MGMT’s Will Berman talks firsts with score for Tribeca pick ‘Jackrabbit’

Will Berman calls his current situation “an exciting time and place.”

The drummer and writer has spent a better part of the past decade on tour and making music with MGMT, but he's stepping out as a film composer for the first time with his score to “Jackrabbit,” which gets its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday.

“After touring for seven years straight and not being able to polish skills in any other area, it's great to finally spread out and figure out something else that I can do,” Berman told me this week. “It was such a pleasure to make music for a film, and I'm blown away people's response to it… it was a real lucky combination of factors.”

For six months, Berman collaborated with director Carleton Ranney's on coming up with the best versions of the sci-fi flick's “sparse,” spacious sounds. To go along with the dystopic themes of having to deal with a societal technology “reset” phenomena, Berman opted to perform his score on only an Arturia MicroBrute analog synth and one other keyboard.

“It's about these people kind of struggling with these kind of limited forms of technology, set in the future where all the computer data in the world has been seemingly wiped out,” he explains about the “obsolete tech” world Ranney built.

As you can hear in the two impressive exclusive tracks below, “I kept the tone dark… very low and rumbling.”

Since MGMT released its 2013 self-titled album and finished up tour in support, Berman has also been at work on other side projects, like the score for short film “Noonday Demon” by Soojin Chang, producing an LP for Buenos Aires-based group Delta Venus, and making music with band Kuroma (whose most recent album was produced by MGMT cohort Ben Goldwasser).

“We've been taking a little break I guess. We've been at it for years at this point. There's more to come.,” Berman said of MGMT, though he didn't want to speak for founders Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden on when there'd be a new album from the psych-pop group.