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more... ArtistsGuitaristsMarch 2014Mogwai

Mogwai’s Post-Rock Roar


There’s awesome howling feedback on “Hexon Bogon” and elsewhere on the record. Do you also play live in the studio, or do you create these sounds through electronic effects?
I kept it simple: I turned up the guitar loud—really loud. With a Marshall and a Rat distortion, it’s hard not to feed back!

JC: Yes, even in the studio we tend to play very loud. We have to be mindful of the placement of our guitars relative to the amps, so that we only get feedback when it’s wanted.

What is the source and meaning of the narration on “Repelish”?
SB: The original recording was a Christian radio show from the early ’80s. Due to licensing obstacles, we weren’t able to use it, so we got a friend to re-record it for the album.

JC: We just thought it was pretty entertaining—it wasn’t an intellectual decision or anything. It was nice to add some levity to the proceedings.

YouTube It

“Mogwai Fear Satan,” from the group’s 1997 debut album, has often been revisited in concert, as seen here.

Though Mogwai was conceived as a guitar-driven band, it’s not unusual for guitars to mingle with keys, as in “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead.”

If you’ve got an hour or so to spare, check out some of Mogwai’s concert-length videos, such as this one.

How have you evolved as a musician since the band started?
I’ve definitely gotten better at what I do. I might have neglected every other aspect of music other than what the band does, but in Mogwai, I think I’ve improved tenfold.

JC: I actually understand more of what people are saying when they talk about music. I am definitely more conversant in theory and harmony than when I started playing in the group, something that happened out of necessity.

What’s kept the band together for so many years?
We’ve always gotten on quite well, and after almost 20 years of playing together, we’re actually still interested in music! Luckily, audiences have also maintained an interest in our music.

JC: And it’s nice to now be playing for people who might not have even been born when the band started.

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