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MGMT are ready to let loose at Future Music gigs around Australia – making up for a history of self-confessed ‘interesting’ performances Down Under while sharing the new sound that is, Congratulations. T-Squat’s Lauren King gets the low-down from Andrew Wyngarden.
 
 
Came across a quote stating Congratulations is the result of you guys trying to deal with all the craziness that’s been going on since your last album took off, and that sometimes this ‘craziness’ doesn’t feel natural. Does Congratulations feel natural to you?

Totally. I don’t think Ben and I operate on a level that we feel uncomfortable with – things that go against our instincts and our creative drive. We don’t like to compromise and do things for other people. The things that didn’t feel natural were never the music or the things we were creating, it was some of the situations that we were thrust into being a band in the spotlight. Some of the media attention and the way that we were constricted in the media, it felt like they never really ‘got it’ all the way.

Do the media ‘get’ Congratulations?

No, it’s continued to a degree. I think a lot of people haven’t given it a chance and have gone off an initial misconception that we were an electro-pop band and that we wanted to have this super-mainstream career or something, which we never really wanted.

This misconception was clearly derived from the huge success and popular sounds of Kids and Time to Remember. How would you respond to a comment suggesting Congratulations is not synonymous with classic MGMT style?

That just sounds like it’s coming from someone who’s uneducated about MGMT. I don’t really know what the classic MGMT is. The first song we ever wrote was Kids, so I guess you could say the classic MGMT track was Kids, but we wrote that in 2002 and to assume our musical tastes and direction haven’t changed for eight years is kind of crazy. We’re a band that’s about messing with people’s heads – so to anyone who says this album is not classic MGMT I would say ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about’.

Describe the musical journey of Congratulations? How do you hope the listener feels after getting to know the album?

I think like other songs that we’ve done, you want people to listen to it and maybe the first couple of times be like ‘whoa what was that - what just happened?’ What we want it to be ideally is something that, the more you listen to it, the more things you discover – it’s kind of like its own little world that you can go into. It goes against albums that are obviously promoting one track amongst a whole lot of throwaway tracks. It’s trying to get people out of a quick consumption mindset. If they can listen to a twelve minute song and let go and just get into it, then I think that’s something kind of special. We can do that and our fans are really doing that at the shows, so it’s really satisfying.

What will you bring to the Australian stage this year that you didn’t on your first tour?


Every time we’ve [toured Australia] it’s always sort of been at an interesting point. The first time we went was at the dead end of a year-and-a-half of touring and we were just completely exhausted and the shows were huge, at huge venues, and we weren’t really ready for that. Then we came back in 2009, in the middle of writing Congratulations, and we weren’t really confident in the new songs, and when we returned on the promo tour in March, no one was familiar with the new stuff. The past few months of touring have just been really good and we’re feeling better as a live band than we’ve ever felt, so I’m excited to come back to Australia and really sort of show what we’ve got.

Will we see you crowd surf?

I’ve jumped into the crowd a couple of times. I kind of stopped doing it because can people can get very aggressive – pulling and tearing your clothes and breaking jewellery. It’s pretty intense but um ... it could happen in the future.

MGMT will join the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Pendulum, Richie Hawtin and the Chemical Brothers on the Future Music festival bandwagon gearing up to tour the nation from March 5th 2011.
 

 
 
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Words by Lauren King
 

Masher of psychedelic sounds that would blow Jim Morrison’s mind, Hiroshi Hasegawa ventured down under for the Kirin Big in Japan! event mid November. This captain of contemporary emerged from Japan’s underground recently to fill T-Squat in on the noise that shook Down Under.

 
 

Describe the classic sound of Hiroshi Hasegawa

Various types of sound such as electronic pulse, wall of noise, drone and pure harsh noise or
feedback noise. It mixes like a dazzle. And then, after a peak passes, all sound becomes free. I am
conscious of such a sound vision.

How is your sound unique, compared with other electronic musicians?

All my works are produced by improvisation. It is sometimes like an ambient sound, and other
times it is really loud. Some people believe there is no consistency in this, however, it is because my
philosophy chooses not to discriminate against any type of sound.

What can Kirin Big in Japan! revellers expect from your performance in November?

I want you to experience the depths and the chaos of my electrons noise. I also want you to expect
that sound and a visual image may be fused, because this time I collaborate exclusively with Sydney
artist James Brown.

How is Japan’s electronic music culture unique?

As for many Japanese noise artists, it isn't rare to take an influence in 60's, 70's hard rock,
psychedelic rock, progressive rock, kraut rock and so on. Although Japanese artists are influenced by
contemporary and avant-garde music too, the strong rock influence is unique.

What are some of the best underground nightclubs in Japan?

There is staff who like noise and experimental music at the nightclub called SOUP in Tokyo, and they
welcome the event of noise too. The PA system is also powerful - SOUP is excellent to play loud
volume.

Your beer of choice?

Kirin of course. Although retired, my father was engaged in the research of wheat with Kirin
Corporation for many years. It's a true story.

Respected artists?

Captain Beefheart.

One of your most memorable moments performing?

That is when I played in the mountain.

What are you most looking forward to about your impending visit to Australia?

I am looking forward to playing the most, because no matter where I am, this is the time when I am
most satisfied. And then, I am very happy if there is an audience who shares that pleasure.



 
     
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Words: Kurt Wicklund
 
 

You know you have made it as a band when you start selling out shows at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion. Pendulum are doing just that, and better than most.

For the most part Drum and Bass has been an under-appreciated music genre in Australia - a casualty of 'it all sounds the same to me' mentality. With the release of their first album Hold Your Colour, Pendulum revealed themselves as a shining light of commercial success in a notably underground scene. Currently touring their most recent album – Immersion – they reveal themselves as purveyors of ripping live shows.

Hordern Pavilion was the honorary venue for Sydney fans to get loose - a venue least likely to produce an atmospheric performance. It’s where acts like D12 or Good Charlotte come to dupe their listeners into believing they’re receiving value for money. Basically it is a warehouse with seating at the back and a stupidly long bar queue.

Despite these inherent shortcomings, Pendulum managed to put on an irrefutably brilliant show. Giving the audience a taste from each of their three albums, Pendulum’s songs were delivered with a decent serve of lights and energy, and a distinct impression that they were enjoying themselves.

Unsurprisingly, the highlights of the night were some of the band’s best knows songs: Slam from Hold Your Colour and Propane Nightmares from In Silico – two personal favourites. With a relatively small discography, a heap of Pendulum’s less played tracks were issued a solid run, providing a welcome break in the assault of hits. The audience proved instrumental to the energy of the show – sweaty enthusiasm and coherent wisdom lighting the joint up. Of course the ubiquitous encore was well received, with everyone willing to pound out one more dance move.

For better or worse, Pendulum has well and truly shed the shackles of the drum and bass genre. Their new techno and vocal-laden tracks are more reminiscent of The Prodigy than High Contrast, and their international commercial success has removed them further from ostensible roots. But with gigs of this calibre, it is hard to object to Pendulum’s new style.