Interview with Stuart Braithwaite, Mogwai, Tuesday September 5th, 2006

On this Tuesday Mogwai were about to play at the Röhre in Stuttgart. The venue is kind of a tunnel with a backstage room that looks like some kind of a grotto. There I met Stuart Braithwaite for a short chat.

l.t.r.: Stuart Braithwaite, R.

R.: On your new album ‘Mr. Beast‘ you did a song called ‘Glasgow Mega Snake‘ that is quite loud and aggressive for a Mogwai song. How did it come to that?

Stuart Braithwaite: I think we just wanted to do something different. We hadn’t - as you said – done a song with that kind of structure before so I think we just thought it would be good fun to try it.

R.: Does it maybe account for the fact that you played with Isis this year?

S.B.: I don’t know, it’s probably faster than Isis, actually. Maybe some of the riffs are kind of influenced by those bands and kind of a lot by old things that we like, like Black Sabbath and The God Machine and all these kind of things.

R.: Although your music changed over the years the people who criticize Post Rock say that all the bands sound the same. What's your reply to that?

S.B.: I think that our music’s changed over the years definitely and I think that the different records have different moods to them and stuff but it depends who into that kind of music you are I suppose. If you’re not really a big fan of that type of music then it would all sound the same I suppose.

R.: You have a very specific sound that people that know you instantly recognize. They also expect a certain kind of sound from a Mogwai record. Do you think that’s a limitation for you?

S.B.: No. I mean, you’re right we do have a certain sound but the fact of the matter is it’s quite a natural sound that comes to us when we all play together and we write music together. So rather than a limitation I think it’s... it’s just how we are and how it comes about. I don’t think we’d be very good at making different kinds of music [laughs] …but that’s just my opinion.

R.: Can you think of things that all in the band like?

S.B.: Yeah. There’s lots of things that we all like. None of them have particularly to do with Mogwai. We all like ‘The Life Of Brian’, the Monthy Python film and me and Dominic like Batman comics. Musically there’s bands that we all like too like Sonic Youth or Funcadelic or Joy Division and Black Sabbath. There’s a few bands that we all like.

R.: What did you listen to in the tour bus today?

S.B.: Today I was listening to an old playlist that I think I must have made a few months ago when I was having a bath or something. I just have like Bob Dylan and The Cramps and just random things: Townes Van Zandt and Roky Ericson and lots of different things.

R.: Your concerts are always pretty loud. Do you want to become the loudest band ever?

S.B.: We were kind of obsessed with that for a while but that was quite a few years ago. I think we kind of realized that that’s pretty childish and we understood that that gave people sore ears. I mean it’s important to be quite loud but I think the most important thing for us is to be loud enough that people can kind of feel the music as well as just hear it. But as for being the loudest band ever I think it’s a bit dumb, really.

R.: What is your next step? Do you plan something like that? Is there something you still want to achieve with Mogwai?

S.B.: Not really, to be honest. I think that most of the developments have been quite natural. We always wanted to do some music for some films and we’ve done that. That was probably the main thing that we wanted to do that we hadn’t done. Everything’s been quite natural.

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