Way back when cult favourite, Kids was one of the freshest tracks blasting from any car, home, store and probably car wash to supermarket, MGMT met Sally A. Edwards and Sarah J. Edwards for a quick photoshoot. The conversation involved some priming to get their cheeky on for our hilarious interview.

 

The original story was first published in BLAG Vol. 2 Nø 10 print edition in 2008

Interview by Sally A. Edwards
Photography by Sarah J. Edwards

We meet MGMT the afternoon after one of their shows. Two words to describe the duo, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWynGarden immediately are: shy and cute.

They pose for Sarah as directed. Ben giggles. They swop places and Andrew giggles. It must be that particular spot. At the end of the shoot – which was done in record timing, Sarah tells them, “Sally’s writing your questions, so feel free to be as cheeky as you like.” They look at me and say, “Oh, we’re good at being cheeky. We like that.”

Please introduce yourselves, including your names, ages, occupations and tell us the first thing that comes to your head to describe your current moods.

“I am Andrew a.k.a. Edgar Books a.k.a. Debbie Awsumb. A pro-fessional musician, aged 25 years. Currently I feel like a lion seed adrift on the current, heading toward an island. Not floundering! Somewhere slightly below the surface.”

“I am Ben a.k.a. ‘band asshole’. I am a Sagittarius aged 25 years. My preoccupation is music, most of the time. I feel like going on a rad vacation.”

Ben, please tell us how you met Andrew. What your first impression was of him?
“I don’t remember meeting Andrew, but one or the other of us was probably in a tree when it happened. I thought he looked like a hippy.”

Andrew, please tell us your first impression of Ben and how – in a nutshell – you got to where you are today.
“I remember liking Ben’s black-framed glasses and that we were both wearing heavily worn Birkenstocks (Milano). We bonded over a shared love of outrageous alien synthesizer noises and we started making music that incorporated these and the feelings inherent in these sounds. This basically meant our first shows were very short, very noisy and involved a lot of flailing around on the ground.”

Please each choose your personal favourite track from the album and describe it. Tell us a little anecdote about the making of it too.

Andrew: “My Favorite track is probably Weekend Wars. I remember writing the chorus together and thinking the melody was really nice. The second verse was inspired musically by a Dennis Wilson song called Sound of Free.”

Ben: “My favorite track is Of Moons, Birds, and Monsters because the fast guitar freak-out section reminded me of the chase scene from Walt Disney’s Robin Hood.”

You call your music “future 70’s”. With the landscape of music and media changing so much these days, if you could take your band in a futuristic direction what would you do? And I’m not talking about the actual music, I’m talking about the presentation and marketing. Inspire us.

“Well, we want to take the band in a futuristic direction by looking to unique marketing strategies of the past. Ideally we would have only real-world, solid real-life types of promotion and steer clear of the internet and blogs. Things like riding down the street on horses to promote the new album, or putting remote speakers in hundreds of trees over the course of a few months and then, all at once, triggering our album on repeat at a very low volume so that it gets into people’s heads, you know like subliminal sounds.

“Also we really want to do a yacht tour where we have a large boat with a stage and a dance floor and all our gear set up, and we travel from port to port, inviting people on board to watch shows. Obviously we would have to get our sea legs first.”

If you could cover one song and perform it at one very special occasion. What would the song and the occasion be, and what special attributes would you bring to the performance? We know how you like your stage gear.

“I think we kind of missed it. I was thinking about performing Five Years on December 21st 2007, marking the five year countdown to 2012 craziness. This would have been performed at the base of the sphinx with David Bowie onstage playing a Fender acoustic bass, without a vocal mic.”

This leads us to touring. Describe your ideal crowd.
“We’ve often dreamt of making a music video where the audience is comprised entirely of dogs. The dogs aren’t dressed up in leather jackets and holey t-shirts, they’re just straight up dogs. But like a whole arena full, a dog in every seat.

“We would play a full set and release a live double DVD. What would happen? I bet they would request Kids.”

What hopes and expectations do you have for the shows and more festivals you’ll no doubt have coming up?
“Our hopes and expectations involve mostly boats and relaxation. We want to spend as much time writing music on boats as possible. We are excited about going to Norway and getting back to France. If anyone would like to take us around in their yacht and feed us fancy foods, please contact our manager, Dave.”

Your single, Time To Pretend features in the opening scenes of 21, which is a story of card counters. Have you, or would ever be involved in any cheeky antics that would show up the guys in the film? Explain.

“Nothing as complex and involved as card- counting schemes to cheat major Las vegas casinos. However, Ben and I are planning something absolutely massive that will put those MIT dudes to shame. We can’t unfortunately, explain any further.”

If you could write a score for a film, what would the film be about and who would star in it? What would the music you make for it sound like?

“I would like to write a film that comes off as a combination of The Holy Mountain and The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser starring Mickey Mouse and Johnny Depp. The music would be exactly like Johnny Greenwood’s score for There Will be Blood, except maybe bring out the synths in the chorus.”

Changing the subject. Choose one each: What would be an ideal day off for you?

Andrew: “Learning to surf on the beach in Mexico. Puppies everywhere. Some great hash. An enormous banquet table with beautiful food and drinks, and a jeep to drive up to the cliffs to watch the sunset and listen to Neil Young / make out with Cindy Crawford.”

Ben: “A day off.”

What would be your ideal night out?
Ben: “A night in. An immaculately prepared dinner, some decent wine and early to bed.”

Where do you see yourselves in five years? Please give us your immediate thoughts... We’re looking for an instinctive answer.
“In Castles.”