Sunday February 24, 2013
Indie group Vampire Weekend to release new album in May
By EDDINO ABDUL HADI
American indie group Vampire Weekend says not all the songs in its new album are gloomy.
Preppy New York indie quartet Vampire Weekend has made its name with sunny, perky tunes and Afro-pop-influenced sound.
So fans’ alarm bells understandably went off when word got out that the band’s new tunes would be “darker”.
They can rest easy, the band’s 28-year-old frontman Ezra Koenig reassures.
In a phone interview from Sydney, Australia where the band played at the Australian series of Big Day Out festivals recently, he says some things he had said in recent interviews about the new songs from the band’s highly anticipated third album were exaggerated.
“Well, I think maybe I overstated the case. Not all the songs are darker. On the whole, we said that about the album because there are certain songs that are definitely new territory for all of us.”
He says the untitled new album, expected to be released in May, is “a very natural progression” for the six-year-old band, the same way that its second album, Contra, progresses naturally from its self-titled debut.
“Whatever changes there are in mood and lyrics and sound, it always feels natural for us. It’s whatever we feel is right. On the whole, I think this album still sounds very much like Vampire Weekend, it’s just like a new chapter,” he adds.
“Everybody in the band agrees the songs are dope.”
Buoyed by a rabid online fanbase, the buzz around Vampire Weekend rose quickly. The band started touring globally and appeared on the cover of music magazines such as Spin, even before it released its first album in 2008.
And while the band produced singles such as A-Punk that
made it on the modern rock charts, it was 2010’s Contra that made a wider impact. It made its debut at the top of the mainstream Billboard charts and earned it a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album.
Koenig says that having Contra do well was a “huge achievement” because it proved that the band was no one-album wonder.
“When our first album came out, it was at a time where there was a lot of discussion in the music world about buzz bands and the effect of the Internet, bands that got hyped up too quickly and we felt caught in the middle of that.
“We had a lot of people judging us and questioning our staying power,” he recalls.
He adds that there is no pressure at all for the third album to repeat Contra’s chart success. In fact, at one point, the band even contemplated not releasing a full album at all.
“It’s funny because we entered the music industry at a funny time where things are changing so rapidly and there are a lot of new opportunities and change. People thought that the days of people paying for music are over.
“Every year, things change in the music industry and it maybe feels a little silly to worry too much about album sales today because clearly they are not the indicator of whether or not people like something.”
What is more important for the band, he adds, is that fans embrace Vampire Weekend’s new songs and continue to support it throughout its musical journey.
Despite the fact that the band is playing major festivals and doing worldwide tours today, Koenig says he and the rest of the band members – multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij, 29, bassist Chris Baio and drummer Chris Tomson, both 28 – still feel like the same schoolmates who met at Columbia University.
“The band have changed in terms of how many people know us and come to our shows, but internally it doesn’t feel that different.
“It’s still us trying to make something that we find exciting and we more or less approach songwriting the same way.” – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network