Alibi V.20 No.19 • May 12-18, 2011 

Music Interview

Rock Action

An interview with Mogwai frontman Stuart Braithwaite

Mogwai
Mogwai, featuring delightful Scottish accents and the ecstatic Stuart Braithwaite
Steve Gullick
Glasgow's Mogwai has been hypnotizing its audiences with elaborate, spaced-out, guitar-driven dirges since the mid-'90s. This week, on tour in support of its wryly titled 2011 Sub Pop release Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, the cosmic post rock band pays New Mexico a visit. Over the phone, the band's thickly accented frontman Stuart Braithwaite and I discussed recording techniques, favorite concert locales and distortion pedals.

I'm fond of your new album's title—what inspired it?

We got the album title just from a story a friend of ours—in fact, a guy from the band that's touring with us, Errors—told us, basically of a [situation] that happened in a shop. A guy just said it to the shopkeeper.

Roky Erickson did a song with you on 2008’s “Batcat” EP. Who else would you like to collaborate with?

It was great working with Roky. Yeah, it was a good experience. He's a really nice guy, and a really legendary musician. Um, I don't know, who else would we like to work with? I always say David Bowie when people ask. It's not likely, but we should aim high.

Are there any common misconceptions about your music?

I don't know, I think our music's fairly—maybe people think it's a bit more pretentious than it seems to us, but it's quite straight forward, really.

What's your recording process like? Do you like newer or older recording equipment and techniques?

I think our recording process is fairly regular. Just, you know, talk, basically do the drums first. And we do use a lot of modern technology at this point, more newer than old. We do record on a computer and use a lot of synthesizers and digital aids.

Mogwai
Steve Gullick
Are there any noticeable differences between live audiences in the U.S. versus those in Europe and other parts of the world?

I think they vary all over America, and they vary all over Europe. Different places have different, I don't know, levels of rowdiness or attentiveness, yeah. And I'm happy to play anywhere, but there's definitely different reactions in different parts of the world.

Do you have a favorite?

I really like playing in Japan because people are so quiet, and it's really easy to play when people are really paying a lot of attention.

Are you going to Japan any time soon or are you not able to due to the disaster?

Yeah, we're going in July, I think. I think the place where we're playing is not affected at all, so I'm looking forward to it.

If you weren't a musician, what would you like to be doing with your time?

Ah, I don't really know. Just kind of, like, makin' music. [Laughs.] Maybe makin' music but not getting paid for it. [Laughs.]

What's your favorite guitar pedal?

Uuuuuhhhh, prooooobably like an old distortion pedal. Big Muff, yeah, I really like them.

Is there anything you want people to know?

Not at all. Is there anything people want to know? [Laughs.] If people come to the show and see us hanging out they can ask us themselves if they think of anything.

Mogwai

with Errors
Friday, May 13, 8 p.m.
Sunshine Theater
120 Central SW
Tickets: $20, all-ages
sunshinetheaterlive.com

(Thanks to Rob for question suggestions!)