Andrew Van Wyngarden and Ben Goldwasser met each other on a music course at Wesleyan University in New York
. Together they started "f**cking' around with music-making software" (according to Andrew) creating lots of "provocateur perfomance art", before eventually settling on their trademark pyschedelic-pop sound complete with a suitably idiosynchratic band-name MGMT. The duo's first live perfomance was a 45-minute epic version of the Ghostbusters theme for a college talent competition. Another lol-moment from college was a gig staged in the 'Clothing Optional Dorm' - to quote Andrew 'guitars came in very handy'.
The New York label Cantora were impressed enough with their out-of-the-ordinary sound to put out an EP, titled Time to Pretend in 2005. Andrew and Ben followed the release of the EP by embarking on a tour supporting the similarly-minded indie-band Of Montreal.
The EP and tour built up an appreciative audience, indeed so much so that Columbia records contacted them offering them a can't-say-no 4-album deal. Andrew and Ben signed up, realising that the band started for fun had changed into a serious full-time career. They even employed a full-time band manager for the first time.
In 2007 MGMT crossed the Atlantic to tour the UK. Memorably on their first performance in London a sound engineer commented 'I've never seen anyone make such fools of themselves on stage'. Apparently the band had all had far too many shots before appearing, and when the band did get on stage Andrew sung the songs at half-speed, while Ben and the other musicians played at double.
MGMT released their first album, Oracular Spectacular at the end of 2007. Key tracks from the album include TIme To Pretend, Electric Feel. and Weekend Wars. The band received a huge amount of publicity when a 30 second sample of Time To Pretend featured as 'track of the week' on ITunes. The track caused a storm of controversy - with rhymes like 'Shoot some heroin and f**k with the stars' with 'cocaine and elegant cars', the song was guaranteed to raise a hail of protest from outraged upstanding citizens.