MGMT’s Andrew Van Wyngarden (left), and Ben Goldwasser are living out their pop-star fantasies.
MGMT (as part of V-FEST) at Toronto Island Park, Saturday (September 6) at 4:55 pm. One day $87, both days $159. 416-870-8000.
Call it life imitating art, or maybe a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ben Goldwasser and Andrew Van Wyngarden are currently living the rock star life they only fantasized about while writing the lyrics to their debut single, Time To Pretend, a few years back.
The duo met and formed MGMT (then known as the Management) while studying music at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
They toured the U.S. in support of their debut EP after graduating in 2005. Then they called it quits.
"We weren't talking or making music for a while," admits guitarist Van Wyngarden on the phone from a tour stop in Iowa. "Ben was ready to move out to California, but then, out of the blue, we got an e-mail from Columbia Records offering us a deal.
"We thought about it for a good two months. It was pretty crazy. We knew if we took the offer we'd have to start acting like a real band," he laughs.
In the end, that's precisely what they did. First up was a studio stint with Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann to record their debut LP, Oracular Spectacular. Then they enlisted three friends as their touring band to round out their live sound.
Since dropping Spectacular - a lush-sounding collection of Elephant Six-inspired pop - in March, MGMT have been busy doing what every burgeoning band does, touring their asses off in a beat-up Dodge van.
"Maybe one day we'll have a bus or something," Van Wyngarden says wistfully. "It's easy to have little panic attacks because the van's not very big and there's crap everywhere. We've got cabin fever pretty bad."
After getting bumps from late-night performances on David Letterman and Conan O'Brien earlier this year, their re-recorded version of Time To Pretend began to chart both at home and abroad. But that didn't mean that life on the road was all fun and games.
"Our van got robbed while we were onstage in Montreal," he recalls. "We parked it right outside the club, but while we were playing someone smashed a window and stole our backpacks, laptops and passports."
But that incident proved to be only a minor bump on MGMT's road to indie stardom. So far, the summer has seen the band rack up stratospheric achievements like opening for Radiohead in Manchester and having their second single, Electric Feel, turned into a bona fide club anthem by Parisian electro-rockers Justice.
After rocking the first day of V-Fest Saturday, MGMT will tour the western U.S., but will be back in town October 5 opening for Beck at the Sound Academy. After that, it's off to the UK and Europe for their first headlining tour there, before ending the year with a full-on tour of Australia.
Not too shabby for a band that almost called it a day back in 2006.