Friday, December 10, 2004



Rock Action. From Glasgow, bionic, Cpt. Meat, DEMONIC and pLasmatroN rip shit in a loud style. Basically if you like loud guitars, you'll like Mogwai. If not you're a liar to yourself. Buy Ten Rapid and Mogwai Young Team for thunder blows of records.

Since we first encountered them, they seemed to have just gotten bigger and bigger. The original nucleus of Stuart Braithwaite, Dominic Aitchison, John Cummings and Martin Balloch have stuck together and survived a period with multi instrumental madman Brendan O'Hare.

In addition to the albums above a remix album called Kicking A Dead Pig and a proper studio album called Come On Die Young have surfaced, displaying an increased scope in Mogwai's music.

I managed to get an interview with Stuart as Hirameka Hi Fi soundchecked in the background. Stuart performed this interview whilst also riding his skateboard one footed.

J: How are you today?
S: I've been better but I've been worse.
J: Why have you come back to Colchester?
S: When we tour its really a process of elimination. We go around and play a lot of different places and if we don't like a certain place we don't go back. I think we quite liked it last time we came to Colchester. Its not the greatest town but the kids are into the music and stuff. This will be the only place left in Essex that we'll still play. Is this Essex? In this area anyway.
J: What about Chelmsford?
S: We're not gonna play there again.
J: No?
S: No, it was shit.
J: How's the tour going?
S: It's going really well, most nights are either full or sold out so I mean its like really good to be playing to like your audience. And especially having Aerial M touring, getting people who haven't heard Aerial M to hear them and stuff.
J: Whats is like playing with Aerial M?
S: Its great, they're really nice people and I really enjoy watching them.
J: Did you enjoy the Brats gig?
S: It was quite nervewracking because it was the first gig of the whole tour and it was live on radio and the TV cameras were there but that all just seemed stupid. The radio thing was quite stressful but we played a new song for the very first time that night as well which was quite heavy going but oh no it was a good night.
J: Do you like being on telly?
S: We didn't really get the full impact of it because we only saw a video of it that someone had taped. We were playing the night it was on but in theory its amazing, its great being on TV.
J: So what was America like?
S: Its really big. Its a cliche but actual driving periods between gigs was quite frightening, it could be really tiring. The kids really like their music. We got quite good audiences, not huge or anything but really attentative, good audiences.
J: Was that with Pavement?
S: Well with Pavement most of the shows were sold out before we were even announced as the support band but we did some shows on our own as well and some with America Analog Set. That was when we really kinda worked out who likes us in America whereas with Pavement we had like a few people saying "I've got your record, thats cool" but most people were going "I've never heard of you but that was cool" or whatever. It was a character building experience.
J: Did you see that building next door that looks like a swimming pool next door? Did you know Jo Brand's there tonight?
S: Yeah, I think I actually saw it in some listings, she's doing a comedy thing or something. Thats nice (laughs). Shes not that funny though. Shes not unfunny but shes certainly not.... I don't know what to say to it.
J: What music are you listening to on the tour?
S: Its a lot of heavy metal. Black Sabbath, things like that. Also like Aphex Twin, All Saints, Codeine, lots of music.
J: Who's currently on the slap list?
S: Malcolm from Arab Strap. We found out he claimed he wrote one of our songs.
J: Which one?
S: Tracy. He said he wrote Tracy or something like that. It was on the radio and we heard it and we weren't very happy but erm yeah Malcolm.
J: Anyone else?
S: Thats about it really. That band Rialto. We like, keep seeing them on the telly. Don't like it, thats rubbish.
J: How come you're covering Black Sabbath?
S: We just like them, they're a really good band.
J: Which song was it again.
S: Sweet Leaf. I sing it and stuff, its pretty weird.
J: So who is your favourite metal band otherwise?
S: Black Sabbath or Motorhead but probably Black Sabbath.
J: Did you hear about Rob Halford at the weekend?
S: No, what about him?
J: He come out.
S: As being gay? Hes as gay as a window, you could tell.
J: Er, all the leather and shit.
S: That squeaky voice.
J: Hes a brummie. Will you be doing Sweet Leaf live?
S: We haven't. We could. The thing about us is that theres a lot of songs live that we don't do but we all have to agree that we want to play it. Theres loads of songs that I'd really like to play but no one really ever says or wants to.
J: Will you be doing a Scottish football song for the World Cup?
S: Yeah, we did it actually. We recorded it. Its going to be on a Chemikal Underground EP. All the bands on the label are gonna do World Cup songs.
J: Whats yours called?
S: Guardians Of Football. Its total heavy metal, pastiche of sports themes or whatever.
J: Who would you like to see cover a Mogwai song and which song?
