Mogwai is a Glaswegian ensemble that creates intricate, throbbing headphone-friendly instrumentals. Their debut album, Mogwai Young Team, released in 1997 on Chemikal Underground and Jetset in the U.S., is considered a post-rock masterpiece that helped open the door to other instrumental-heavy art-rock projects. It was followed in ’99 by Come On Die Young, their first release on indie stalwart Matador Records that led up to their commercial breakthrough, 2001’s Rock Action.
The band’s latest, Every Country’s Sun (Temporary Residence, 2017), holds tight to the formula that has made them indie-rock icons — songs that start with a quiet guitar melody, keyboard or soothing percussion line that slowly build-build-builds as if climbing a mountain until they reach some sort of breathless peak — usually at ear-bleeding wake-the-neighbors decibels — to slowly come back down in wait for the next mountain to conquer.
It’s a formula that’s worked for 20 years, along with a live show augmented with intense stage lighting, blinding strobes and unmatched sonic drama. Find out for yourself Thursday night at The Waiting Room. I caught up with Mogwai multi-instrumentalist Barry Burns and asked him to take the dreaded Ten Questions survey.
1. What is your favorite album?
Barry Burns: Eek. It’s always changing and very often, too, so I’d be lying to name one.
2. What is your least favorite song?
This is much, much easier. That Maroon 5 song “This Love.”
3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?
The concerts and hanging out with some of the funniest people I’ve ever met.
4. What do you hate about being in a band?
Traveling on planes and being away from my wife and daughter.
5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?
Probably scotch whisky. It’s rarely a disappointment
6. In what city or town do you love to perform?
Glasgow, Tokyo, Osama, Barcelona.
7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?
Oslo. All the gear, like, ALL of it stopped working and I remember trying to hide behind the piano (which was also broken)
8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?
Yes, we’ve been lucky in some ways but also worked constantly the entire time we’ve been together.
9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?
I’d like a go at proper cooking. Having a lot of time at home for long spells gives me time to practice that so I’m getting better. I’d probably hate being a taxi driver.
10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?
Only that a guy who used to tour manage and do our live sound used to live in Omaha and he stole 10,000 dollars from us.
Mogwai plays with Xander Harris Nov. 30 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.. Tickets are $23 Adv./$26 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.