MOGWAI (/ˈmɒɡwaɪ/ ) are a Scottish post-rock band, formed in 1995
Glasgow . The band consists of
Stuart Braithwaite (guitar, vocals),
Barry Burns (guitar, piano, synthesizer, vocals), Dominic Aitchison
(bass guitar), and
Martin Bulloch (drums). The band typically compose
lengthy guitar-based instrumental pieces that feature dynamic contrast
, melodic bass guitar lines, and heavy use of distortion and effects .
The band were for several years signed to
Glasgow label Chemikal
Underground , and have been distributed by different labels such as
Matador in the US and Play It Again Sam in the UK, but now use their
Rock Action Records in the UK, and
Sub Pop in North America.
The band were frequently championed by
John Peel from their early
days, and recorded seven Peel Sessions between 1996 and 2004. Peel
also recorded a brief introduction for the compilation Government
Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996–2003 .
* 1 History
* 1.1 Formation (1991–95)
Mogwai Young Team (1995–97)
Come On Die Young (1998–99)
* 1.4 Rock Action (2000–01)
* 1.5 Happy Songs For Happy People (2002–03)
Mr Beast (2004–06)
The Hawk Is Howling
The Hawk Is Howling (2007–08)
* 1.8 Burning /
Special Moves (2009–10)
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (2011–13)
Rave Tapes (2013–2015)
* 1.11 Every Country\'s Sun (2016–present)
* 2 Soundtracks and other work
* 3 Musical style
* 4 Band members
* 5 Discography
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 External links
Stuart Braithwaite and
Dominic Aitchison met in April 1991, and four
years later formed
Mogwai with old schoolfriend
Martin Bulloch . The
band are named after the creatures from the film
Gremlins , although
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." 'Mogwai' means "evil
spirit" or "devil" in
Cantonese (Chinese : 魔鬼; pinyin : móguǐ;
Jyutping : mo¹gwai²; IPA : mɔ˧˥ kueɪ˨˩˦). The band debuted in
February 1996 with the "Tuner"/"Lower" single and by the end of the
year they received 'single of the week' from
NME for "Summer", a feat
repeated early in 1997 with "New Paths to Helicon". After playing a
few shows the band expanded with the introduction of John Cummings on
Teenage Fanclub drummer Brendan O\'Hare joined whilst they
recorded their début album
Mogwai Young Team .
MOGWAI YOUNG TEAM (1995–97)
The album, released in October 1997, reached number 75 on the UK
Albums Chart , and featured a guest appearance from
Aidan Moffat of
Arab Strap . In 1998 the band had their first singles chart success
with a split single with Magoo of
Black Sabbath cover versions
reaching number 60 in the UK and an EP of "Fear Satan" remixes
reaching number 57. In the same year, an album of remixes of the
band's tracks by the likes of
Kevin Shields ,
Alec Empire , and μ-ziq
was issued (Kicking a Dead Pig:
Mogwai Songs Remixed ). The band also
remixed tracks for David Holmes and
Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers . O'Hare
was sacked after the release of the album (reportedly after upsetting
the rest of the band by talking all through a performance by Arab
COME ON DIE YOUNG (1998–99)
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, Barry was invited into the band because he was a "good
laugh". The album reached number 29 in the UK. The band line up
remained unchanged from 1998 until November 2015, when John Cummings
left to pursue other projects. Fellow Scottish musician Luke
Sutherland has contributed violin (and more recently vocals and
guitar) to Mogwai's records and live performances.
ROCK ACTION (2000–01)
The band's 2001 album Rock Action gave them their highest UK album
chart placing, reaching number 23. The album was less guitar-led than
previously, featuring more electronics; a larger than usual number of
tracks also featured vocals, guest vocalists included
David Pajo of
Gruff Rhys of
Super Furry Animals
Super Furry Animals and
Gary Lightbody of Snow
Patrol . Shortly afterwards the band released "
My Father My King ", a
cacophonous 20-minute song which closed their Rock Action-period
shows, and was billed as a companion piece to the album.
HAPPY SONGS FOR HAPPY PEOPLE (2002–03)
Mogwai's 2003 album
Happy Songs for Happy People
Happy Songs for Happy People continued the band's
movement into the use of electronica and more spacious arrangements.
It was the band's first album to sell in any numbers in the US,
reaching No.13 on the Billboard
Independent Albums Chart and even
spending one week in the
Billboard 200 . Reviews were generally
favourable, although as
Pitchfork Media said in 2008 "...(the
album's) reception ranged from middling to favorable. Some praised the
band's scope, grandeur, and willingness to explore beyond the bounds
of the quiet-loud-louder dynamic it had mastered; others lamented a
lack of the same, alternately calling Happy Songs too soft, too small,
or too stiff."
