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Management Meeting

2008-07-15 07:54
Congregating in the city of Paris and playing support to Kings Of Leon, Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, the American duo behind MGMT are on a mission to plunder the world of pop with trip-happy tunes.

Watch MGMT video interview:
psychedelic broadband
dial-up by any other name

Having been a going concern since as early as 2002, it took a while to have their 2008 full length debut Ocular Spectacular realised. "We’d been playing around with the idea of starting a band, if only because we wanted to hear something better," Ben Goldwasser says. "It took a little longer than we thought to come up with something good enough to challenge day time radio."

With influences ranging from Spacemen 3, Hall & Oates and Royal Trux, MGMT’s take on these three has helped in creating a sound that's all 70's psychedelic mixed with just enough pop-soul to see it comfortably integrate into and elevate above the mainstream.

Since Oracular Spectacular was released earlier this year the two have been headlining shows across the US and, as with their shared stage with Kings of Leon, are taking up invites around the world. "It’s great to get to play with such big acts," Goldwasser acknowledges. "Most bands we meet and play with are amazingly down-to-earth too. No heirs and graces, just genuinely nice guys."

"It’s always a privilege to play with other bands, but we prefer headlining our own," Goldwasser laughs. "The US has been good to us. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I think it’s a combination of radio play and live shows that go beyond the typical."
Their written and recorded statement and debut disc is filled with what Goldwasser calls "unusual or unconventional pop structures," something the recreate live to tumultuous applause from all present. "We’ve come a long way from our earlier shows where we were running live off of a computer with a turntable plugged into some guitar pedals, a radio, and a tape player. It was all electronically generated at that point. We would write a new song for each show and our shows would be 15 minutes long." With "Time To Pretend" enjoying good airtime locally, Ben and Andrew’s aim in releasing the album was quite simply to "do something new and different," Goldwasser adds. "We’ve always wanted to make music we like first." The fact that more and more people are buying into Oracular Spectacular is a sure sign that MGMT is not alone in wanting to hear rock and pop reshaped and relevant.

Having been happy-go-lucky and hugely experimental got them their deal, but now that SONYBMG shares the risk of their ambitious beats, both players have had to rethink their work ethic a little. "Things did change quiet drastically the day we signed our record deal," Goldwasser admits. "We still enjoy total creative freedom though. If we were every made to compromise that, we may as well quit."

With more and more doors and airwaves opening up for MGMT every day, the duo is very aware of the space they continue to occupy more and more of. "It’s incredibly exciting," Goldwasser admits in closing. "It’s even a little overwhelming, but we’re having fun, enjoying the ride and hopefully elevating some music fans along the way."

With a hit single confirmation that Management is working, it’s now up to the rest of us to grow their market share.

- Jason Curtis

A more unlikely name you’re not likely to find in a hurry. MGMT or Management to those in the know are quickly redefining the reason for a meeting of the music kind.

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