HFS’s Reada got a chance to talk to Rostam Batmanglij and Chris Tomson from Vampire Weekend at the 2013 Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware. Reada, being a Vampire Weekend fan herself, noted that Modern Vampires of the City seemed to be a noticeable departure from the band’s previous albums.
“We like to think of each album kinda being a little bit of a departure from the last one,” replied Rostam. “I guess on this album what kinda was the defining factor was song writing. We wanted to just write as good of songs as we could do and that is what we cared the most about. It didn’t matter if we had big guitar riff songs or if we didn’t. We just wanted songs that we really loved. Maybe that’s why it sounds a little different.”
The band produced the first two albums themselves, but for the new album, they brought in outside help. Reada asked what it was like working with a producer from outside the band.
According to Rostam, “A lot of the production ideas started in New York with me on my own working with the band and me and Ezra working together. Then we sort of continued the second phase of making the album in L.A. Ariel Rechtshaid, who has been a good friend for a while, came in and the two of us co-produced all the songs on the album together. He brought in this nice presence and help with pushing across the finish line, which is always hard to do. It was nice to have that on this record. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been finished.”
Reada was impressed at all the celebrity cameos that showed up in the video for the album’s first single, “Diane Young”. Chris explained that most of the time directors reach out to them with ideas to go along with the songs and music, but this time they had the idea to do a “last supper” scene with guys that they know and respect in the New York music scene, involving whoever could show up that day.
Reada asked Vampire Weekend if they like playing festivals, since much of their current tour schedule is filled with them. According to Chris, the band acknowledges that there are a lot of festivals to play in the summer months–especially in Europe, where there are even more festivals than in North America, but they see a distinct difference between playing their own show versus playing a festival.
“They’re their own beast,” said Chris. “They’re similar but different things. The best part about festivals is being outside, whereas most of our own shows tend to be inside. It’s nicer to see big open fields and people having fun. It’s a little bit more relaxed whereas in our own shows, people are all already converted fans.”
Music festivals are well-known for their crazy moments, and when asked about the most interesting thing they’ve seen at one, Rostam laughed about one in Australia, where the person who was running the jumbotron camera was trying to get women to take their shirts off, but it mistakenly gave the impression that it was the band who was encouraging it.
Rostam made a point of showing his old hometown pride for HFS, having listened to the station “every day of my life from the age of 10 to 17.” He boasted that he was “a hardcore HFS listener of days of yore, and that the first music festival he ever attended was HFStival 2000 “at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium.” (Notice that he remembers its original name!)
Meanwhile, Chris wanted to congratulate the city of Baltimore on the Ravens’ Super Bowl win. “You deserve it!”
Check out more on Vampire Weekend at VampireWeekend.com