Psychedelic MGMT

<em>Time Out </em>talks to Andrew VanWyngarden about the events of the year gone and MGMT's plans for 2009.

How did you and your bandmate, Ben, meet?
We were freshmen at school – sorry, university. It was nothing too crazy at first; we just had lunch together in the cafeteria one day. We realised we were into the same music – lots of classic rock and psychedelic stuff from the ’60s that our parents had brought us up on. After spending a while just listening to music, we eventually started playing with a few instruments and putting tracks down on our laptops.

Where did you get the name ‘MGMT’ from?
We used to be called The Management, which is just how Ben and I used to sign off emails to each other, as if we were a big corporate organisation. But then, when we came to put out our first EP, we were told there was already a band called The Management, so our management told us we had to change.

What’s 2008 been like for the band?
I haven’t had a moment to think and really grasp how crazy it’s been. Let me think [pauses]. OK, a year ago we were a really shaky, rough band playing small places in Brooklyn. And two days ago we played a sold out Hollywood Bowl in LA with Beck. So the jump has been kinda ridiculous.

What have you learned from the past year’s experiences?
To be careful what I say in interviews.

Have any of the lyrics from your track ‘Time To Pretend’ come true yet? Have you married any models or bought any islands for example?
Not yet, but we so miss our family and friends on tour. And we do have that feeling of not being in control of our lives at all, so yeah, some of it has come true.

We heard a rumour that The Chemical Brothers are producing your next album.
That was just a rumour – we’re producing it ourselves. We’ve got lots of ideas and we’re very excited but we haven’t had time to record anything yet. We’re back in the studio in January. There was a thought that we might produce two discs – one pop, one psychedelic. But we’ll see.

Now Andrew, what’s with the Joseph And His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat chic?
You know what? We’re just jeans and T-shirts dudes normally, but in our first video [‘Time To Pretend’] we went for this post-apocalyptic tribal psychedelic look and, because it was the first time a lot of people had seen us, they thought that was our vibe. But hey, I’m keen to get more out-there now that we can get some cool stuff.

If you were to make one apology, what would it be and to whom?
Hey man, that’s kind of a heavy question for first thing in the morning.

It’s 2.30pm.
Like I said…

Moving on, what was your nickname at school?
Mad Cat. Just a couple of people called me that though. Actually my alter ego is Edgar Books. He’s still developing but he’s a mystical dude, my vampire side. He’s a pretty dark fellow and I think he’s going to come out pretty soon.

What do you hate most in life?
I hate the little clicky sound that Blackberry phones make. Hate it! In fact I really, really hate any small poppy noises like that.

You must have a lot of rage then.
I’ve learned some self-control.

What’s the most ridiculous piece of gossip you’ve ever heard about yourself?
When I was in London I picked up The Sun and read that I had stolen Kirsten Dunst from Johnny Borrell [lead singer of Razorlight]. That was news to me. Every line was made up.

What’s your greatest extravagance?
Apart from our tour bus, which I feel very guilty about because of its gigantic carbon footprint? It has to be pants. I cannot stop buying pants.

Are we talking pants as in jeans or pants as in Y-fronts?
All pants. Hey, I don’t discriminate when it comes to pants.

How much richer are you than you were last year?
Five.

Five times richer?
No. Just five.

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