Under New MGMT
For Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, the duo who comprise New York's MGMT, becoming one of the most buzzed-about bands during the 2007 CMJ Music Marathon wasn't quite what they were after.For Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, the duo who comprise New York's MGMT, becoming one of the most buzzed-about bands during the 2007 CMJ Music Marathon wasn't quite what they were after.
Up until that point, they had avoided the blog-driven chatter that can turn a band into an overnight sensation during industry showcases like CMJ and South by Southwest.
That's because MGMT actually had a deal fall in its lap 11 months prior, the old-fashioned way: band makes EP, intern passes EP around the Columbia Records office, Columbia contacts band.
"We went into the meeting, and we were jackasses," Goldwasser recalls. "We had no interest in getting signed, but at some point we got really into being on Columbia."
Navigating the fickle world of backlash was something MGMT has also been conscious of as part of the decision to begin its career with Columbia.
"We wanted to try to make a good major label album," VanWyngarden says. "It's kind of an obstacle we're facing, but we like that. Everybody now is on an indie label, so we're being different by being on a major."
MGMT's debut, "Oracular Spectacular," is also a different animal for Columbia, which releases it physically Jan. 22. (A quiet digital release in October has shifted 1,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan.)
The result is 10 songs in the vein of the Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and early Pink Floyd. VanWyngarden and Goldwasser played a host of instruments on the album, and with the assistance of Lips/Rev producer Dave Fridmann, created a sound that feels like something much larger than just a two-piece band.
Music has been licensed for TV and such films as Kevin Spacey's upcoming "21," and the act is also gaining a reputation for a stellar live show with an expanded five-piece band.
Those chops will be put to the test on a two-month tour with recent buzz subject Yeasayer, beginning Jan. 16 in Washington, D.C.