After formative years spent wolfing down magic mushrooms and LSD, fighting on stage with painted tree branches and playing their own off-kilter brand of electro-karaoke, MGMT are ready to unleash their debut album, ‘Oracular Spectacular’.
The Brooklyn twosome met in their first year at university in Connecticut, where they baffled audiences with their frankly mental on-stage antics. On their way to rehearsals for some dates with Fiery Furnaces, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew Vanwyngarden pull their car over to the side of the freeway and talk Clash though their unconventional baptism into the music industry. “We just started writing weird songs together,” laughs Andrew, guitar and vocals. “In fact, more just loops than songs, but we started performing them.”
The earlier tracks were just techno karaoke
“It wasn’t that serious, we were just getting drunk and doing weird shit like blowing up inflatable snowmen and having fights on stage with branches that we’d painted ourselves. It usually involved some kind of drugs – Ben was doing LSD and we were both doing mushrooms and smoking pot, so it was nothing too serious. The earlier tracks were just techno karaoke and that’s the music we started making together.”
But the release of their debut album, due early this year, marks a more accomplished sound than their early electro-noodling. It is populated with chiming guitars, staccato keyboards and heart-felt pop songs not a million miles away from Animal Collective, if they nicked some melodies from Mercury Rev and wrote about everything from getting loaded on cocaine and scoring models for wives, to gazing in awe at the majestic vastness of the universe.
“We talk about the album as a pop record,” says Andrew. “We both like choruses, but we like to make it subversive too and couple that with less traditional song structures, sounds and lyrics. We make pop music, but pop music that isn’t comfortable. But I think most of the well-known pop music from the Seventies and Eighties we’ve heard so many times that we think it’s ordinary, but if you listen to it, there are some strange structures and a lot of the songs have really odd things going on.”