The last thing I expected two months ago, while I was blasting MGMT in my car with my two best friends, was that we'd spend this weekend in full costume and makeup on the set of their new video.
That day in LA traffic, my friends Abby and Rafael confessed that they had starred in an amateur version of MGMT’s "Kids" video. Being two film-production students, they are strictly behind-the-camera people, not actors, and were pretty embarrassed about the whole thing. They explained how John Salmon, a fellow student from their music video class needed two people to be in his final project at the last minute, and how they reluctantly agreed under the condition that they could wear full makeup and not be recognized.
John later posted the video online, behind their backs, and his final project became an Internet sensation, now with nearly 275,000 hits. Somewhere in that mix, the director of MGMT’s next video saw Abby and Rafael and gave them a call asking them to be in the official thing.
Which brings me to this weekend. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity and decided to be a groupie and fly out to New York to check out the shoot. (Snapshots and more, after the jump.)
The second I got there, the wardrobe people slapped a costume on me and told me I was to be an extra in the video. I had no time to argue. All the extras seemed to be friends of friends anyway, so I fit right in. Turns out most of the people working on the video were all college buddies -- Wesleyan alums Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden (MGMT) had gotten a bunch of friends from their college days to direct, choreograph, star in, and design the video which fit the “magical forest party” concept perfectly. Our very own Kim Stolz is also a Wesleyan grad and happened to be good friends with a boatload of people on-set...according to them anyway.
This seemed more like a bunch of friends hanging out playing dress-up than a music video set for one of 2008's up-and-coming bands. We'd all sit between takes getting to know each other, filling up on huge amounts of craft service (props to the french toast), and comparing our lives as recent college grads. Then the cameras would roll, and we all got to take part in one big themed dance party….complete with brightly colored fake alcohol, a choreographer screaming "THUG LIFE!!" -- and killer electro-pop music.