MGMT's guitarist, James Richardson, called before leaving New York for San Diego, where the band is playing Thursday night at SDSU's Open Air Theater. Although pleasant, James was man of very few words.
Chris Cantore: You're kicking off your summer jaunt in San Diego. Planned?
James Richardson: Yeah, it was planned. We'll definitely be eating a lot of tacos and burritos. That's on the agenda.
CC: Between the album cover (of the band's latest record, Congratulations) and the surf-inspired jam "Song for Dan Tracey," how much did the West Coast influence the new record?
JR: Definitely, there's a West Coast vibe, absolutely. When Oracular Spectacular came out, we spent a lot of time in California and were exposed to a lot of stuff out there.
CC: When released, Congratulations received a lukewarm response from mainstream critics and fans. How did you react as a band?
JR: I'd be lying if I said I didn't care at all, but you can't really care about that stuff.
CC: Do you feel the pressure to live up to the hype?
JR: No, not really. We try to have our own thing and keep that going, and do what we do.
CC: Having recently played Coachella and Bonaroo, then returning to smaller venues [a la SDSU's Open Air Theater] before Lollapalooza, which do you prefer ?
JR: We're excited for the more intimate shows. They're always a little bit more fun, but at festivals, there's always weird stuff going on.
MGMT, the Brooklyn-based act formed in 2005 by Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, will be kick off their summer jaunt at the Open Air Theater at 8 p.m. The doors open at 7 a.m. Tickets are $30-$35. http://www.livenation.com/Open-Air-Theatre-San-Diego-State-University-tickets-San-Diego/venue/81968