MGMT have taken the time to break down the back story for their breakthrough 2005 single Time To Pretend for the Song Exploder podcast.
Speaking about the album’s synth sounds, keyboardist, singer and co-founder Ben Goldwasser revealed that a majority of effects remained the same across the two recordings that were released of the song, the first of which featured on the Time To Pretend EP in 2005 and the second on the bands 2007 debut Oracular Spectacular.
“The actual sounds that I made on my laptop without any fancy studio gear…most of that is still on the recordings. I was totally broke and couldn’t afford any musical gear at all.”
“We spent a lot of time messing around with those synths, just seeing what kind of crazy sounds we could get out of them.”
Guitarist and lead vocalist Andrew VanWyngarden also explained how the sound of the song was supposed to be childish, and how this reflected the attitudes of the band at the time.
“At that point in time we were two nerdy liberal arts college students and the band was a joke about being rock stars.”
“We would be playing in people’s living rooms for 15 people, wearing fur coats and sunglasses drinking champagne and just acting like fools,” added Goldwasser.
The lyrics themselves represented this mindset, with the lines “Let’s make some music/ Make some money/ Find some models for wives” serving as the self-described “mission statement.”
While this statement may be a little far-fetched given the nature of today’s music industry for artists, MGMT have certainly realised their fair share of success with over one million records sold and multiple world tours.
The podcast goes on to reveal the song’s inspiration from Dancing Queen by ABBA, the novelty of using live drums for the first time and how it felt to perform on live TV for the first time.
Listen to the full podcast below.