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Howlin' Fling Festival Line-Up Announced
Ed Ledsham , March 12th, 2014 07:35

We talk to Lost Map boss - and now Moshi Moshi-signed artist - The Pictish Trail about the label's inaugural festival, set to bring roster artists and Alexis Taylor, Luke Abbott, Beth Orton and more to the Isle of Eigg in the Hebrides in July; plus, win a pair of tickets to the event

Photograph courtesy of James Yorkston

Last year, Lost Map, the ace Scottish label set up after Fence Records called time in August, announced that they would be holding their debut festival, Howlin' Fling, on the Hebridean Isle of Eigg, the home of label head Johnny Lynch, aka The Pictish Trail. Running from July 18-20, it follows on from the Away Game festivals Fence held on the island in 2010 and 2012. Today, we've got the pleasure of announcing the line-up, shaping up for a mighty programme of music and arts set in wonderful environs. Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip, Beth Orton, Jens Lekman, Luke Abbott, Oliver Coates, RM Hubbert and Steve Mason will all be on the bill alongside a full showing from the Lost Map roster - Rozi Plain, Monoganon, Kid Canaveral, Randolph's Leap, Seamus Fogarty, Tuff Love, eagleowl and The Pictish Trail himself - as well as Adult Jazz, Damian Helliwell’s Metta, Eugene Tombs, GEESE, Golden Teacher, Gulp, Ichi, Insect Heroes, Jonnie Common, Massacre Cave, Meursault, Miracle Strip, Operator, The Phantom Band, Prehistoric Friends, Rachael Dadd, Sam Amidon, Synaesthete and WOLF. (Stay tuned to Lost Map's website for all updates.)

Sadly, all the festival's tickets were snapped up rapidly shortly after its announcement, but Lost Map have been kind enough to offer a pair to tQ readers - fill in this form by 9 am on Monday, March 17, to be in with a chance of winning.

Today also marks further news from Eigg: The Pictish Trail has signed to Moshi Moshi, and will be reissuing his albums Secret Soundz Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 as his first release for the label. With full details of that imminent, we spoke to him about the festival, Eigg and re-releasing.

You've got some big acts lined up for Howlin' Fling. Who are you the most excited about?

Johnny Lynch: All of them are amazing, I can't quite believe they've all said yes. It's good, Beth Orton and Sam Amidon are coming up together and doing sets each. That's pretty much a dream come true. I've been a fan of Beth's music for years, since her record Trailer Park. I mean, when I had to make The Pictish Trail a registered self-employed I named my business after that record.

You've got quite a unique selling point for booking acts in Eigg.

JL: We've been lucky, we've approached people who we think will get into the spirit of it. In the first year, one of the first acts we approached was British Sea Power and I just knew that they would totally enter into the spirit of what the event was and that this wasn't just going to be a big muddy gig: it would be an unusual setting with a crowd who were there who were really excited. But there's something extra added if you've got to go all the way up to the Hebrides and cross the water… it takes a long time to even get up to the port in Mallaig. I think once you've got an audience who's travelled all the way there, a captive audience, the excitement is palpable and I think bands know they can certainly play to that.


You've also got a full showing from the label.

JL: Predominantly, this whole festival and most Lost Map events are really about showcasing our acts on the label. These are all acts who are on Lost Maps which I guess you could say is born out of the ashes of Fence Records.

Seamus Fogarty's album came out 2012, we've just re-released it; it's totally amazing, ethereal, a really atmospheric record which fuses together electronic and a sort of traditional approach to songwriting in a way that I don't think has been done or has been done in such an interesting way. He's from Ireland, he's an amazing singer-songwriter.

Rozi Plain just sent me her new record today actually... the first draft of it sounds totally amazing. She's a really plaintive songwriter, very sparse, amazing voice, incredible vocals… really sonorous, there's a vulnerability to her music that's really endearing.

