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Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite: ‘Bands like us don’t normally get to number one’

After hitting the number one spot in the UK charts with their new album As The Love Continues, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite revealed his rollercoaster week
Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite with his dog Prince

Mogwai frontman Stuart Braithwaite has told The Big Issue the band are “excited and emotional” after hitting the top of the charts for the first time in their 25-year history.

“It’s been so nerve-racking,” he said, speaking via video call just after he’d heard the good news. “The only thing I can compare it to is, like, a penalty shootout, when it’s the most stressful five minutes of all time – it’s been like that, but half a week. I’ve had no sleep.”

The Scottish band’s new album As The Love Continues was confirmed as the UK’s most popular record on Friday February 26, after a nail-biting week which saw famous fans including Elijah Wood, Tim Burgess and The Cure’s Robert Smith support Mogwai’s bid for the top.

“My wife was really psyched when Robert Smith tweeted,” Braithwaite added. “A lot of it [the tweets] was people we know, and bands who’ve toured with us, and that’s great because they didn’t have to do that. But a lot of it was people we don’t know. I mean I’ve never met Elijah Wood!

“That kind of support definitely helped. Maybe some people checked out our record that wouldn’t have.”

On February 24, it looked as though UK rapper Ghetts might catch the Glasgow-based post-rockers as he took the number two slot and closed in on their lead. Ghetts even took to the streets of London in a tank to promote his album Conflict Of Interest, but it was not ultimately enough to unseat Mogwai.

Ghetts tweeted his congratulations to Mogwai when the charts were announced, saying: “Big congrats to @mogwaiband 25 years in a game where longevity isn’t easily achieved. Salute.”

As the chart race hotted up, Mogwai fans gathered under the #Mogwai4Number1 banner to share their purchases and encourage more people to get involved.

“Haven’t been interested in chart positions for albums for over 3 decades but would really like to see As The Love Continues get the number one. So feel like a teenager again waiting for the charts,” tweeted Higgs.

“I am on tenterhooks waiting,” said fellow Twitter-user Ian Carter.

“I just want to say a huge thank you [to our fans] for everything they’ve done,” said Braithwaite. “Not just in the last week but the whole time this band has been going. I want to thank them for making the last week absolutely incredible.”

Though they have a passionate following, Mogwai’s brand of epic guitar-based music, featuring heavy use of distortion and effects, has not previously seen them conquer the charts.

“Bands like us don’t normally ever get to number one,” said Braithwaite.

Previously, their highest chart position was with 2017 album Every Country’s Sun, which reached number six.

Braithwaite said that the band would be celebrating on Friday night with the classic of lockdown celebration – a takeaway curry and a Zoom party.

“We’ll definitely go to the pub for a delayed party when this is all over,” he said. “We’ll probably do one every year on the anniversary.”

Read the full interview and watch our video with Stuart Braithwaite exclusively here.