ACL Interviews: MGMT
ATH: You guys seem like you’ve been doing a lot of festivals. Do you have a preference for festivals or shows in clubs?
MGMT: I prefer club shows personally. Especially when we’re doing our own show and it feels great getting in front of a crowd that you know is mainly there to see your band. At festivals, people are just sort of wandering by, which can be cool too because they’ll stop and check you out but it’s not like a club. Also, sound wise, festivals work better for bands that have simpler sounds and simpler set ups. We have a lot going on so we benefit from a full sound check. We’ve been having a lot of fun at festivals though. We started out this year playing at Coachella and that was one of the first big shows we’d ever played and a lot of people were already hyping us up to be the thing to check out at festivals. We got on stage there and we were so nervous and it was really crazy.
ATH: You seem like you’ve gotten big and gained a lot of fans rather quickly. Why do you think that is and what’s it like blowing up so fast?
MGMT: I don’t think we feel entitled to it or we put in the effort to begin with. I think there are a lot of people that deserve it more than we do and we’re lucky to be getting this attention. Hopefully it’s for the right reason and people actually like our music and not just the hype around it. We just want to be appreciated for the music we make and hopefully that’s the case.
ATH: Your sound seems to mix a lot of different things from a lot of different places. Try giving me a few adjectives that describe your sound.
MGMT: Swirling, cerebrial, funky, detached, electro and whimsical. I think we get whimsical a lot even though I personally don’t think that describes us.
ATH: What are some new bands you’re currently into or some old bands that are heavy on the playlist right now?
MGMT: The new RTX album that isn’t out yet. We played a show with them in LA and got an advance copy of their album and it’s so ahead of everything else right now that no one’s gonna understand it. I also still listen to Television Personalities a lot. They are probably one of the best bands in history and no one knows it. We played a couple of shows with them in England and their guitar player actually used to be a street musician in Austin.
ATH: How about some bands at ACL that you want to check out?
MGMT: We’re playing at the same time as Spiritualized which happens at every festival pretty much. David Byrne is also one of those performers that makes you feel good about yourself and it’s not all about him. I know they’re are a ton of bands playing but I haven’t really looked at a list recently other than those two.
ATH: You guys opened for Radiohead in England. What was that like?
MGMT: Very memorable, I was so happy. Cricket Stadium holds like 45,000 people so it was crazy. We thought it was some sort of big prank before we met them. We were picturing this episode of South Park with this kid who is the big bully and his favorite band is Radiohead and they all just tell him he’s a wuss. It was a really great experience though. They are all just really nice guys and I think we did a pretty good job. It is a pretty crazy crowd that they have though cause they can do all sorts of crazy experimental stuff and still sell millions of records. They have a very loyal fan base and hopefully someday we will too.
ATH: You have an album in the works. What’s it going to sound like?
MGMT: It’s going to be one of the best albums ever recorded. It will be criminally underrated and under appreciated. It’s just going to be more of the same though going in all directions at once. I think we are maybe looking for a next summer release on that.
ATH: Do you have any pressure to follow up the popularity of Oracular Spectacular?
MGMT: Probably so, but we don’t pay no mind. I think we have a good idea of the direction we want to go in but I don’t think that writing another single is something that we are really concerned with right now. I think, if anything, people will criticize it for not having as catchy of songs on it but who knows. We are talking about something that doesn’t exist so who knows really. I don’t think we’ll try to be super experimental or anything but maybe just take more of a natural approach with it. On this album, we were trying to see how far we could stretch ourselves and pack as many things into 40 minutes as possible. I think this time around, we’ll be more confident in the music that we make so it will be a lot more natural. Not too crazy.
ATH: We’re asking all of our ACL bands, but are you voting in ’08? If so, who for?
MGMT: I think it’s very important that people vote this year. It’s more important that people think about who they’re voting for than listen to what a band thinks because most bands don’t really know what they’re talking about.
Thanks again to the boys in MGMT for meeting up with us. Hope the new album turns out like you want it.