Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig Talks 'Father Of The Bride', Seinfeld, And Growing Up

October 1, 2019

© Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press via Imagn Content Services, LLC

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Mark got to spend some quality time with Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend before their show at Toyota Music Factory. He spoke about growing up gracefully with their audience, Seinfeld (of course) and catching feelings on an airplane. Father of the Bride, the new record from Vampy Weeks, is out now. 

In the interview, Koenig discussed why the band took a nearly six-year break. "The first five or six years of the band was just such a whirlwind. You know making three albums in five years, you know some people keep that pace up forever. But I felt like with the third album we barely got it across the finish line...it seemed like a very natural time to take a break. And the first year or two I wasn't really interested in going to the studio," Koenig said. Adding, "I just needed a break from music."

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During that break from Music Koenig did a number of things including creating a Netflix animated series with Jaden Smith Neo Yokio, and starting his own radio show, Time Crisis with Ezra Koenig. Mark asked Koenighow he decided to launch a radio show.  "It happened because Zane Lowe, who was originally at Radio One in England, he was hired to run and build Beats1 for Apple...he was like, "I just always thought you'd be good at doing a radio show." and I was like, "Huh, okay, I'll try it." So it's only because he asked me," Koenig said

"Now it's somewhere between a radio show and a podcast, and I do it with my buddy Jake. It's been kind of cool to see it have it's dedicated cult following," He added.

The fourth studio album from Vampire Weekend, Father of the Bride was released on May 3rd earlier this year and is the group's first album since 2013. The album features numerous collaborators including Steve Lacy, Dave Macklovitch of Chromeo, DJ Dahi, Sam Gendel, BloodPop, Mark Ronson, and Batmangliij. Danielle Haim is featured in three duets throughout the album and contributes backing vocals throughout the album. Koenig said that a duet partner is something he's always been interested in, "Before I knew it was going to be Danielle, which in retrospect makes perfect sense, it really just existed as this idea of a series of duets, and I always kind of admired old school country songwriting. Especially the duets," Koenig said.

He continued, "There is something always interesting about that to me. Two voices coming together. Multiple times. So I like this idea that you find a duet partner and you don't just stick'em on one song to cross that box off. You do a few songs with them." Adding, "Our voices[Koenig and Haim> sound good together, and she's got such a great voice and is such a great musician. I was kind of like, "Oh yea, of course." It makes a lot of sense."

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With several collaborators on Father of the Bride, Mark asked Koenig if he saw the band continuing to use their platform to collaborate with other artists. "I like the idea of it...Very very few people in the same way with the same people year in year out. Almost nobody, even going back to the 60s," Koenig said.

"Some of the greatest songwriters and musicians of all-time saw the need and the excitement of mixing it up and bringing different people into it. So I think sometimes there's this idea of a core of people, and sometimes a producer can swap in and swap out. But Vampire Weekend has never been like that. From the earliest days, we'd try all sorts of stuff in the studio. We'd bring in different people to play. We'd mix things up," Koenig said. Adding, "That's kinda built into our DNA. So the idea of opening the doors more, it just seems natural." 

Listen to Mark's complete interview with Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend in the audio above.