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MGMT might just be the unlikeliest pop sensation to explode on the music scene in recent years. Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden were just a couple of buddies at a small New England liberal arts college, entertaining themselves in the dorm by making trippy music on their laptops. They put on some well-received shows on campus and even released an EP on a small indie label.
Graduation, though, looked likely to end the MGMT story, just as it had broken up so many other experimental college bands before them. Goldwasser and VanWyngarden moved apart and put MGMT on hiatus.
But then something weird happened. An exec with Columbia Records heard the EP and loved the band's sound, a postmodern mashup of psychedelic rock, infectious dance, and avant-garde experimentalism that sounds a bit like what you'd expect they might be playing in a disco on the moon. She signed the band to a major-label contract, launching MGMT on a dizzying path toward global stardom. Whoa.
"Kids," an irresistible romp in upbeat psychedelic pop, was the first song MGMT ever made, way back during Goldwasser's and VanWyngarden's freshman year, and it remains one of their most popular today.
|Writer(s)||Andrew VanWyngarden, Ben Goldwasser|
|Producer(s)||David Fridmann, MGMT|
|Musician(s)||Andrew VanWyngarden, Ben Goldwasser|
|Learn to play|
Ben once explained:
I'd say [Oracular Spectacular] is influenced by a lot of things. We try to reference a lot of things we're influenced by in our music. It's weird, because a lot of time people don't get the references or think we're referencing other bands. We get a lot of comparisons to Ween, Muse and They Might be Giants, who are not really bands we listen to. So it's funny what we think we're influenced by and what people think we sound like—which is usually nothing like what we listen to. (Source)
Other bands the boys have listed as influences:
Nine Inch Nails
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Treefight for Sunlight
Just another picture that's representative of the band's quirkiness.
"Electric Feel" Screenshot
This is the video that the band invited the USC kids who made the fan video for "Kids" to be in. The bears in the forest remind us of Disneyland.
MGMT Interview, Caught in the Crossfire (2007)
MGMT "kindly flew into the Crossfire office on a magic carpet fuelled by last night's booze and had a chat with Zac about dogs and smelly fruit" for this in-depth interview.
MGMT Interview, UGO (2008)
This interview covers MGMT's rise to fame with their "psychedelic electro-rock."
Interview with MGMT, You Ain't No Picasso (2008)
The Ben half of the duo sits down to answer some questions, including how surreal it was to get signed to a label when they weren't even trying.
"Once and for All, How Do You Pronounce MGMT?" Vulture (2008)
The verdict? Em-gee-em-tee.
Official "Kids" Music Video
Here's the official video—the one with the kid and the monsters—that we've discussed at length.
Fan-Made "Kids" Music Video
This is the video with the face-painted kids, made by a USC student.