My Life’s Playlist: Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite

Listen To The PlaylistFor many grizzled independent music vets like us, this is hard news to swallow: it’s been 20 years – 20! – since Glasgow’s mighty Mogwai emerged to blow our minds (and our ear drums).

Now celebrating the band’s two-decade anniversary with a string of shows across Europe, Stuart Braithwaite (pictured centre, above) has music on his mind.

So it’s an ideal time for The Independent Echo to sit down with one of its heroes and ask about his very own journey in sound.

Below, Stuart reveals the 15 tracks that changed his life – bundled into a handy playlist for your listening pleasure – and discusses five extra-special songs in detail.

Joy Division – No Love Lost (1978)

I think Joy Division were the first band I truly fell in love with.

They were so unassuming as people, yet their music was all-powerful.

I loved how they had locked themselves away with a view to creating something really special. It was definitely something that we tried to take on board when we started Mogwai.

This song is one of their earliest and showcases each band member perfectly. No one is fighting for position. Everything is done for the great good of the song. Wondrous.

Black Flag – Wasted (1978)

Like so much of the music I loved growing up, I first heard this song on a skateboard video.

I was blown away as I’d never heard anything like it. It’s so brief, powerful and incessant.

As a teenager, I’m sure I missed much of the nuance and thought that it was actually just about being wasted. Which, in reflection, is a bit of a waste.

Blind Willie Johnson – Dark was The Night, Cold Was The Ground

It was on John Peel’s radio show that I first heard the music of blues guitar player and singer Blind Willie Johnson.

I was immediately struck by how evocative his guitar playing was and by how sincere the songs were.

Dark Was The Night… doesn’t feature lyrics but tells its own story.

This song was sent on the Voyager probe sent into deep space.

I think if extra terrestrials hear this they will form a falsely high opinion of the human race.

Errors – Slow Rotor (2014)

Soon after starting Mogwai, we formed Rock Action Records to release our first seven inch single.

Over the years we’ve worked with a number of other groups – Errors are probably the band we’ve worked with the longest continuously.

Its been brilliant watching them develop over the years.

This is from their newest album (their fourth) Lease Of Life. It’s a fantastic record.

Kendrick Lemar – The Blacker The Berry (2014)

I’ve been interested in hip-hop since the 1990s and I’m constantly impressed by the reinvention that it undergoes.

Many other genres could do with taking a leaf out of that book.

Whilst many modern hip-hop fixates on shallow themes of boasting about wealth, this song tackles race and the murders of young black men by the police in America.

It’s a ferocious piece of work and one that I don’t feel will be bettered in 2015.