On February 14th Mogwai release their seventh LP, the brilliantly titled 'Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will', through the band's own label Rock Action in Europe, and Sub Pop in the US. Following the glowing reception of last years' live album 'Special Moves' - widely regarded as a solid testament to the raw power of their live performances - the band's return to the studio has created one of their most ambitious and accessible records to date. After 15 years of critically acclaimed releases and a quasi-religious fandom, Mogwai could have easily rested on their laurels for the foreseeable future.
'Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will' however is grounded somewhere between tradition and re-invention, as they carry on the essence of their sweeping post-rock soundscapes with a decidedly more experimental feel. Even the video for lead single 'Rano Pano' is a freakish delight that will surprise even the most seasoned fan.
Dazed Digital: Are studio albums fully representative of what you do, or are they more a taster of what people can expect from a live performance?
Mogwai: We see them very separately to be honest. Concerts are an immediate and reciprocal event, whereas studio recordings are something permanent and much more considered. I prefer playing live to be honest, as I'm quite impatient and like the instantaneousness of playing on stage.
DD: How do you feel that your sound has evolved over the years?
Mogwai: I think we have changed, albeit gradually. Barry joining after our first album and writing more music on piano and keyboard definitely had a big difference on our music. We are quite prone to letting new equipment direct us musically, which I think can only be a good thing... unless one of us buys a kazoo!
DD: Your work for film soundtracks has been critically well received. Do you have plans to work on films again?
Mogwai: We composed the music for Douglas Gordon and Phillipe Peron's Zidane film and we played on Clint Mansell's score for The Fountain. We would definitely like to do more though. Scheduling and trusting film supervisors seem to be a hindrance though.
DD: You've said in the past that your song titles are just stand-alone titles made up for fun. Do you ever get mega-fans dissecting your music and titles?
Mogwai: That used to happen a lot until we became quite open about the random and non-serious nature of the way we title songs. We have heard a few belters in the past though, which had us biting our lips to stop laughing at.
DD: The video for your single 'Rano Pano' is very imaginative. Where did you get the ideas from and how did it all come together?
Mogwai: Our friend Tom had the idea and we thought it was so demented that we just let him get on with it. Part of his plan was to get two girls in their underwear and Star Wars helmets. He only managed to get one to get her trousers off though!
DD: Stuart, you recently posted on Twitter that the band turned down a request from Nick Clegg to appear at a function at the House of Lords. Tell us about it and why you declined.
Mogwai: Before the election the whole band were invited down to a Lib Dem arts function at the House Of Lords. I'm so glad we didn't go after the horror show that their government has been so far, though the reason we didn't go was that Martin had a hospital appointment, and he was the only other person other than me willing to go. I quite fancied meeting Brian Eno and seeing what the House Of Lords looked like inside. As I said though, I'm glad I didn't.
DD: The album name is great. Does it lean towards the idea of music being captured in the intensity of the moment, and able to stand alone in time?
Mogwai: I think so. I think all good music captures something of the time it was recorded in. I'm always blissfully unaware of the zeitgeist, but I always enjoy looking back at music I like and that we have made, and thinking about what effect the time it was made had on it.
DD: What can we expect from Mogwai in 2011, and once the album is released?
Mogwai: We are playing a shitload of concerts and have plans for an EP of four new songs and a remix album before the year is out.