Brothertiger on Mogwai

MacEagon Voyce
August 18, 2020

This piece is part of the Algorhythms project: artists telling stories about music they discovered from humans. Because where we discover music is an important part of its impact, and not all music is discovered through an algorithm.

Brothertiger (credit: Alec Castillo)

Brothertiger is John Jagos, a purveyor of chillwave who borders on prolific. Since 2011, the now 30-year-old has released three original full-lengths, sundry EPs and singles, a Tears for Fears cover album, and a "collection of instrumentals improvised through livestreaming" called Fundamentals Vol. 1. Now he's just weeks away from his latest effort, a 10-track LP called Paradise Lost that sees him waxing poetic about a once-Elysian New York City.

"When I moved here, I thought of this place as a paradise for the arts," says the Ohio native and Brooklyn transplant. "New York City’s lost a lot of its glimmer when it comes to music. It’s a lot harder to make music here now, with the shutting down of DIY venues and rent increases that make it harder for artists to cultivate something. A lot of this album is about my frustrations about possibly leaving the city, as well as my yearning to escape somewhere else — if not for a brief period of time, then maybe permanently.”

The pandemic has undoubtedly compounded these sentiments — at least it has for me, speaking as a fellow Brooklyn transplant. For those exploring similar mindsets, and for those who simply enjoy great chillwave during the dog days of summer: don't miss Paradise Lost.

For his Algorhythm, John remembers a high school friend who brought him to a show in Detroit that was to be his "principal inspiration" for becoming a musician...

Around 2005, my freshman year of high school, most of the music I listened to fell into the "classic rock" category. I wasn't very big on much modern music at that time, but my friend group was becoming much more "musically diverse," and so I was starting to hear some modern music through that. P2P file sharing was still pretty common at the time, so my friends and I were hounding down any new music we could find via Kazaa and Limewire.

Sometime during my sophomore year, I remember my friend Michael came up and asked some friends and I if we wanted to go to a concert up in Detroit the next evening (I'm from Toledo, OH, about an hour south of Detroit). It was this Scottish band called Mogwai, and apparently they were in line with the kind of music we were listening to at the time. To this day, I don't know how Michael found out about Mogwai or the concert in Detroit, but for some reason, we all decided to go.

My friend's mom drove us up there (how cool were we?) and dropped us off at St. Andrews Hall. Keep in mind, the last concert I had been to had been a Boston concert or something, so this was an entirely different world already. Everyone was young like us, the merch was cool, etc. The band Torche opened, and at first we thought they were Mogwai, because none of us had heard this band prior to coming up to this show. But after a few songs, the singer said, "y'all excited for Mogwai?" and I felt reassured. By the way, I have nothing against Torche. My expectations were just all over the place at 15.

Mogwai came on, and this Scottish Lion Rampant flag was hanging above the stage. I thought it was so cool! They were on a tour supporting the release of their album Mr. Beast, so they were playing a lot of those songs. I remember they played "Acid Food" and I started to cry because it was so beautiful. I had never heard music like that. They played a lot of songs from Happy Songs for Happy People, which is now my favorite record of theirs. I was completely mesmerized the entire time. I was watching every guy in the band and what they were doing, studying them through every song. I went home from that concert a changed teenager. That concert was the principal inspiration for me to start making my own music.

Paradise Lost is out September 11 on Satanic Panic — while you wait, give the rest of his discography a spin, and listen to our full Algorhythms playlist here.

Want to share the songs that left you a changed teenager? Grey Matter is a community platform with new ways to discover music, express yourself, and support creators. Learn more and join the community here.

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