Barry Burns of Mogwai

William Cody Watson

mogwai press photo

Mogwai / Press photo

Barry Burns is the sole music theory-educated bloke amongst the mass of musicians who make up Mogwai. He contributes keyboards, guitar, flute, and Vocoder'd vocals. He joined the band just prior to their second album because “he was a good laugh“, and seems that's still the case.

Do
you feel responsible for helping shape this instrumental, post-rock, epic, whatever-you-wanna-call-it music genre that has
become increasingly popular over the years? There's a
new band popping up every day, citing Mogwai as an influence. Do you
feel responsible? Do you listen to much of this music?

Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will is quite possibly my
favorite of all your album titles. I know in the past, you've said that titles
just kind of come and go because you find them entertaining. Was that the
situation with this one, or is there more to it?

We
didn't have a title and we really had to get one. Stuart and I were at an
Errors show in Stirling, Scotland and we told James the drummer about the need
for an album title so he told us this story about a Scottish teenager that
couldn't get served booze at a shop, and he yelled the title at the shopkeeper.
Album title decided.

Specifically,
where do you think this album takes the sound of Mogwai, in
comparison to your past works? What new types of ideas were you trying to get
across?

It's a
lot happier sounding and faster paced than our usual thing and is verging on
pop on a couple of songs. This will not mean a chart entry of course… we
weren't trying to get any ideas across, really. We're quite selfish in that we
make music mostly for ourselves because we enjoy doing it.

Is
it getting harder to create your music as time goes by?

It
always is at the beginning of a project but then you just get on with it and
try not to worry too much or you get in a tizzy.

The
track “You're Lionel Richie” is an extremely heavy song. Do
you consider Mogwai to be a heavy band? How do you define heavy music?

Heavy = loud distorted guitars and distorted keyboards and whatever, but it can also be
like the band Low who can be heavy while being quiet. I suppose you
have to hear them to know what I mean.

Barry Burns photo by Michael MurrayMichael Murray” src=”https://impose.verbcms.com/VERB_HOSTED_IMAGE/13518″ />

How
important is playing live? Is it something that you feel you guys have to do in order to get the music out to a wider audience, or is it a necessity for you to
personally get out there and do it, to an almost cathartic extent?

It's
the most fun part of being in a group. Recording and rehearsing is nowhere near
as fun or immediate and we all love to play concerts.

How
did you guys reach out to Roky Erickson for his appearance on “Devil
Rides” from the Batcat EP?

I think
his brother got in touch with us after he came out of his incarceration and he
was into singing on the song.

What's
your upcoming touring schedule looking like?

A
fucking KFC Famous Bowl. Horrendous.

How
has the direction changed in Mogwai over the years, according to you guys? Is it something that happened
naturally, or was it a matter of crossing your own personal boundaries, or a
desire to evolve into something else?

I don't
know, really, other than to say that we just try to make something different each
time, and we'll be the first to admit that we haven't always done that with
every song, but generally I think we've developed at a pace we're quite happy
at. The new record seems even more of a change than usual which is going down
well in most parts so far.

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