Mogwai will be back in America in August for a couple of shows at the All Points West Festival in New York and then in Washington DC, before joining up with Teenage Fanclub and The Vaselines to play the Summer Sonic Festival in Japan. Ticket information and details below.

The band have been touring all over the world for the past year in support of The Hawk is Howling and these appear to be their last shows for a while at least. Many great writers have tried to describe Mogwai’s music before, but Stuart Braithwaite spoke to Anthony Carew about what Mogwai’s songs are really all about.

Did you always want to be an instrumental band?
“No, we didn’t always want to. But we had a certain amount of songs that had no singing, and those songs were better than those that did have the singing. So, just naturally veered more towards those without.”

Are your songs ‘about’ anything?
“No. They’re just pieces of music. That’s just the way it is. That’s not to say that our music doesn’t evoke memories in us, make us think of things that happened around the time the music was written, or first played. But a lot of people who write instrumental music, if they were being honest, would have to say their music wasn’t actually about anything. But a lot of other people lie!”

Do audiences persist in telling you what your songs are about, though?
“Sometimes. But, I think, the longer the band’s been going, the more people realize where we stand on things. They realize that there isn’t a narrative, that our music is not stories, just notes.”

So, with song titles, you get free-reign to make up anything that amuses you?

“That’s exactly what it gives us.”

When I was in high-school, in the mid-’90s, there were dudes at my school in a band named Mogwai, too. I remember thinking it was a bad band-name.
“It is a bad band-name!”

But after a while, names just stand for the music made under them. When I hear ‘Mogwai’, now, I don’t think of the Gremlins movie, just as, when I hear ‘Radiohead,’ I don’t think of…
“A guy with a radio on his head!”

How did you end up with your bad band-name?
“I can’t even remember. I think it was more just being stuck for something to call the band. There certainly wasn’t a moment of inspiration.”

Have you ever fantasized about the name you’d use if you started a new project?
“No, not really. I’m not good with names, really, to be totally honest. I mean, I’ll help with the song names, but we don’t take them very seriously at all. Although, now that I come to think of it, you could have a band called Thank You Space Expert. Or Friend of the Night.”

Or Scotland’s Shame.
“That would be a funny name. It could, indeed, be our name.”

If you ever looking to test out a new HD telly and sound system then the Zidane film with a soundtrack by Mogwai looks and sounds incredible. Clip below.