Vampire Weekend‘s third album is influenced by jazz, Bob Dylan and The Clash according to Rostam Batmanglij.
The multi-instrumentalist spoke to Uncut about the forthcoming album, the US band’s first since 2010’s ‘Contra’. Discussing the influences and sounds the band are creating, Batmanglij said: “The goal was to use organic sounds and put them in a context that you might not have heard before. It’s certainly darker and grittier than ‘Contra’. A lot of these songs are about conflict. They’re about the choices we can make, being able to do what we want with our lives.”
He added: “With ‘Contra’ I was interested in a kind of arty, ’80’s New York sound, but this album goes deeper. It gets into the ’50s and some of it sounds like jazz, but broken down into its most basic elements and played in a very simple way. It’s more of a subtle kind of complexity and there’s an intimacy to the performances, both vocal and instrumental, that are very special. I think the sound of the piano is central to the record.”
Batmanglij went on to mention song titles such as ‘Don’t Lie’, ‘Hudson’ and ‘Unbeliever’, which the band played during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s US chat show at Halloween last year. The guitarist compared the new songs to bob Dylan and The Clash, saying his friends told him the songs sound “scary”.
Back in June, frontman Ezra Koenig admitted that working on the new LP had been a “long process” but hinted that they were nearing completion on the record.
“We always try to write and record at the same time,” he said. “So we’ve always got some ProTools session demo that tends to actually turn into the finished product. I think we have 80 per cent of the songs now.”
Koenig had previously hinted that the as-yet-untitled new album could be released later this year, but added: “I always want to release music as soon as possible, but more and more I’m realising it’s something you almost have no control over.”