Take it to the MGMT
No vowels needed here. You've heard about them on the blogs and you know you're supposed to like them. Dejour talks to Ben Goldwasser of MGMT about being on the tour, fashion people and being Googled. Plus: Win a signed copy of MGMT's Oracular Spectucular on Vinyl!
by KYLE MORRISON
Hey Ben. How’s it going?
Good, Good. Just on the road, in Birmingham on the way to our next venue.
How’s that, being in the UK touring there? I guess you have a pretty big fan base there, right?
Yeah. It’s really blown up. A lot more people have heard of us than we have expected.
More than the States?
Yeah. More people are discovering us through regional radio and BBC radio. They’ve been playing our singles a lot, so I guess a lot of people stumble across it. It’s pretty cool
Are you guys touring with anyone now?
We're with this band called the Virginia Passages on Fire Records. They’re kind of spacey fuzzed out stuff.
How was touring with Of Montreal?
We’ve been out with them a few times, and we did a week long tour with The Fiery Furnaces.
Any good tales from the road?
I don’t know. They might be too incriminating. (Laughs.) It’s mostly monotonous, riding around in the van for most of the day. We haven’t been going too crazy, although last night was pretty fun.
Why did you guys change your name from The Management to MGMT? Are vowels becoming obsolete?
Well actually another band was using The Management so we had to change it. We kind of like MGMT. We like how it takes longer to say.
It’s easier to find in Google too.
Yeah. It used to be impossible. I guess it’s getting easy
When you type in The Management everything comes up.
MGMT actually works?
On top of all the music press you're getting, you seem to be getting a lot of press from cultural and fashion outlets. Is style/image a big aspect for you?
Not really. It’s kind of weird that style people are picking up on it because we don’t have a structural style, at least in our minds, but its cool. We like it. We’re not sure why, but that’s OK.
Tell me about the Electric Feel video.
A friend of ours, Jordan Fish came up with the idea for the interactive element. He’s one of those guys who can come up with a really simple concept and take it really far. He did a great job on it.
You guys seem to have gone through a few musical phases before settling down. What was that process like? Was it a natural progression or did you feel like there was a certain sound you were looking for?
We started out doing the electronic pop, more straight forward pop stuff and I guess part of what’s changed is that we’ve had time to work on music. We’ve never really taken the band that seriously and put that much effort into it before so that has something to do with it. We’ve been focusing more on songwriting and playing more rock, like the stuff we listen to.
You’re getting a lot of press as being a buzz band. Are you worried about being just a band of the month? What do you guys do to stay relevant and have staying power?
I don’t think were necessarily going to stay relevant. We're just going to keep doing what were doing. It's nice to be getting attention now, but if it stops we're not too worried. We don’t ever want to start making decisions based on trying to become more popular. When bands buy into the hype is when they start to suck. We're not going to change how we do anything. I think our next album is going to be pretty different though musically. We’re just going to feel it out naturally.
If you weren’t playing music now what would you be doing?
Probably be working some really crappy job somewhere and trying to go back to school.
Do you guys identify yourselves as a New York band?
It's kind of funny because we never thought of it that way and we started out in Connecticut. We’re not from Brooklyn originally so it's kind of strange to be called a Brooklyn band or representative of the Brooklyn scene. When we're over here we kind of feel like a Brooklyn band because the location ties us all together and that’s where we practice and all that, so at this point its starting to feel that way. We kind of feel like outsiders to the Brooklyn scene though, because we just moved there pretty recently.
The music scene is pretty thriving in Brooklyn now. What do you think of the music scene there?
There’s some good stuff. They’re definitely pushing the limits of conventional song writing with these weird pop songs. I think there’s tons of good stuff, but I’m not really into straight forward dance-electro so much, so it’s nice to hear other stuff.
What are some of your favorite local bands?
Our friends are in this band called Chairlift. They’re really cool, so I hope some more people get into them. They just finished and album. I haven’t heard it yet but it should be amazing. We went on tour with Mayfair – they’re really good too. I like their music a lot.
Do you guys take inspiration from places other than music?
Yeah. A lot of kind of weird internet conspiracy theory kind of stuff, All sorts of Weird movies. Andrew watches more movies then I do. We really got into this movie, The Holy Mountain. The director for the Time To Pretend video quoted a scene from it in the video.
What are you listing to on tour?
Last night we were listening to this band, The Jacobites. It’s the really junked out, drugged out music but it’s kind of amazing. I like it a lot.
Favorite song on the road?
Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne by The Suicides
What’s doing it for you these days?
Pretty much all we do now is tour, so I’ve been trying to get settled into some sort of life on the road. It’s starting to feel more natural and I’m starting to enjoy touring now and it's not completely crazy like when we started out.
Check out MGMT online at www.whoismgmt.com.