Mogwai are a Scottish rock band from Glasgow. Formed by Stuart Braithwaite and Dominic Aitchison in 1995, Mogwai have since become one of the most influential and best known names in post-rock. They typically compose instrumental, sometimes lengthy guitar-based pieces in the post-rock tradition. They are usually focused around the elaboration of a single theme and are known for dynamic contrast, melodic bass guitar riffs, their use of guitar distortion and effects. Braithwaite has commented on the absence of lyrics in most of Mogwai's music, saying
- I think most people are not used to having no lyrics to focus on. Lyrics are a real comfort to some people. I guess they like to sing along and when they can't do that with us they can get a bit upset.
The band was originally signed to renowned Glasgow indie label Chemikal Underground, but are now distributed by different labels, such as Matador in the US and Play It Again Sam in the UK. They have also developed their own label, Rock Action Records, named after Stooges drummer Scott Asheton, who had his name changed to Rock Action.
Their style has been influenced by bands including Dirty Three, Joy Division, Pink Floyd, The Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and post-rock pioneers Slint. During 2004, the band supported tours by two major influences, Pixies and The Cure. Mogwai's style has easily identifiable connections to genres like shoegaze, math rock, art rock and occasionally instrumental metal.
Mogwai (meaning "ghost" or "devil" in Cantonese) are named after the creatures from the film Gremlins, although guitarist Stuart Braithwaite comments that "it has no significant meaning and we always intended on getting a better one, but like a lot of other things we never got round to it."
Stuart Braithwaite and Dominic Aitchison originally met at a gig for Ned's Atomic Dustbin in April 1991, and four years later added old schoolfriend Martin Bulloch to their ranks, forming the band Mogwai in the process. Stuart had been playing lead guitar in a band called "Deadcat Motorbike" up until that point. After playing a few shows the band expanded with the introduction of John Cummings on guitar, and Teenage Fanclub drummer Brendan O'Hare joined whilst they recorded their debut album Mogwai Young Team.
O'Hare left after the release of the album, before Barry Burns was brought in prior to the recording of Come On Die Young, the band's second album. He had already played a few shows with the band, as a flautist and as an occasional pianist. According to Stuart, the reason Barry was invited into the band was because he was a good laugh. Since 1998, and for the recording of every album since Young Team, the band line up has remained unchanged. However, fellow Scot musician Luke Sutherland has contributed violin to Mogwai's records and live performances. In 2000 the band curated the first edition of the British All Tomorrow's Parties festival. In 2004 they returned to curate one day of the Director's Cut of ATP.
Barry Burns once stated in an interview with Chillville that he and the rest of the band don't like the categorization of post-rock because he believes it overanalyses everything.
- Mogwai's official website
- Mogwai's MySpage page
- Interview with Mogwai on Cult Cargo
- Podcast Interview with Mogwai on Celticunderground
- Mogwai's US record label
- Mogwai's UK record label
- Mogwai at Last.fm
- Mogwai collection at the Internet Archive's live music archive
- Billboard Complete Discography of Mogwai
- Album Reviews at exclaim!
Biography from Wikipedia