‘The elitist snobbery is disappearing’ - Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite on the internet, music and kicking against Britpop at Norwich Sound and Vision

PUBLISHED: 19:26 13 October 2012

Mogwei's Stuart Braithwaite talking to John Robb on stage at Norwich Sound and Vision 2012.  Photo: Bill Smith

Mogwei's Stuart Braithwaite talking to John Robb on stage at Norwich Sound and Vision 2012. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2012

Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite believes the internet is helping to eradicate the “elitist snobbery” from music journalism, which prevented several talented bands gaining wider interest.

Norwich Sound and Vision’s (NSV) three days of conference events came to a close today, with a keynote interview exploring Braithwaite’s life, career and work with record label Rock Action,

The Scottish musician spoke about how his sister helped introduce him to punk records and his early love for Jesus and the Mary Chain, Joy Division and Bauhaus, among others.

But Braithwaite, in interview with journalist and singer John Robb, agreed it was a different era in the 1980s and 90s when some bands struggled to receive any attention and were almost “tippexed” out of history.

He said: “The UK music press, they really edit out what you should and shouldn’t like and that’s the good thing about everything being global now and with YouTube you can view everything and the elitist snobbery is disappearing.”

Braithwaite said he had been in a band with friends at school playing covers before Mogwai formed in 1995.

He said the members of the multi-instrumental band had been in other groups in Glasgow, and as these came to an end or other things happened, they came together for Mogwai.

Robb talked about the sense of cooperation that appeared to exist among the smaller bands in the city.

And Braithwaite said: “There’s always been two sides of Glasgow music. A very big mainstream thing like Wet, Wet, Wet and Deacon Blue.

“I think that’s kind of it’s own thing and they do great but there’s always been an underground scene, with the The Pastels, Teenage Fanclub, The Delgados. And that side of the city has always been quite cooperative and community based.”

The guitar player said back in this period there had always been very little interest in people reporting on music from Glasgow. But he agreed with Robb’s suggestion this sense of isolation helped bands to develop - rather than being subject to the hype of NME and Melody Maker and releasing songs after little chance to develop.

On why Mogwai formed, Braithwaite said: “It was really to have a band and have a go at it. We were getting to the age where we wanted to try and do something serious.

“The cultural climate at the time was based around Britpop and something we really didn’t feel part of. There were some good bands, such as Pulp, some good records but there was not anything we felt that was good to us.”

Braithwaite said he also found it strange bands of a similar sound and era of Nirvana in the early 1990s had just disappeared - with the music style of Britpop not continuing on from this period but looking back further in time.

He said: “This sea-change in music was just being swept aside so people could sound like The Beatles and The Kinks. We definitely felt that was something to kick against. Not to become a different kind of tribute band but continue something that had been happening in the years before.”

NSV ends tonight, with Liars and Tall Ships among the bands on the bill.

If you have any photos or films from NSV you would like to share in the Norwich Evening News’s online and newspaper coverage, email

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