Illustrated Tapes 139: On & On
Curated by Jonny Mowat

Jonny is a Scottish art director currently based between the coastal town of Elie, Scotland and Toronto, Canada.

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Hey Jonny. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

When asked to do an Illustrated Tapes back in January 2021, my mind was set on the theme of getting the heck out of here. I was bored, on my ass and inside. Since January, my wife and I have moved from Glasgow to Toronto, having gotten the heck out as desired.

After 5 days in our new Canadian home, my dad unexpectedly passed away. After a whirlwind of shock, grief and travel that I don’t want to experience ever again, we have now been back in Scotland with my Mum for 62 days. The thought of getting the heck out of here has lost the comfort it used to bring. It’s less about comfort now, but endurance, and trusting that things will get better with time.

This mixtape is filled with songs that remind me that the world goes on. That time is still passing, and therefore things are getting easier, inevitably and invisibly, until I see my Dad again. It’s a real hodge podge of songs, some remind me of how massive and unstoppable space and time are, some are about mundane activities that are proof the earth is still spinning. Basically what I’m trying to say is that it's a confusing mix for a confusing time, so I hope you get something out of it!

What direction did you take with your cover art, and what was your process?

To be honest, my process was whatever I could do to make something that felt right but also required minimal risk and stress. I had some nice hours sat drawing on the sofa on my iPad, which is the most pain free way for me to draw these days. It often lacks a certain energy that I usually like to have in my work, but this was also the first self-motivated creative work I’d done for a while so I’m not picking and choosing here! I think my stress-aversion technique made me realise I don’t like drawing eyes or noses so take from that what you will. 

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

I really loved Tim Heidecker’s Fear of Death, which has a banging Robert Beatty album cover (as well as a nuts video for the track “Property”). Not sure if this counts, but I’ve been listening to Cobra Man on repeat, who I believe started out composing a soundtrack for Worble’s first skate video. Worble III came out a couple of months ago, and is the most uplifting film I’ve watched in years, and at least 60% of that is Cobra Man slamming out air-puncher after air-puncher in the background. It’s equally genius and infuriating that a lot of the latest Cobra Man songs aren’t available outside of the Worble 3 YouTube video.

Fear of Death – Tim Heidecker
2020, Spacebomb Records
Artwork: Robert Beatty

What did you listen to growing up?

First obsessions were Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Queen, like a real rocker legend. Moved onto Wu-Tang Clan, Jay-Z and Nas when I started skateboarding around 12. Through secondary school I listened to a cacophony of crap. Felt like I got on the Biffy Clyro train early which was fun. A consistent genre since I was about 9 has been comedy songs. Absolutely love ‘em. Monty Python, Flight of the Conchords, The Lonely Island, Bo Burnham, real dumb boy stuff.

And what’s on heavy rotation for you at the moment?

The self-titled Parcels album was my most played album from start to finish. I don’t really do that very often, I like to explore Spotify through playlists, so this Parcels album better feel honoured! Good working music is usually soundtracks for me. Surprisingly the Uncut Gems soundtrack helps me in times of stress, even though my teeth ground to a powder during that film.

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

I’m currently art director at Two Robbers Seltzer Co., a craft hard seltzer company that originated in Philadelphia. I’ve worked for them since 2018 freelance, but started as art director from Glasgow at the start of 2021, before I knew I’d be moving much closer and in the same time zone. Looking forward to getting back to Toronto and chancing as many business trips over to Philly and NYC as possible.

Secondly, keep your eyes peeled for anything Onion Bags. That should be good. At least, me and at least one other person will enjoy it, whatever it will be.

Where can we find you?

Sadly you can find me on Instagram, and what I imagine will be a slow to update folio website since I have an in-house gig now, you know how it goes!

Cheers, Jonny! 👋🏽