S: I don't know if I would like to see anyone really. Maybe like an orchestra if something could get arranged like horns or brass or strings or whatever. I can't think of a band that I think..., I dunno, I almost said would do it better than us but thats big headed and not true. I can't think of any band that would.
J: Would you fancy someone doing a cheesy cover?
S: No, we could do that ourselves for a laugh I think. Er, otherwise the original lineup of Black Sabbath doing Like Herod would be pretty good or Joy Division playing New Paths To Helicon. I can't really imagine it, its just names in my head that I could put together.
J: What was it like snogging Rick from Ash?
S: Can't remember. It was quite an embarassing experience.
J: Was that your reaction to the picture?
S: I was really embarassed.
J: Have you got much flack for it?
S: My girlfriend wasn't very happy. No, not really, because I won the drinking competition all my friends just thought that was cool.
J: You looked like you were doing the best, you looked like you were carrying someone.
S: Yeah, I was ceremonially gobbed but I could still walk. I felt pretty bad because I'd actually stopped drinking then, I hadn't drinked for three weeks or something and it was like "oh go and do this Christmas issue". It would have been a lot worse actually, John the guy who does our press came with us and kind of looked after me. It could have been a lot worse.
J: What do you feel about Placebo now?
S: Placebo? I don't really know. I just don't care. Did we used to slag them off?
J: Brian used to be on the slap list.
S: Brian? Brian's my mate now.
J: Is he?
S: Not really but I do know him. I always see him kicking about.
J: What's he like then?
S: A cheesy rock star. He's not my kind of guy anyway, you know? I feel sorry for him actually.
J: Really?
S: Yeah, I do.
J: Why is that then?
S: Because if you look at him, listen to the things he says, thats not what a real person says. You can't carry on like that and go through life. I really find it quite surreal. These people that sort of have an interview mode or whatever. He's like one of these people.
J: What price do you think CDs should be in the shops?
S: I don't really care. I should, I respect bands that do. Do you think they're too expensive?
J: Yeah.
S: They should be the same price as vinyl actually, you're right. They should be about £8.99 or something. Charging £16 or whatever is really bad especially for people that don't live next to a lot of record shops and they're forced to buy them for a lot of money at Tower or Our Price or wherever. Theres just nothing you can do about it. Thats the thing, do you know what I mean, I couldn't get wound up about that, even though its a pretty bad situation because theres nothing that can be done about it, that I could do about it. Maybe if like EMI Records decided that all their albums when they came out were gonna cost £7.99, it might kind of sort it out but I mean that would cause even more problems for the independent labels. I mean imagine, look what they did with CD singles, a Domino band would have trouble getting in the Top 40 on those terms, a single being £1.99 or whatever.
J: Have you any plans for Rock Action?
S: Yeah, I have actually. I've got some money now, not a lot of money but I'd like to put out a Trout album. I'd like to put out.... theres loadsa bands I like, like a band from Glasgow called Wheat, a band from Ireland called Wormhole, a band from Wales called Headfull. I'd just like to put out records by those sorts of bands. Theres bands that no one gives a fuck about that are really good.
J: Have you drummed for Trout recently?
S: It just did it the once in Brighton. Were you there?
J: Yeah.
S: They're much better with their own drummer. That was good fun. They're a crazy band.
J: Did you like the Pilotcan album?
S: Yeah, I thought it had some good songs on it. They probably shouldn't of, probably should be thinking of doing their first album just now. I think they weren't really prepared but its still a good start.
J: I saw you in NME this week talking about Iggy Pop.
S: Yeah, that was off the top of my head. That was like you asking me a question. It was just when we were doing that Astoria gig and I just said who should win the godlike genius award but I do think Iggy Pop is just so cool. He's great.
J: Which is your favourite song?
S: Favourite rock song, probably TV Eye or Search And Destroy. Just general song, probably something off The Idiot, any song off The Idiot. Amazing. And Dark from Funhouse, its amazing. Iggy was a genius.
J: Do you like Real Cool Time?
S: I like it, I like all that first album actually. I really like it.
J: Everyone always seems to mention the production on Raw Power.
S: I don't really care. I wish I did. All these people go on how the mix is really bad and apparently they brought out this other version with a different mix. I actually bought a bootleg called Rough Power with different mixes. All it had was some really bad backing vocals as well as some bad sounding drums. Basically they got David Bowie to produce it when David Bowie was an utter drug addict, so he obviously couldn't tell his arse from his elbow. He couldn't make a record without Tony Visconti, who did the Bowie albums. I don't know, he made a real arse of it but its still a good record, crazy record.