Kid Canaveral. They're one of the biggest bands on our label, they've got a really great following up here in Scotland and in London. They've just got really great indie rock songs. Each record and each single they've brought out has been a really strong step… they've got really well-constructed pop songs. They've got two really interesting, quite distinct voices that work really well together in Kate [Lazda] and David [MacGregor].

Monoganon was the first proper release on Lost Map records last year. It's a band but all the songs are written by this guy John B. McKenna who lives in Sweden. He'll send me twenty-minute pieces of music every so often that'll just blow my mind. He reminds me a lot of Bradford Cox, there's a Deerhunter, Atlas Sound-kind of vibe.

Randolph’s Leap are a band whose album is coming out next year. They're predominantly the work of a songwriter called Adam Ross but live it can go up to an eight-piece band with brass and fiddles and all sorts of stuff. He's someone who's just very lyrical and he creates a lot of music; this record that we've put together is sort of a patchwork quilt of stuff he's done with his band that's got a sort of Dexy's kind of vibe to it with the brass going on. There's a real Eels-esque home recorded vibe to it with some of the solo stuff he's done.

Tuff Love are a three-piece from Glasgow whose music has been the thing I've listened to the most over the last few months, I'm just totally obsessed. It's got a sound that's very eighties jangly sort of sugary pop C86 vibe meets a really loud grungey nineties thing. Julie's lyrics are really beautiful, really well thought out, really touching and they're something I've gone back to a lot over the last few months. They're a band I'm hoping to work with a lot more.


What about the non-musical events at the festival?

JL: All of it is kind of weather-permitting. Our intentions are good, we'll be doing guided walks round the island and hopefully some sort of pop-up music in different places. It's one of these things where music is only one part of it. We encourage people to take a walk up the Sgùrr, which is the big mountain in the middle of the island, 'cause the views up there are just totally stunning over the Isle of Muck and across the other small isles, just really beautiful up there. There's all sorts of old ruins, sites and stuff from where the ancient people of Eigg lived. There's a site by the Massacre Cave where over 400 residents died in the 16th-Century from being smoked out. There's plenty to discover on the island, it's a really beautiful landscape and there's a lot of history there as well. If you're there on the Sunday we're gonna do a wee campfire thing and have everyone sat round and singing along and we've got a few surprises for that as well so it should be good!. Unless it rains, then we'll go inside and drink.

It's the first for Lost Map, but the third festival you've held on Eigg, after Fence's Away Games. What are your standout performances from then?

JL: I'd have to say Jon Hopkins and Nathan Fake in 2012. Jon was playing at the time he was in the processes of finishing Immunity, his last record, at that point and so we were hearing it for the first time, stuff like 'Open Eye Signal' and it was just totally amazing. Nathan Fake is just… he's the don. I have to say we've got Luke Abbott playing this year and he's totally incredible, his sound is totally amazing, he's from the Border Community label. Operator's on straight after Luke Abbott, he's a good pal of Nathan Fake, he's a techno artist from Edinburgh, he's like the true acid viking, his music is totally bonkers… unrelenting and pretty visceral so I'm looking forward to that. And Phantom Band as well, seeing their comeback, they always bring a lot of power to their sets.

Finally, you're reissuing Secret Soundz Vol. 1 & 2 - can you tell us a bit about that?

JL: I've just signed to Moshi Moshi, so Pictish Trail is now a Moshi Moshi act, which I'm over the moon about, I'm totally in love with that label. We released a record with them under the name Silver Columns with my friend Adem (ex-Fridge) a few years ago. I've been in touch with Moshi since, they got in touch recently and said they want to release my music. We'd like to release some new music in 2015 and I'm working on that just now. In the mean time we're doing a re-release of Secret Soundz 1 & 2packaged together as a double CD. Also, they're doing a double vinyl - they're re-pressing the vinyl, which sold out about six months ago. We'll have our Lost Map logo on it but it's part of the Moshi family now.


The Howlin' Fling takes place July 18-20 on the Isle of Eigg, Scotland. For a chance to win tickets, fill out this form by 9 am on Monday, March 17