The world premiere of Mogwai’s new film ‘Burning’, recorded live in Brooklyn earlier this year, will take place next week in Copenhagen with Stuart Braithwaite playing a DJ set after the screening. Yesterday, Stuart, one of Scotland’s greatest ever guitarists, answered a few of our questions and let us know who would get his vote.

We’ve actually been chasing Stuart Braithwaite for an interview for a while. That we finally got hold of him in the week that the ‘Greatest Guitarist’ vote is taking place is, of course, rather appropriate. However, in the interests of fairness, the other nominees for Scotland’s Greatest Ever Guitarist are Berth Jansch, Angus Young, Stuart Adamson and Robbo Robertson. Voting closes at midnight on Tuesday. You can also vote now in the poll over there → or on the front page.

Mogwai’s film ‘Burning’ is directed by Nathanaël Le Scouarnec and Vincent Moon who is responsible for some of the most intimate and exciting music videos of the last few years. The film premieres at the Copenhagen Documentary Festival on the 13th of November. The DVD will be released together with Mogwai’s first live album recorded at the same Brooklyn concerts entitled ‘Special Moves’ on Rock Action Records. Full details of the film premiere and Stuart’s DJ set are here. Our interview follows:

Dear Scotland: Where are you now and what did you do last night?
Stuart Braithwaite: I’m in my house now and last night I was travelling back from a day of meetings in London.

DS: Paul McCartney said he got into music to avoid a job – and get lots of girls. What made you get into music?
Stuart Braithwaite: I’ve always been into music. It wasn’t really a decision I made though I think I can sympathize with the avoiding a real job sentiment.

DS: What is your favourite song of yours to play right now?
Stuart Braithwaite: None particularly as we’ve just finished touring. I do enjoy playing Batcat though now that I’ve learnt the notes.

Mogwai – Batcat Live at T in the Park 2009


DS: This year you’ve been in Europe, North America, Japan, China and Australia so is there one city or venue in the World that you most looking forward to playing?
Stuart Braithwaite: I think that shows in New York are always very special.

DS: Do you feel more Scottish when you are abroad, or do you adapt well to new places? Anything you miss about Scotland?
Stuart Braithwaite: I think, like most Scottish people, I get a bit more Scottish when I’m in England for some reason. And I do miss a lot of things about Scotland when I’m away like football, food and the countryside.

DS: What will be your first record you’ll play at your DJ set in Copenhagen?
Stuart Braithwaite: Probably a long one like Halleluwa by Can.

Can – Halleluw


DS: How do people react when they discover you are Scottish?
Stuart Braithwaite: I think that most people know we’re Scottish surely?

DS: Are there any Scottish musicians, past or present, that have influenced you?
Stuart Braithwaite: Tons. The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Corries, The Pastels, Arab Strap and The Yummy Fur to name a handful.

The Yummy Fur


DS: What should the Scottish national anthem be? (We Were Promised Jetpacks suggested Mogwai’s ‘Fear Satan’).
Stuart Braithwaite: Thats very nice of them! I would say that Flower Of Scotland or Scots Wa Hae are both good choices. Anything but God Save the Queen!!

DS: What is the best after-show experience you’ve had?
Stuart Braithwaite: A few times after we’ve played we’ve been able to go and see other gigs by bands we like. One time I saw The Country Teasers in Chicago and another time I saw Ghost in Michigan. Both were amazing.

The Country Teasers


DS: Many many years from now, when you finish your farewell world tour, is there one place to where you would like to retire?
Stuart Braithwaite: Probably the Isle of Lewis.

DS: One last question, we’re also doing a series now on Scotland’s Greatest Ever Guitarist and, well, you’ve been mentioned a few times. Who would you vote for?
Stuart Braithwaite: Chris Mack aka James Orr Complex.


In addition to the live concert film, Vincent Moon and Teresa Eggers have produced a short film called ‘Adelia, I Want to Love’, billed as ‘A 90-year-old’s first encounter with post rock’. The trailer is below:

Two stories in one. One of them is about 90-year-old Adelie, who has never been to a real concert. The other is about the frontman of the band Mogwai, who has played in quite a few concerts. We follow the Scottish guitarist and singer Stuart Braithwaite to Italy, where the band is meant to play a festival gig.

Braithwaite reflects upon the DIY ethic that has shaped his life as a Glasgow musician – and upon having to talk about it. The underlying story behind the band’s latest album ‘The Hawk is Howling’ is quite simple and not really that exciting, according to him: “5 people who like each other get together to make 10 good songs.”

Mogwai’s post-rock and instrumental processes are consistently allowed to guide the film, and the images consist of warm, colourful visuals from Italy. At the same time, Adelie is getting ready. Her grandchild is the festival’s main organiser and he has invited Adelie to attend a real live concert. A small, double-sided portrait that sinks right in, and yet another un-canonised film by Vincent Moon.


Photo credit : Chloé Le Drezen //