Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden formed MGMT in college, never really figuring it would go anywhere. Imagine their surprise when the group, which tours with a full band, got a massive amount of attention for their debut Oracular Spectacular— and even had a song on Gossip Girl. Goldwasser discusses the bands never-ending tour schedule, plans for the next record, and what it’s like to be the subject of gossip in the music scene.
Are you guys getting sick of touring so much?
Maybe a little bit. Not so much sick of touring, but of touring, playing the same songs and not getting much of a break. We really love playing shows for people, I think we’re just pretty anxious to write some new material for people and restructure our live show and do some new things.
Have you started writing new songs?
Not really. We’ve started getting some ideas. We’re going to take a big break at the beginning of next year and not play any shows for a while and really concentrate on writing and recording.
When does that mean the next record might come out?
I would say probably next summer, but we’re not sure yet. It’s been such a long time since we finished recording this album that it feels like a long way off. We’re definitely ready to take a break.
How do you ensure that you aren’t just going through the motions when you play so often?
We try to change the songs around when we play them live. We try to be a little irreverent towards our own music and not try to stay completely faithful to the album.
Do fans respond positively when you change the songs live?
I don’t know. I think people who want to have a good time will enjoy themselves and people who want to poke holes will find something to criticize. I don’t think we worry too much about that.
What’s the motivation for playing ‘Kids’ with a backing track instead of the band when you do it live?
We used to play all our songs like that. We were sort of worried that it would become like this thing where people expect us to do things one way or another. You know, they hear about it happening at one show and expect to see it at the next show. But we don’t want it to be a gimmick. We have honestly tried to play the song with the live band and it hasn’t worked out so far. It was written as a very electronic song and by nature of the song it’s hard to translate to a live rock band.
Do you think you will think more about how a song will come across live when you start making your next record?
I think we’re actually going to make the record with the band. That’s our plan right now. We’re talking about trying to get a house up in the country somewhere and just getting away for a while and concentrate on writing. I think we want to continue more of a live band feel. I think we’re already getting away from the electronic sound on this album. I think we have more of a band feel and want to go even more in that direction.