MR BEAST (2004–06)
Mogwai playing at
Somerset House , London, 7 July 2007
In March 2006, the album
Mr Beast was released in a regular format
and in a limited deluxe edition package that came with both the album
on CD and a DVD documenting the recording process entitled The
Mr Beast . The album was described by Creation Records
Alan McGee as "probably the best art rock album I've been
involved with since Loveless . In fact, it's possibly better than
Loveless". referring to the influential 1991 album by My Bloody
AllMusic called the album "Possibly the most accessible
yet sophisticated album
Mogwai (have) released".
THE HAWK IS HOWLING (2007–08)
The band's sixth studio album was recorded from late 2007 until early
2008, and was released in September 2008. It was the first Mogwai
album not to feature vocals, and was also the first to be
self-produced by the band; the album was recorded by Andy Miller at
Chem19 Studios in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire , and mixed by Gareth
Castle of Doom Studios in Glasgow. The album spawned an EP,
Batcat , featuring the title track from the album and also a
Roky Erickson , with Erickson providing vocals on
BURNING / SPECIAL MOVES (2009–10)
In 2010 the band released their first live film (Burning, filmed by
Vincent Moon and Nathanaël Le Scouarnec, which premiered at the
Glasgow Film Festival in February) and live album (called Special
Moves). Burning contains eight tracks from the band's Brooklyn shows
during their 2008/2009 American tour, whilst
Special Moves adds nine
more tracks from the same source.
Special Moves was the first
release on Mogwai's own Rock Action records, named after Stooges
Scott Asheton , who had his name changed to Rock Action.
HARDCORE WILL NEVER DIE, BUT YOU WILL (2011–13)
In September 2010,
Mogwai left longtime North American distributor
Matador Records, and signed with
Sub Pop . Braithwaite also stated
that the band were working on material for a new album for release in
early 2011. On 27 October 2010,
Mogwai announced their seventh studio
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will . The album was released
on 14 February 2011 in the UK and entered the
UK Albums Chart
UK Albums Chart at
number 25. A bonus edition featured an additional CD featuring a
23-minute piece called "Music for a Forgotten Future (The Singing
Mountain)", which was recorded for an art installation by Douglas
Gordon and Olaf Nicolai. Three singles were released from the album;
"Rano Pano", "Mexican Grand Prix" and "San Pedro".
In 2012 a remix album,
A Wrenched Virile Lore was released which
included tracks from Hardcore... remixed by numerous artists including
Xander Harris ,
The Soft Moon ,
Robert Hampson and
Justin Broadrick .
The album, whose title is almost an anagram of "Hardcore Will Never
Die" was again released by
Sub Pop in the US, and Rock Action Records
RAVE TAPES (2013–2015)
Mogwai performing their soundtrack to Zidane: A 21st Century
Portrait in Manchester, 19 July 2013
In July 2013,
Mogwai performed their soundtrack to Zidane: A 21st
Century Portrait for the first time at dates across the UK. An
announcement of new live dates followed, including two nights at the
Royal Festival Hall
Royal Festival Hall , and an appearance closing the final holiday
camp edition of the "All Tomorrow\'s Parties" festival in Camber
They announced their eighth studio album
Rave Tapes on 28 October
2013. The album was released on 20 January 2014 on Rock Action in the
UK, Spunk in Australia and Hostess in Japan and South-east Asia, while
Sub Pop released the album in the US on 21 January.
Rave Tapes was
Mogwai and Paul Savage, and the song "Remurdered" was
uploaded to the Rock Action and
SoundCloud pages at the time
of the announcement. The album entered the UK album charts at No.10
and as of April 2014 was the best selling UK album released in 2014 in
terms of vinyl sales.
An EP titled
Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1. on Rock Action was
released on 1 December 2014 featuring three new tracks from the Rave
Tapes sessions, along with three remixes of tracks from that album by
Blanck Mass ,
Pye Corner Audio and
Nils Frahm . The EP was recorded in
Paul Savage .
In June 2015
Mogwai played a series of high-profile shows in the UK
and Ireland, climaxing with two nights at the
Camden Roundhouse , to
celebrate the band's 20th anniversary. At the same time, in
association with ATP , they curated a series of shows at the London
venue featuring acts that have "challenged, intrigued and inspired"
The Jesus and Mary Chain , Public Enemy , and
Godspeed! You Black Emperor . A career retrospective album comprising
three CDs or six LPs,
Central Belters , was released on 23 October.
On 15 November 2015, the band announced that guitarist John Cummings
had left to pursue his own projects.
