"We're going to leave them in there, like that," he says."We're calling it our trophy room." Becoming everyone's favorite band has weighed heavily on MGMT's minds for the past couple of years.
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This is their first day of practice for their new tour, and they're figuring out the best way to re-create their new album, Congratulations, with their five-man live outfit: guitarist James Richardson, bassist Matt Asti and drummer Will Berman.
But it doesn't seem like they're having a lot of fun.
Van Wyngarden is much more spontaneous and naughty than Goldwasser, and they bicker a lot when they're recording.
"We're both stubborn and neurotic about music, which is an interesting combination." says Van Wyngarden.
They understand each other like twins." Although the plaques in MGMT's bathroom are of recent vintage, Goldwasser and Van Wyngarden have been writing songs together since 2001, when they met during their first week as freshmen at Wesleyan University, a 2,700-student liberal-arts school in Connecticut that caters to academically advanced students who may not have fit into their high schools.
Both guys had signed up for rooms in the 'weird" dorm, a haven for jam-band lovers, ferret owners and kids who arrived at college very familiar with psychedelic drugs. "I was so paranoid as a freshman, because everything at school was so different than home, and then September 11th happened," says Van Wyngarden.
Then they'd spend a whole day writing in Ben's room — and then go their separate ways again.
They're like a married couple that has really good but that's it." On a deeper level, Van Wyngarden is hyperaware, and it's hard to get much by him, whereas Goldwasser has a tendency to go into his own world and trust that whatever happened while he was off in space was good.
DOWN A LONG ALLEY, PAST A ROW OF million-dollar Brooklyn brownstones, an elegant 19-century carriage house has been converted into a playpen for the guys from MGMT.
On the first floor, there's a hastily renovated home studio, with the band's gear stacked in the front and a comfy recording studio in the back.
Van Wyngarden, the heartthrob, barely manages a greeting.