Mogwai have shared the cinematic video for their new single ‘Ritchie Sacramento’. See it first on NME below, along with our interview with frontman Stuart Braithwaite.
The track’s video was created within the Unreal Games Engine by director Sam Wiehl, who has previously collaborated with Ladytron, Forest Swords and the Valentino fashion house, and “created a whole first person multi level computer game for the song, which then formed the animations and narratives for the video”.
The track is one of the rarer Mogwai songs to feature vocals, with Braithwaite describing it as “the only conventional pop song on the record”.
“I was inspired by a story that Bob Nastanovich put online on the anniversary of the death of Dave Berman from Silver Jews,” Braithwaite told NME. “When they were students, Dave threw a shovel at a sports car. That’s the first line of the song: ‘Rise crystal spear’.”
Berman died in 2019, leading Braithwaite to pen this song dedicated to all the musician friends that they’ve lost over the years.
“Obviously Dave was an amazing poet, songwriter and musician. I took the lead from there. I wouldn’t pretend to be able to write songs as good as him, but he’s definitely a huge inspiration.”
Braithwaite continued: “It’s been a hard few years. There are a lot of people that we played with and were friends with that just aren’t around now. This songs is about those people, imagined conversations… and Dave Berman throwing a shovel at a sports car!”
New album ‘As The Love Continues’ was made with producer Dave Fridmann working remotely due to coronavirus preventing the band from working in America. Despite world events, Braithwaite explained how “positive” the album is, and couldn’t be further from sounding like a “pandemic record”.
“The memories of the pandemic will always be coupled with the memories of making this record,” he said. “Making the album was the happiest I’ve been during the pandemic. We had to find a way through it. We were meant to be travelling to America to record in person with Dave Fridmann, and we ended up doing it via Zoom in a studio in Worcestershire. It was great, and I’m not complaining about any of it – we made the best of a weird situation.”
“I love recording and it’s nice to hang out with the boys and make music, but it felt like a much bigger deal than it normally would have. We were extremely grateful for the experience and I hope we made the most of it. I think it’s quite a warm record, and that might have come from writing the music while we were stuck inside during a plague. It has a lot of positivity to it, which some of our records in the past haven’t so much.”
While known for his outspoken manner on social media, Braithwaite told NME how he “probably gets all of that out of my system on Twitter” and keeps it very separate from the music.
“I think the music is probably for people to get away from that kind of crap,” he said. “I don’t want any cut-ups of Nigel Farage speeches to bum everyone out. Living under perpetual Tory rule is less appealing than it ever has been throughout my lifetime. It’s particularly grim at the moment.”
The announcement of their album also attracted attention for the typically unusual but genius Mogwai song titles, including ‘To The Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth’, ‘Ceiling Granny’ and ‘It’s What I Want To Do, Mum’.
“Our friend Ben Power from Blanck Mass and Fuck Buttons talks a lot in his sleep, and has recently started recording himself – that’s where ‘The The Bin My Friend, Tonight We Vacate Earth’ came from,” said Braithwaite. “We were very taken by that. The other week he did one where he was talking about Ian Brady The Musical and Shipman On Ice. Our song titles usually come from things people say, misunderstandings or just nonsense.”
Asked about his favourite title on the new album, Braithwaite replied: “I quite like ‘Here We, Here We, Here We Go Forever’ – which is just something our guitar tech Gavin says. That’s a good memory. There’s a lot of weird and personal nostalgia to a lot of it.”
Check back at NME soon for more of our interview with Braithwaite.
Mogwai release ‘As The Love Continues’ on February 19.
A livestream performance filmed at Glasgow’s Tramway will air on Saturday February 13 at 8pm GMT, as fans’ “first opportunity to hear our new album in full”.