Features Interviews Mogwai

Interviews: Mogwai

In January, renowned post-rockers Mogwai released their critically-acclaimed eighth full-length Rave Tapes. Via email, Scene Point Blank talked with guitarist Barry Burns about the album, side projects, and Pot Noodles. Here's the outcome:

Scene Point Blank: What were your artistic influences on Rave Tapes?

Barry Burns: Music: John Carpenter, John Bender, Flaming Lips, and Boards Of Canada. Film: John Carpenter and Italian horror films.

Scene Point Blank: Did any dramatic life events contribute to the album?

Barry Burns: It’s maybe not “dramatic” but our bass player had a baby and our drummer had his 2nd baby so that probably made a difference—but nothing negative.

"Our only unusual rider request is a framed piece of art from a local child or a local gifted amateur. This appears around 20% of the time."

Scene Point Blank: Besides Mogwai, what are some other projects that you’re working on?

Barry Burns: I’m trying to write some music with a friend of mine from England, who used to live here in Berlin. But it’s quite difficult to write music on an aeroplane or a tour bus… there are too many distractions like the internet and slick alcoholic beverages.

Scene Point Blank: Do you have any amusing tour stories?

Barry Burns: Millions. But you’d need to get us drunk in order to remember the gory details. Most of them involve drink but none of them involve sex. Some of them even involve D-list celebrities. We’ve been around a long time.


Photo by quique

Scene Point Blank: Speaking of touring, what’s on Mogwai’s rider?

Barry Burns: The usual stuff like whisky and meat but our only unusual request is a framed piece of art from a local child or a local gifted amateur. This appears around 20% of the time but we’re not angry about that. It’s always a surprise when it shows up.

Scene Point Blank: Shifting gears to other subjects, which philosopher do you relate to/understand the most?

Barry Burns: None of the classical ones. Probably George Carlin or Doug Stanhope. Comedians make it much more accessible.

Scene Point Blank: How about in music? Although we’re only a few months in, what is some of your favorite 2014 music so far?

Barry Burns: Dum Dum Girls and Chad Van Gaalen (I got a sneak listen and it’s amazing).

Scene Point Blank: Say you and Mogwai can only cover one band for the rest of your career, but it has to be a very loathsome band (Limp Bizkit, Nickleback, Milli Vanilli, etc.). Who would you choose to cover?

Barry Burns: Maroon 5. You could only make that sound better by playing it with even the most basic of instruments.

Scene Point Blank: Lastly, you’re in a supermarket and you see someone that you know, but you’re just slightly friendly with him/her. You strike up some small-talk with the person in the aisle, then return to your shopping. A few minutes later, you’re checking out, but the person comes into the line, standing right in back of you (by the way, the line is really long). What would you do in this situation?

Barry Burns: This happens all the time to me. I usually pour tomato spaghetti on my head and pretend I’m a Pot Noodle.


Words by Eli Zeger on May 8, 2014, 4:26 p.m.

Main photo by Max Howell.

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Posted by Eli Zeger on May 8, 2014, 4:26 p.m.

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