SCOTTISH post-rock outfit Mogwai will take centre stage at the Urbanscapes 2014 satellite show on Nov 30, where they will entertain fans with their emotive, guitar-driven instrumental pieces (well, mostly instrumental).
The five-man band, which has been together for close to two decades now, will be performing in Kuala Lumpur for the second time and fortunately for us, guitarist, bassist, songwriter and occasional vocalist Stuart Braithwaite took time to talk to us about their upcoming show, their music, and their label, Rock Action Records.
R.AGE: How excited are you to be playing in KL again?
Stuart Braithwaite: I’ve actually been to Southeast Asia a few times now. I won’t pretend to know a lot about the place, but I’m very fond of it. I think the people are really nice and it’s a beautiful place. It’s one of my favourite parts of the world to visit.
R: So, will your gig in KL only feature music from your new album, Rave Tapes, or is there more for your fans to look forward to?
SB: Usually, we play quite a few new songs, but we always play songs from all our different records so, yeah, it’ll be all different songs at the concert.
R: Speaking of your music, you’ve been quoted saying that Mogwai’s song titles have nothing to do with the actual songs and are usually based on phrases that you like. What sort of things inspire these phrases then?
SB: I like quite a lot of comics. I think a lot of the old song titles came from old Batman comics and things like that, but I think these years, it’s more often just things people say or things we hear from people. It’s mostly complete nonsense, to be honest.
R: You’ve got a record label now, Rock Action Records, named after the album you released back in 2001. How do you think record labels can continue being relevant in this day and age where anyone can release their own music independently online?
SB: I think a lot of people are good at making music – that’s one side of being an artiste. I think a lot of the other side, of getting new music out to people, isn’t really something they’re very good at sorting out, you know; and I think that’s sort of where labels come in.
I also find that labels are quite important in choosing music because there’s so much music out there that sometimes people get overwhelmed. If you get into a certain label, you can gravitate towards the type of music they put out, and so, labels can act as, I don’t know, a channel or something like that. So, I definitely think there’s still a very big part for labels to play and if you really think about it, record labels have become even more important in a lot of ways.
R: What about bands who cannot get signed or are just starting out? What sort of sage advice would you have for them?
SB: I think the advice I would give any band, from any part of the world, is to play as much as you can ‘cos that’s always the best promotion you can get – it’s just playing concerts. I know if you’re a band in Southeast Asia, you’re very far away (from major stakeholders in the global music industry), so, it’s probably difficult. It’s easier said than done but, if possible, it’s good to just play your music in as many places, to as many people as you can. That’s the best advice. I don’t think there’s any big secret.
R.AGE is the official media partner of Urbanscapes 2014. For more content and info, go to rage.com.my/urbanscapes2014.