J: Do you think you'll ever be doing one of theirs at some stage?
S: When Brendan was in the band, me and Brendan used to play TV Eye at soundchecks. I don't really think we're a good enough rock band to pull it off. Thats one regret I've got about Mogwai, is that we're not an utter rock band. We can't compete on the terms of bands like the Stooges and early Jesus And Mary Chain and stuff. Our music is really subtle and stuff. Now I'm talking rubbish but I don't think we're as good as that.
J: Did you like the Macrocosmica album?
S: Same as the Pilotcan one, I think they rushed into it and they can make a much better record if they spend more time on it, waited six months.
J: Do you still see Brendan?
S: Not as often as I used to. Sometimes.
J: Would you still like him in your band?
S: Er, nah we're OK where we are.
J: Is it true he's moved in with Martin?
S: He's gonna move in with Martin, probably in the next couple of days or something. I mean he's a nice guy and stuff but...
J: Do you reckon he'll make a good flatmate?
S: No, he's probably terrible.
J: Why? His misbehaving?
S: I don't know really, its just that... er, I don't really know why, maybe thats a bit harsh. He wouldn't be on the top list of choices. I wouldn't leave him alone with my wee sister for a start. I don't really know, I've never lived with him. He seems like he breaks a lot of things.
J: Is he hyperactive?
S: Yeah, utterly hyperactive unless he smokes a lot of hash. He runs up and down, runs up and down and stuff. I don't know where he gets the energy, he doesn't eat anyway. He hardly eats anything at all.
J: Did he appear on The King album by Teenage Fanclub?
S: What album?
J: The King.
S: Aye, he played on all those songs. Thats his favourite Teenage Fanclub record.
J: Yeah, its the one with the Madonna cover and a song called Mudhoney.
S: You can't go wrong with a song called Mudhoney can you?
J: Do you like Mudhoney then?
S: They're one of my favourite bands, I fucking love them. They're doing a new album just now actually, so hopefully when they come over we'll do some shows with them. I'd really love to support Mudhoney. I think that'll almost definitely happen. I'm gonna make that happen.
J: I'd like to meet them, they seem like they're cool.
S: I've met one of them. I met Dan Peters. He seemed nice, I had a short talk with him.
J: Do you think Dan Peters looks like Graham Kemp a bit?
S: No, thats cruel but yeah, he does a bit (laughs).
J: Whats your favourite Mudhoney song?
S: I don't know what one it is, erm If I Think. Its unbelievable, its totally energetic but its quite sad, its a love song as well. Its really good. Da, ner ner ner, ner ner. Na, ner ner ner ner ner. Ah, they were cool. They actually got me back into guitars, just like when me and Dominic were starting a band. I didn't know what kind of a band I wanted to start but I just went to see Mudhoney, just sort of for like nostalgia but I just remembered how much I fucking love loud guitars. That sort of love of old school, kinda Swervedriver and Mudhoney, came in handy. Thats one of the kind of things that bonded us when we started the band.
J: What do you do to relieve boredom on this tour?
S: I skateboard, masturbate. Thats it.
J: What number interview today for you is this?
S: Its number six I think.
J: Whats the most commonly asked question?
S: It used to be something about the name but we don't really get asked that anymore thank god. People ask what was it like playing with Pavement. There isn't one overriding one that everyone asks. People ask stuff about Brendan in their different ways or whatever. Oh no, this tour its like "whats it like playing with Aerial M". Everyones asked us that. Its understandable.
Do you live here in Colchester?
J: No, just down the road on the coast, a place called Walton.
S: How far is it?
J: Its about 45 minutes.
S: Oh really?
J: Yeah but we've got the seaside, its nice.
S: Yeah, sounds nice.
J: Would you like to live here?
S: No.
J: Why? Don't you like it?
S: I don't dislike it but England's a very claustrophobic place compared to most other places in the world. Its overpopulated. You can't drive very far without seeing masses of activity. I like peace and quiet.
J: Do you think thats why Scotland seems to be producing better bands, I don't know, you seem more into it for the right reasons it seems?
S: I don't know. I doubt it. Most of the bands from Scotland are from the city, they're from Glasgow. Most of the bands probably haven't really seen the country I'd seen. Graham Kemp, his girlfriend lives in London and he's said its no different to Glasgow or whatever. Its a good theory but I don't think so. Arab Strap are from Falkirk which is the most shitty place I've been in my life.
J: Is it?
S: Its fucking horrible. It makes Chelmsford look like Paris.
J: Are there Young Teams still going?
S: Oh, aye. Loads (laughs).
J: Were you ever in one?
S: No, I've always been a nice boy. Alun from the Delgados and Stuart from the Delgados were both in the North Motherwell Young Team but I've always been nice (laughs). Not particularly nice but not really in the Casuals or whatever like that. Malcolm knows a lot of Casuals. His cousins are all mad.
J: So are mine.

Jason Graham (taken from No Pictures 8)

(link to Marceline's mogwai site)

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