I first met Andrew and Ben when Sonic Boom brought them over to my studio before a Spectum show at a local club here in Los Angeles; I had never heard their music and they had never seen my paintings so we got along quite well in our mutual ignorance! That lack of knowledge of or individual accomplishments actually helped us get along because we became friends on a personal level. A few days later I was invited up to the mansion in Malibu where they were recording to hear some of the jams that they had been working on. Musical equipment was spread throughout the house but the living room had become the place where they all played together. I went there a few times and on my last visit we all ate mushrooms and blazed together. I did a lot of drawings on scrap paper and just left them there at the end of the evening.
A about a month later I was contacted by Josh Cheuse, the art director at Sony in charge of getting the art together for “Congratulations”. He had been told to contact me after he was given a bunch of the drawings I had done in Malibu. The main concept was to use “scratch off” material for part of the cover so I started out by making it look like a lottery ticket. After I sent Andrew some ideas, he began sending corrected sketches back to me and the concept started to take shape but it just didn’t “jump”. After about a week of this I drank a lot of coffee one moring and started a new drawing that worked much better. Andrew and Ben both liked the it but told me to pump up the surfing theme; the new sketch eventually became the cover. Andrew and Ben were great to work with because they knew what they wanted but they let me get to it my way.
While all of this was happening MGMT was also mixing the new songs in the studio; since I couldn’t hear any of them, I kept listening to Oracular Spectacular while I worked in my art studio to keep their “vibe” in mind. When I finally got to hear the “Congratulations” tracks I was very happy that the art and the music worked well together.
I did all the preparatory sketches with a pencil on paper then scanned them in to the computer where I arranged and morphed everything using Adobe Photoshop. After I had the sketch the way I wanted it I projected it on to a canvas using an opaque projector. It took about three weeks to finish the painting.