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Andrew answers questions at Optimus Alive (x)

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MGMT is using the summer of 2014 to their advantage by doing a French festival tour. The lead singer, Andrew Vanwyngarden, a reserved musician with a glittery manicure, opened up to ConcertLivre.fr just before his set at Déferlantes d’Argelès. » →


CL: You haven’t toured France for a long time now. Why did you decide to return this summer for an entire festival tour?

AV: We haven’t done a European festival tour for a while. I think the last time was in 2010. Its true, we could have done a show in Paris to make up for it, but its good to come back for the summer festivals. It’s a great way to spend our July.

CL: How is a festival different from a concert, to you?

AV: At our own concerts, the audience recognizes us (laughs). Each concert we play is a condensed version of our three albums. I think that at a festival, there’s a certain energy on stage that we try to transmit to the audience. We do the same thing at our concerts, but differently. Our tour includes a lot of visual elements and screens that give a different vibe to our shows. Unfortunately, tonight, we can’t put them up because of the wind.

CL: Will that pose a problem during the set tonight?

AV: It’s fine. We’ve played without it before, even though it really helps when it’s up.

CL: Whats your favourite on-stage memory?

AV: It’s difficult to pick a single one. The one that immediately comes to mind is kind of crazy. It was the first time that we played Choachella in 2008, our fist big festival. We didn’t really know what we were doing on stage, so we acted like we did back in college. At university, we were always leaving in the middle of shows and not coming back, or making other weird jokes. So at this show, I started running through the crowd. It was cool, because in university, people would run after me, but this time, I was just surrounded by the crowd (laughs). It was really different from university, but it was still a fun experience.

CL: Let’s talk about the new album. Did you name it “MGMT” because it defines you as a band?

AV: No, we didn’t call it “MGMT” because of that. It was more of an inside joke. It’s a cliche. Lots of bands do the same thing. Same goes for our second album, “Congratulations;” the title was also an inside joke. However, I feel like this is our most personal album, so it does represent us, in a way.

CL: What inspires you when you write?

AV: Lots of things. I take a lot of notes during my day, and I try to read a lot of books and poetry while I write. For this album, I was especially engrossed in Phillipe Soupault, a surrealist poet. I also enjoyed reading Kafka.

CL: You took three years to release the new album. What was the creation process for “MGMT” like?

AV: We didn’t spend all three years composing. We took a year off after our “Congratulations” tour, our first break since 2007, and it did us a lot of good. Eventually, Ben and I started meeting up from time to time to play together.We hadn’t had the chance to do that since college, and it was really fun and inspiring for us. That’s how we started the album, by improvising together for hours on end.Then, we hacked together the bits we liked to make our songs. It took us two years to decide what exactly we wanted to do on the album and then to write it.

CL: You’re not very prevalent on social media. Do you consider it an invasion of privacy?

AV: No, its not like that. We are on twitter, a little bit. I think that we can use it more to talk about ourselves or to  expand our fan base, but really, we are part of the end of a generation that didn’t grow up with all that. For example, when we first met, neither of us had a cell phone. The development of social media was never an attractive prospect for me, and I’m happy I escaped it because I think it’s awfully distracting. For example, I always catch myself looking at my phone for no reason and it bothers me when I see others do it.

CL: Do you feel like something’s missing in real life?

AV: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like it is a pointless gesture. You’re not gaining anything in that moment, it’s just a way to distract yourself. Whether its a text or a photo, its not really a world we like.


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