SCOTTISH POST-ROCKERS Mogwai are set to give local fans a taste of their visceral brand of cosmic rock first hand. The band's roots can be traced to 1995, when Stuart Braithwaite (guitar, keyboards), Dominic Aitchison (bass) and Martin Bulloch (drums) began playing gigs around their home town of Glasgow. A second guitarist and piano player, John Cummings, soon joined them, and by 1998 the group had also recruited flute, guitar and keyboard player Barry Burns. 'I think Stuart got the name [for the band] from the 1980s film Gremlins,' says Bulloch. 'I learned afterwards from friends who were born in Hong Kong that the name has a more sinister meaning in Cantonese [devil]. One of my friends wrote the word for me in Chinese and I had the 'gwai' part tattooed on my arm.' Taking inspiration from Slint, God Machine and My Bloody Valentine - 'we liked the way they used noise with melody,' says Bulloch - the band quickly established their own sound, which has gone on to define a genre. Mogwai's trademark is a glowering, volatile instrumental rock with a slowly unravelling dynamic. Mesmeric, expansive arrangements simmer and build, reaching seemingly impossible climaxes. On recent albums the group have included vocal elements in their traditionally instrumental compositions. 'I'd say we focus on melody rather than words,' says Bulloch. 'Although if we write a song where we think lyrics or a voice would be beneficial then we will add them in.' The results are records that manage to combine might with unusual subtlety. Their debut - 1997's Mogwai Young Team LP - seemed out of synch with the trends of the time, the antithesis to a musical context that typically looked no further than the pub-crunching rockability of Oasis or mod-obsessed mannerisms of Blur. Here was a band that would channel the discontent and ambition seething in all the musicians who felt disenfranchised by the Britpop hegemony. Printing 'Blur and Shite' T-shirts, Mogwai made no secret of their disenchantment with the mainstream. 'The Blur T-shirts were initially done to amuse ourselves, and it's true that at that time we didn't think very much of them,' he says. Never shying from expressing their opinions, Mogwai have produced other shirts about recent political events. They've done ones abusing George Bush and Tony Blair in response to the invasion of Iraq. 'We made very few of them because we didn't want to be seen as cashing in on a horrendous situation,' Bulloch says. 'Whether we were right to do it, I can't say, but it was something we felt strongly about.' Working producers such as Dave Fridmann and Steve Albini, the band have released four albums plus a remix album and two singles collections, and managed to retain their independent status throughout. After a period signed to Chemikal Underground, Mogwai are back on their own Rock Action label, where it all began. 'Rock Action was initially formed to release our very first seven-inch single,' Bulloch says. 'When Mogwai started to become more successful, we thought it would be a good idea to resurrect it, as there were a few bands whose records we really wanted to release.' The band mock the 'post-rock' description of the movement many say they triggered and which includes God Speed You Black Emperor, Slint and Tortoise. 'Post-rock is a beer after the show,' says Bulloch, with a laugh. 'It's a term coined by lazy journalists who can't be bothered to describe the music. I really don't see what a band like Tortoise have in common with us, apart from the fact there are very few vocals.' However, the band say they feel a kinship with the Glaswegian scene that spawned them. 'In Glasgow, there are some really good promoters who nurture good musical talent and good record labels who try to introduce the up and coming bands,' Bulloch says. 'Alex [Kapranos], who is the singer in Franz Ferdinand, is the man who gave Mogwai our first gig. He was also responsible for giving bands like Arab Strap, The Delgados and Bis the opportunity to play live. It's great to see him do so well. If it wasn't for him and [the venue] the 13th Note, I don't know if we'd have gained the recognition we did.' Bulloch says he never ceases to be amazed by his fans' passion - especially those so far removed from Glasgow. 'We find the crowds in Asia to be pretty special, so I'm looking forward to a fantastic evening,' he says. 'It's quite humbling when you travel so far from home and meet people who enjoy and are affected by our music.' Mogwai, Sun, 8pm, HITEC, Kowloon Bay, $420. HK Ticketing.