Johnny Lynch was the boss of acclaimed Scottish indie label Fence Records for ten years and now runs Lost Map Records, is the organiser of Away Game and Howlin’ Fling festivals on the Isle of Eigg where he lives, and in his spare few minutes here and there performs himself as The Pictish Trail. Long one of Scotland’s most consistently impressive singer-songwriters, with a knack for imbuing his acoustic songs with experimental electronic touches, The Pictish Trail also briefly formed a disco project called Silver Columns, and has guested and collaborated with many of the great and good of Scottish indie over the last decade or so.
Lynch first started performing as The Pictish Trail in 2002, and soon afterwards met Kenny Anderson, aka King Creosote, founder of Fence, who released the self-titled debut by Pictish Trail in 2003. From around that point on, Lynch was the de facto boss of Fence, organising the release of records by artists such as James Yorkston, Rozi Plan, Found and Withered Hand.
Although Lynch released two more records as The Pictish Trail in 2003 and 2004, he described Secret Soundz Vol.1 (2008) as his first proper album. The Skinny described it as a “joyously schizophrenic combination of strong pop songs and wistful experimentation”.
In 2010 Lynch teamed up with Adem Ilhan under the name Silver Columns to release Yes, and Dance, a record of sleek disco-pop, compared to Hercules & Love Affair at the time, and an impressive detour from the usual output by either artist. That year Lynch also released In Rooms, an experimental record of 50 songs of just 30 seconds each.
If the first Secret Soundz was Pictish Trail’s first proper album, then Secret Soundz Vol. 2 (2013) was probably his second: it won The Skinny’s album of the month, and Lynch was described by DrownedInSound as having “a genuinely exceptional talent”. After breaking ties with Fence and starting Lost Map, both Secret Soundz volumes were re-released together as a double album.
The Pictish Trail discography
The Pictish Trail (2003)
Pick @ Pictish (2003)
Hot Trail (2004)
Secret Soundz Vol. 1 (2008)
In Rooms (2010)
Secret Soundz Vol. 2 (2013)
As half of Silver Columns
Yes, and Dance (2010)