Ben Goldwasser and Andrew Van Wyngarden have finally announced their new album. MGMT’s self-titled will be out on September 17th via Columbia Records. The upcoming album includes single « Alien Days« (which can be heard above), a cover of « Introspection », and two songs they’ve previously performed live: « Mystery Disease » and « Your life is a Lie ». MGMT answered to questions for CRASH magazine in 2008 on the occasion of their first success album « Oracular Spectacular ».
How do you feel about all the hype and success surrounding MGMT?
Ben: I don’t read any press or interviews or anything so I don’t really know. Reading them makes me feel really down on myself. Journalists often ask me how I feel about success, but I don’t really know… But we’re having a lot of fun, that’s the most important thing, right? We really enjoy touring. This summer’s been really good. We’ve been playing at these really good festivals, like Glastonbury. It was raining but it was good. Glastonbury was probably the highlight so far. It was crazy.
Andrew: We are healthier now than we were a month ago. We are getting used to it. We enjoy it so much.
Why did you move to New York?
Andrew: We met at school in Connecticut. When you are from the North East of the U.S, New York is the place people are most interested in gravitating towards when they want to do things involving arts. A lot of our friends moved there after we graduated and we followed them. Most of the people we were hanging out with did art or music.
Ben: Andrew moved to New York in 2005, I moved there at the end of 2006.
You were living in Brooklyn?
Andrew: Yes we love Brooklyn; there are so many different parts. I was really lucky because I got to housesit the house of friends of my family who had just retired and gone on vacation for a year. They have a really nice brownstone apartment, with two floors. I got to live there for really cheap in a nice neighborhood, so I kind of lucked out. It was in Carroll Gardens, in Brooklyn. It’s a really cool kind of old Italian neighborhood.
Ben: I was living in Park Slope but my favorite areas in Brooklyn are Redhook and Greenpoint.
Andrew: My favorite area is Ditmas Park. It’s really cool. It’s a weird, almost suburban-like Brooklyn but it’s quick to get to Manhattan from there. It has old Victorian mansions that have been converted into apartments. It’s a really beautiful area, really underappreciated. Nice place to walk around.
Have you played in Brooklyn?
Ben: We’ve never played that many shows in Brooklyn, but there are several places we like, like The Grasslands. It’s a good place to see music and find out about things you didn’t know about. It’s like a community, performance art space. It started out pretty underground. There was an underground bar there. Pretty DIY. But they’ve got a real PA in there now and it’s starting to become a pretty established place but it still has a real underground atmosphere.
You recorded part of your album in Brooklyn?
Andrew: Yes, we recorded seven of the songs in Brooklyn. Some of them in my living room; some of them in a warehouse space. Three of the songs we had already written before moving to Brooklyn, and seven of them we wrote in Brooklyn. And then we finished recording kind of out of the woods in Dave Pridman’s studio in western New-York state.
What do you think of the New-York scene right now?
Ben: Andrew doesn’t live there anymore, and I live in New-Jersey right now. I feel we are missing out on a lot. Many of our friend’s bands are starting to get recognition. It’s funny, people talk about how we are part of the New York scene, but I actually feel the scene is just starting now that we left. We never really felt like we were a big part of the New York scene because the band started a while before we moved there and we only existed as a band living in New York for a year and then we went on tour and we never really played that many shows there. But I think, that being in New York really did influence the album a lot, and the songs that we wrote.
Do you think there is a West Coast scene and an East Coast scene? You could be a band from L.A.?
Andrew: Yes, we like the imagery of surfers, beaches and psychedelics. But you know, there are surfers on some beaches not far from New York.
Ben: I just did an interview with a guy in Italy who could have sworn we were from San Francisco. That’s true people tend to think we’re from L.A.
Andrew: I love L.A., it’s the kind of place where I love going, but I definitely could not live there.
How are the audiences in America?
Ben: In New-York, they are pretty cool. On the West Coast, we did more corporate radio festivals. So the bands that play are usually not related to each other at all. Pretty schizophrenic events. But we are excited to go back to club shows all around America.
Who is the best audience?
Andrew: Every time we play in Paris, it’s pretty awesome. The first time (NDLR: La Maroquinerie) was pretty good, but the last time at the Bataclan was cool.
Ben: Glastonbury was the most amazing. We played two nights. The first night was videotaped and we were nervous, and everything went wrong. But the second night was amazing, we were looser, the crowd was much better.
Andrew: Security guards almost beat me up because I went into the crowd. I was crowd surfing for at least five minutes.
Photography by Frank Perrin