MGMT is an American psychedelic rock band based in Brooklyn, New York, founded by Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden. After the release of their first album, the members of their live band, Matthew Asti, James Richardson, and Will Berman joined the core band in the studio. Formed at Wesleyan University and originally with Cantora Records, they signed with Columbia Records and Red Ink in 2006.
On October 5, 2007, Spin.com named MGMT "Artist of the Day." On November 14, 2007, Rolling Stone pegged MGMT as a top ten "Artist to Watch" in 2008. The band was named ninth in the BBC's Sound of 2008 Top Ten Poll. They were also named as Last.fm's most played new artist of 2008 in their Best of 2008 lists.
Their first album as MGMT, Oracular Spectacular, debuted at #12 on the UK album chart and number six on the Australian ARIA Charts, and hit number one on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart. It has also been named the 18th best album of the decade by Rolling Stone magazine. It was named the best album of 2008 by NME. MGMT also appeared prominently in Australia's Triple J Hottest 100 2008, coming in 2nd with "Electric Feel", 5th with "Kids" and 18th with "Time to Pretend".
MGMT was nominated for the 2010 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, and their track "Kids" was nominated for Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocals. These are the first Grammy nominations for the band. At the 2009 Grammy Awards, the Justice remix of "Electric Feel" won the Grammy for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical.
Ben Goldwasser, Andrew VanWyngarden,Phoebe Hayes, Zach Moeller formed the band while attending Wesleyan University during their freshman year. "We weren't trying to start a band," remarked Goldwasser. "We were just hanging out, showing each other music that we liked." They experimented with noise rock and electronica before settling on what Paco Alvarez of Spin calls "their current brand of shape-shifting psychedelic pop." They graduated in 2005 and toured extensively in support of the Time to Pretend EP, opening for indie rock band Of Montreal.
The band first started with the name "The Management," but since this name was already being used by another band, they later changed it to MGMT.
In the autumn of 2006, Maureen Kenny signed the band to Columbia Records. When they got a phone call from the A&R department of Columbia Records saying they were interested in their music, they thought it was a joke. The duo recorded with Flaming Lips/Sleater-Kinney music producer Dave Fridmann in 2007 for their major label debut, Oracular Spectacular. MGMT opened for Of Montreal on tour in autumn 2007 as a five-piece touring band including Matthew Asti (bass), James Richardson (drums), and Hank Sullivant (guitar). In November 2007, they performed for the first time in Europe, supporting the band Samantha and The Courteeners at Koko in London, England. After March 2008, Hank Sullivant left the band to pursue his own band, Kuroma. Will Berman joined as the new drummer, James Richardson switched from drums to guitar, and Matthew Asti remained on bass.
The band supported Radiohead on the Manchester date of their world tour and went on a headline tour of the UK during November 2008, playing at venues such as Manchester Academy and Shepherd's Bush Empire.
MGMT opened for M.I.A. on the Vassar College date of her 2008 tour, and also played several shows with Beck while he toured in 2008. They appeared at the 2008 and 2009 editions of the Bonnaroo Music Festival. They also toured Australia with a headlining spot on the Meredith Music Festival line-up.
They played a show at the Virgin on Toronto Island on September 6, 2008, playing nine songs off their Oracular Spectacular album. They also played the 2008 Street Scene festival in San Diego, California. On February 27, 2009, MGMT performed alongside Spectrum at The Dome in Finsbury Park. MGMT also added another tour date in Australia at the Splendour in the Grass Festival. MGMT is headlining this music festival with other well known bands, Bloc Party, The Flaming Lips, The Happy Mondays, and Jane's Addiction.
MGMT was one of the headlining bands for the Treasure Island Music Festival on Treasure Island in San Francisco, California, on October 17, 2009.
MGMT's Congratulations was released on April 13, 2010. The band, including Matthew Asti, James Richardson, and Will Berman from the live band, spent the summer of 2009 in Malibu, California, recording the album with Pete Kember (a.k.a. Sonic Boom) — formerly of Spacemen 3 and Spectrum — serving as producer/guru, and long-time friend, Billy Bennett, as engineer.
MGMT originally suggested that they might not release any singles from the album. By July 2010, however, four single releases from the album had been confirmed. The album cover art for Congratulations was created for MGMT by Anthony Ausgang and the overall design of the packaging is by Josh Cheuse of Sony Entertainment. On March 9, 2010, MGMT released the song "Flash Delirium" for free download on their official website. On March 20, the band allowed users to stream their new album from their website.
MGMT started their Congratulations Tour on April 12, 2010, in San Francisco, California, at the Fillmore theater. They performed on April 23 at Brown University's Spring Weekend; on April 27 at Yale University's Spring Fling; on April 30 at the University of New Hampshire's Spring Climax; and on May 1 at Fordham University's Spring Weekend.
They performed on Saturday Night Live on April 24, 2010, and on the Late Show With David Letterman on May 11 to promote their new album, and on June 11, MGMT played their largest headlining show anywhere in the world with a sold-out, 9,500 capacity gig at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. On June 25, MGMT performed on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon", and on July 23, they were the musical guests on the "Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson".
On August 25, MGMT released a music video for "Congratulations," the third video of their sophomore album.
On October 31 2010, MGMT performed for the Voodoo Experience in New Orleans, Louisiana. The band decided to dress as the gang from Scooby-Doo for Halloween; Andrew dressed up as Daphne and Ben dressed up as Velma.
MGMT was a headlining band at Fun Fun Fun Fest which was held at Waterloo Park in Austin, Texas on November 6, 2010. The performance was the last show in the U.S. for MGMT in 2010.
MGMT was one of the headlining bands for the 2010 Coachella Festival in Southern California. The event draws nearly 120,000 attendees annually.