Music Interview: Mogwai Frontman Stuart Braithwaite Talks Shop

An Interview With Mogwai Frontman Stuart Braithwaite

Jessica Cassyle Carr
3 min read
Mogwai, featuring delightful Scottish accents and the ecstatic Stuart Braithwaite (Steve Gullick)
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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.

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.


with Errors

Friday, May 13, 8 p.m.

Sunshine Theater

120 Central SW

Tickets: $20, all-ages

(Thanks to Rob for question suggestions!)


Steve Gullick

Rock Action

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