F A M I L Y , Monoganon’s new album, is the first release on The Pictish Trail’s new adventure Lost Map Records. Its nine tracks were created whilst frontman John B McKenna underwent his own personal journey – albeit a traumatic one – following the death of his uncle in 2008.
“I think it’s been quite good for me to start talking about it,” he says. “He was my best friend since I was really young. He was like an idolised character in my life. When he passed away, I was really f***ed up about it.”
The album itself experienced its own difficulties, having been lost twice and mixed thrice, but its delayed formation allowed McKenna to retrospectively look at both the work and his own voyage.
“I had written all the songs, then afterwards went through them and saw some sort of connection going through. It was always the same. I was being really held back by this thing that happened to me. There’s a lot of escape ideas. I was definitely trying to run away from something.”
If McKenna’s mind were a paint pot, his creativity has been the screwdriver prising it open. “I think if I hadn’t done these songs, I’d still be dwelling on it.” he says. “I got made to realise where I am.”
Two years ago McKenna moved from Scotland to Sweden, while his new label’s founder is now settled on the Isle of Eigg, but they’ll both descend on Glasgow’s CCA tonight to unfurl F A M I L Y in its entirety, along with the rest of the Monoganon throng. A self-written-and-drawn zine will be hidden in each LP.
McKenna’s uncle helped write the album’s Radiohead-like closing song, Ivory and Tusk. Upon his death five years ago, the frontman decided the song was dead too. After bizarre dreams of ascending mountains and then climbing one with his dad, he decided to rewrite it, as it helped strengthen a bond between a father and son who lost a brother and uncle respectively.
“When I was writing some of F A M I L Y’s songs, they just completely poured out. I didn’t even have to try. Now, it’s a different form of creativity,” he continues. “I’d like to think I’m in a stronger place. I have bigger ideas. It’s became more of a challenge”.
• Monoganon launch F A M I L Y at the CCA, Glasgow, tonight, with The Pictish Trail and Eugene Tombs.
To read the full version of this interview, visit The Scotsman’s listings website, wow247.co.uk