Fence Collective come to Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy in January 2013

IT’S been more than four years since singer songwriter and co-founder of Fife record label Fence Records released his debut album.

But now Johnny Lynch, AKA The Pictish Trail, is releasing the long-awaited follow up, ‘Secret Soundz Vol. 2’.

And to celebrate the launch, Johnny is performing a number of live dates, including one at Kirkcaldy’s Adam Smith Theatre later this month.

He told the Press: “It’s amazing to be going on tour again.

“This weekend I’ve got rehearsals with my backing band, Eagleowl, who are also the opening support for the tour.

“They are bringing instruments to my songs that I have never had in a band before.

“I’m excited how they will evolve and sound on tour.

“It’s [Adam Smith] such a nice theatre.

“Fife shows kind of feel like a local show for us, we don’t get to do too many outside Anstruther.”

So, what can people expect from the gig? “No refunds,” he laughs.

“They can expect me playing my songs and hopefully the folk who have been fans of Pictish Trail will hear a new side to it, and people who are new to it will hear something that sounds a bit like what Fence and the Fence Collective can bring when we collaborate.

“I think it’s a special thing we’ve got with Fence, sharing different band members and I’m excited to be able to show what we can do when we’re on tour.”

‘Secret Soundz Vol. 2’ is a set of songs about isolation and that curious sense of feeling lonely in a crowd. It’s about losing loved ones and gaining new. It’s been described as a ‘glorious trans-genre, cross-emotional, multi-colour collage’.

Johnny explained: “It’s been finished now for nearly a year. It’s taken a year to come out as I didn’t want to rush it too much.

“Like back in the day when bands would release a couple of singles before an album came out to build anticipation, I’ve been playing some of the songs live for a while.

“When I write an album, I don’t think ‘this is how the album is going to be’. I just write and collect songs.

“It’s more collecting the songs that fit together best when it comes to recording an album.

“The recording for this album was done in a short space of time, most in a two week period up on the isle of Eigg.”

It’s been a long time in between albums, but Johnny has been busy with various projects, including co-running Fence and its live events, such as Homegame, and recording with Silver Columns.

In 2011 he also released ‘In Rooms’, a mini-album featuring 50 songs, each one 30 seconds in length.

“It was part of a project my friend, comedian Josie Long, had organised called ‘100 days to make me a better person’,” he says.

“I had to do the same task every day for 100 days, so I said I’d write a song every day.

“What came out of that for me is that it’s difficult to maintain something every day.

“I managed to get 50 half decent songs, each 30 seconds in length that crossed over a variety of genres.

“It got me excited about writing songs again and out of that record, ‘Secret Soundz Vol. 2’ felt a lot less intimidating.”

Born in Edinburgh, Johnny spent his teenage years in Conneticut before moving to Fife to study in St Andrews thanks to his love of Beta Band.

That’s when he met Kenny Anderson, AKA King Creosote, and Fence Records was born.

Kenny makes an appearance to momentarily squeeze his accordion on one of Johnny’s album tracks.

Now the album is out and after the tour, what’s next for Johnny in 2013?

“I’ve got another one [tour] in March and April with James Yorkston and Seamus Foggarty.

“We’re putting on a Homegame festival with a different twist this year.

“Over the next few weeks trying to organise that and bring it together.

“I hope to do some festivals later in the year too and I’m also hoping to do an EP, as it was such a long time between the albums I’m keen to get more writing done.”

The Pictish Trail’s backing band and main support for the tour is recent Fence signing, Eagleowl.

The band, who hail from Edinburgh, are set to release their debut album, ‘This Silent Year’ in the spring.

For the Kirkcaldy date, support will also be provided by Randolph’s Leap.

The 32 limbed group are currently making pioneering moves into genres such as pop-scotch, driphop and windy-rock.

They released their EP, ‘Hermit’ in October.

>> The Fence Collective play Adam Smith Theatre on January 25.