Last month, Vampire Weekend gave fans new tune “Horchata” gratis. Yesterday, they released their official first single from Contra (due January 12th), the frenetic, bouncy “Cousins.” VW’s Rostam Batmanglij and Chris Baio recently sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss the genesis of the song and its live debut south of the border.
” ‘Cousins’ is a song that we recorded in Mexico City. It’s got probably the most demanding bass part Chris [Baio] has wrote for himself, and probably the most demanding drum part Chris Tomson ever did for himself,” Batmanglij says. “So it’s a demanding song.” Whereas “Horchata” was a laidback slice of California pop, the “Cousins” groove kicks off fast and the energy never stops with rapid fire drums and frenzied guitars.
After conceiving the song, Vampire Weekend quickly introduced the track to their fans. “When we were in Mexico, we were working on the song, maybe it was like a Tuesday or Wednesday and that Friday we played it in Guadalajara,” Baio told RS. “So it was sort of like ‘Okay, we’ve been chipping away at this, now we get to share it.’ “
As for whether the audience embraced “Cousins” after its live debut, Batmanglij said, “I put myself in the audience’s shoes, like when I go to see a band that I love and I hear them play a new song for the first time, there’s always an element of it’s never going to hit you the way the ones you’ve heard so many times before have. But I look at it as just kind of a gift, so you try to savor it.”