EVERY COUNTRY\'S SUN (2016–PRESENT)
In April 2016, Braithwaite told the Guardian that the band were
writing new songs and would be travelling to the US later in the year
to record a new album with
Dave Fridmann , who produced Rock Action
some 15 years previously. On 25 November, Fridmann announced that the
band had started recording the album with him. On 3 March 2017, the
band announced that they had completed recording and were mastering
the album at
Abbey Road Studios
Abbey Road Studios . The band have announced a worldwide
tour to coincide with the release of the new album, starting with
dates in Europe in October before visiting North America in November,
and finally playing in their home city, Glasgow, in December.
On 14 May 2017, the band announced the new album would be named Every
Country\'s Sun and would be released on 1 September 2017. They also
shared the first song "Coolverine". On June 2,
Mogwai played a show
Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, only announced on the day,
which consisted of
Every Country's Sun played in full.
SOUNDTRACKS AND OTHER WORK
In 2006, the band provided the soundtrack to the film Zidane: A 21st
Century Portrait, with the soundtrack album released the following
year. The band's song "Auto Rock" was used in Michael Mann's 2006
film Miami Vice . The band also collaborated with
Clint Mansell and
Kronos Quartet on the soundtrack to
The Fountain in 2006.
also featured in the 2009 post-rock documentary Introspective. The
band donated an exclusive track to the PEACE project in April 2010 in
Amnesty International . In 2012, the band provided the
soundtrack for the
Canal+ French TV series Les Revenants (broadcast as
The Returned in the UK). The album, Les Revenants , was released on 25
February 2013. The track "Kids Will Be Skeletons" was featured as
part of the soundtrack of the story based video game
Life Is Strange .
In 2015 the band supplied the music for Mark Cousins ' documentary
Atomic, Living in Dread and Promise . The soundtrack was reworked and
released as Atomic on 1 April 2016, through Rock Action Records.
The band carried out an extensive live tour of Europe and Japan
performing the soundtrack against a backdrop of the screening of the
film, beginning in Austria on 1 May 2016. They then announced a North
American tour of the album for January 2017. The band also co-wrote
the score to Fisher Stevens' 2016 documentary film about climate
change Before the Flood. The score was performed and written by
Mogwai, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Gustavo Santaolalla.
Stuart Braithwaite took part in a documentary about Glasgow
Chemikal Underground Records , called Lost in France. The
film was directed by Niall McCann and brought Braithwaite (along with
The Delgados , Franz Ferdinand and others) to
Brittany, to recreate a gig they played just after
Mogwai had formed.
The film features
Mogwai live, as well as footage of Braithwaite
Mogwai tracks solo and interviews with Braithwaite and his old
label-mates such as Alex Kapranos (Franz Ferdinand), Emma Pollock (The
Delgados) and Stewart Henderson (The Delgados). It premiered at the
Edinburgh International Film Festival
Edinburgh International Film Festival to positive reviews and was
called "Funny, vital and sobering” by Scotland's arts magazine The
The band's influences include
MC5 , My Bloody Valentine ,
Sonic Youth ,
The Cure and post-rock pioneers
Mogwai's style has easily identifiable connections to genres like
shoegaze , math rock , and art rock . Début album
Mogwai Young Team
was described as "stunningly dynamic... seamlessly from tranquil,
bleakly beautiful soundscapes to brain scrambling white noise and
Douglas Wolk , writing for SPIN in 1999 said
of the band: "Their compositions have gotten increasingly drawn-out
and austere over time, sometimes barely more than a single arpeggiated
chord or two evolving for ten minutes or more, whisperingly brutal in
a way that recalls
Slint more than any other band".
Barry Burns once
stated in an interview that he and the rest of the band do not like
the categorisation of post-rock because he believes it over-analyses
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.
— Stuart Braithwaite, The Express
Stuart Braithwaite – guitar, bass, vocals (1995–present)
Dominic Aitchison – bass, guitar (1995–present)
Martin Bulloch – drums (1995–present)
Barry Burns – guitar, bass, keyboards, synthesizer, flute,
* Brendan O\'Hare – keyboards, guitar (1997)
* John Cummings – guitar, laptop (1995–2015)
Occasional contributor and touring members
* Alex Mackay - guitar, keyboards (touring member; 2016—present)
Luke Sutherland – violin, guitar, vocals, percussion
* James Hamilton - drums (touring replacement for Martin Bulloch)
* Scott Patterson - guitar (touring replacement for John Cummings)
* Cat Myers - drums (touring replacement for Martin Bulloch) (2017)
Mogwai Young Team (1997)
Come On Die Young (1999)
* Rock Action (2001)
Happy Songs for Happy People
Happy Songs for Happy People (2003)
Mr Beast (2006)
The Hawk Is Howling
The Hawk Is Howling (2008)
Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (2011)
Rave Tapes (2014)
* Every Country\'s Sun (2017)
List of post-rock bands
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