Scottish veterans of post-rock and favourites of the late John Peel: Mogwai have been delighting fans with beautifully atmospheric soundscapes for twenty years. The band is made up of Stuart Braithwaite (guitar), Dominic Aitchison (bass), Martin Bulloch (drums), Barry Burns (guitar, keyboard, computer) and John Cummings (guitar, computer). Their back catalogue has won general critical acclaim over the years with 1999’s classic ‘Come On Die Young’, produced by the legendary Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, MGMT) receiving the special re-issue treatment.
Never a band to stay still for long, Mogwai broadened their horizons in 2006 when they began working on soundtracks which started with Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. New album ‘Rave Tapes’ sees the Glaswegian quintet at their most introspective and enchanting yet, proving there are still plenty of rich ideas flounting around in the Mogwai camp. The band return to Brighton to play the Dome on 26th October and we managed to catch affable guitarist Stuart Braithwaite for a quick chat on the phone.
How are you? Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
Hi, yeah I’m good. No problem.
So how’s the tour going?
Well we’re not really on tour yet, I’m doing a solo accoustic gig tonight in Hull and then Martin’s DJing with our friend afterwards. We’re actually having a few weeks off which is nice. We DJ quite a lot, every few weeks.
You’re playing The Brighton Dome on 26th October? What can audiences expect if they’ve never seen you before?
(Laughs) I don’t know, hopefully just a good concert I suppose! Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. We’ve played a lot of gigs in Brighton over the years and we’ve got a lot of friends there so it should be good.
You played Primavera Sound in Barcelona this year, I thought that was one of the best festivals experiences I’d had when I went previously. Do you have any favourite places to play?
We’ve been going so long there’s been so many of them! Primavera was really special. We played some really good gigs at the start of the year. London, Glasgow and Edinburgh and we did an American tour as well. We’ve been lucky and had a lot of great gigs this year.
I read an interview with Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas saying: “A band is a great way to destroy a friendship, and a tour’s a great way to destroy a band.” How have you managed to make it work touring so extensively and being a band for 20 years?
(Laughs) Ah that’s unfortunate for The Strokes but I think if you’re careful about who you start a band with it’s all fine.
I really like the new album ‘Rave Tapes’ and I’ve been listening to ‘Remurdered’ on loop. I can imagine it sounds pretty huge live. How do you decide what to play ahead of a show with such a huge set of tracks to choose from?
To be honest since we’ve written the new album we’ve brought out a lot of the old ones again. It depends on how we feel on the night really.
Any album of the year contenders for you so far?
Yeah, ‘Syro’ by Aphex Twin and I really like the new Plasticman album. There’s been quite a lot of great records this year.
You’re putting together a nice repertoire of soundtrack work with Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, The Fountain in 2006 and Les Revenants more recently. Anything else you’d fancy trying your hand at? I read somewhere you were a bit of a horror fan?
Yeah, we’d love too. That would be good. We’re open to all offers! (laughs)
Is Kubrick a favourite director of the band – thinking of the track from your third EP?
Yeah he’s one of my favourites, I think we’re all big fans. I grew up watching a lot of those films – 2001 and A Clockwork Orange, yeah big fan.
What’s next for the band when you come off tour? Will you have a break or is it back in the studio? I saw a recent treat that teased more new music was coming soon?
Yeah we’ve got an EP coming out in a couple of months and then working on some more soundtrack stuff so just keeping on making music basically.
Mogwai play the Brighton Dome Concert Hall on Sunday 26th October.