Arts Desk

Interview: Vampire Weekend

Finding words to describe Vampire Weekend seems futile, since they've become the A-list blog stars of 2008. But in case your Internet has been disconnected since January, Vampire Weekend is the project of four Columbia-educated Upper West Side turned Brooklynites who play intoxicating indie pop imbued with Afro-beat inspired soukous rhythms and melodies. The band's eponymous debut album was released in January and has become one of the most vibrant and refreshing albums of the year. They're playing tonight and tomorrow at 9:30 Club with The Teenagers. (Sorry, kids, both shows have been sold out for months, but there's still hope!).

Drummer Chris Tomson took a few questions from Black Plastic Bag before they electrify a sold out audience tonight.

Have you seen Twilight or Let the Right One In? What'd you think? If not, do you have a favorite vampire movie?

Unfortunately, I haven't seen either movie, although my roommate (the notorious Buddy Herms) did see Twilight. He described it as being "entertaining enough to not be upset as it takes your money." I've never been one for Vampire movies in general, but I would have to list The Lost Boys with Kiefer Sutherland as my all-time favorite.

Do the recent collaborations with Chromeo speak to the direction of Vampire Weekend's sound? More synth on the next album? Possible Discovery cameo?

I think that the Chromeo collaborations speak to how awesome they are rather than anything for our sound. It started with their remix of "The Kids Don't Stand A Chance," which we all felt took the song on a great new tangent. And then our jamboree-style live take of the same song really opened our eyes to the joys of live talkbox! Chromeo definitely does their own thing and does it extremely well, so we'll leave the synth-jams to them.

What's the best part about playing on Conan?

Meeting Conan! He was super nice, and it was very interesting to watch their read-throughs of potential monologue jokes. It made it clear that to be that consistently funny, you've got take it at least somewhat seriously.

Why do you think so many reviewers place importance on your alma mater? What do you wish they'd emphasize instead?

With the way that we dress and some of our lyrical directions, I can see why people would try to place a lot of importance on our collegiate background. Ultimately, though, it doesn't really bother us, and as our album has been around for a while now, that sort of thing has not been as prevalent. As long as reviews, whether positive of negative, are focused on the music that we've made, that's really all we can ask for.

Do you ever just want to thumb your nose at the preppy, hyper-literate mold and come out on stage in cut off shirts and combat boots?

What does hyper-literate mean? We all pretty much perform in what works for the situation. If its 100 degrees at Coachella, then I'll wear a sleeveless t-shirt and the appropriately short shorts. Or, if its mad muddy at Glastonbury, Ezra will come on in his Wellington rain boots. When any amount of people have paid money to see you, though, you kind of want to look nice, right?

What did you guys do last time you were in DC?

Well, our keyboardist Rostam is from DC, so his mother cooked us an incredible dinner and then we played at the Rock and Roll Hotel. After a solid night's sleep, we drove the minivan up to Philly for the next gig.

All time favorite DC band?

Off the top of my head I would say my favorite DC musicians are Henry Rollins and Rostam Batmanglij! After a quick wiki search, though, I would also like to add Duke Ellington and Marvin Gaye.

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  • S

    Sperry Topsiders 4 lyfe!

  • http://vinyldistrict.blogspot.com/ Jon

    Topsiders? A thousand times: no.

  • http://WARONBOBBY.com WARONBOBBY

    YOU ARE FINISHED IN THIS TOWN BOBBY ALYNN. FINISHED.

    -u.know.who-

  • curm

    "Afro-beat inspired soukous rhythms and melodies"

    Bobby, afrobeat is from Nigeria (think Fela) and soukous (think Diblo Dibala and Loketo) is from the Congo. I don't hear any afrobeat in Vampire Weekend's sound.

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