Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions are all the rage these days, with everyone from Dave Grohl and the National to Atoms for Peace and President Barack Obama conducting their own. Vampire Weekend joined in the fun when they led an AMA yesterday to support the release of their new album Modern Vampires of the City. The band didn’t reveal big dirt, and mostly kept things fun and witty with fans, answering questions like their plans for a massive tour, what it was like working on their live webcast with Steve Buscemi, and the status of Rostam Batmanglij’s side project, Discovery. Vampire Weekend signed posts with their initials – EK for Ezra Koenig, RB for Rostam Batmanglij, CT for Chris Tomson and CB for Chris Baio – and took turns answering questions.
Here are some highlights from the AMA session:
Are you guys going to be touring in the US more anytime soon? If so you should [definitely] play a show in Pittsburgh, PA cause that would make me so happy.
Tomson: Yes, we will have a lot more dates coming up throughout the next year and a half or so. I hope we get to Pittsburgh because thats where my sister currently lives. I love hitting up Primanti Bros!
What are your thoughts on Spotify as an artist?
Koenig: I’m down with Spotify. I don’t know all the financial details but generally it’s a great resource. I should probably “do some research.” Our label decided to wait a couple weeks before putting MVOTC up there. Struck [us] as reasonable.
Favorite TV show at the moment?
Tomson: Game of Thrones!
When was the first time you were recognized in public and what was it like?
Baio: In summer of 2008, I was walking in West village wtih my pops and a girl came up to me and said hi. I was way more nervous than she was!
Who are the top 5 most played artists on each of your mp3 players?
Tomson: The Band, Father John Misty, Miles Davis, Beach House, Ke$ha/Drake (tie)
Koenig: VAMPIRE WEEKEND, The Smiths, Drake, Jacques Brel, Drake (ft The-Dream)
1) It’s been said that Modern Vampires of the City is the final album in a sort of trilogy, starting with your self-titled debut. Do you know what direction Vampire Weekend will take after this?
2) How was working with Steve Buscemi aside from the promos you shot for Amex unstaged (they were funny by the way, but I’m interested in what working with Steve was like outside of those)
3)Are there more music videos coming?
4)What artist outside of your genre has been most influential to you?
5)What song was hardest to “transpose” into a concert setting?
1) Not exactly, BUT WE’RE EXCITED
2) He’s a brilliant guy. very funny, pleasant to be around
5) “Horchata” took a minute
Is Steve Buscemi really Chris’ cousin? What was it like working with him?
Baio: Yup! Very distant… things get crazy when you get deep into genealogy. He was a true gentleman to work with…was pretty surreal/awesome.
What is the story behind the song “Diplomat’s Son?”
Batmanglij: Ezra sent me a short story called “Diplomat’s Son” when we were in college. The last paragraph read: “I wondered, watching him bleeding on the rugby field beneath my mud-covered boot, if he was looking at me through the proscenium of a Turkish taxicab’s rumbling windshield or, perhaps, the small port window of the rickety boat which had taken him down the Ganges.”
Years later I started working on a song on my own, this was between our first and our second albums, I knew I wanted two distinct parts with two really distinct grooves but both Jamaican in feel.
I started to take the idea of the “Diplomat’s Son” and put it in a different context. I started to look at it as more of a love story than a story about competitive students. I had a vocal melody and lyrics for the chorus: “He was a diplomat’s son, It was ’81′”.
Then Ezra and I got in the studio and started working on fleshing out the song: writing a verse, and prechorus together. More sections after that. Figuring out some vocals for the bridge as well.
We added CT on drums, Baio on Bass… and the rest is history.
How do you feel about playing really intricate and layered songs in a live, stripped-back setting? What is your process for deciding which melodies need to be heard, and what can be omitted? Also, do you think an outdoor festival setting changes your performance much in comparison to an intimate indoors, VW-only gig?
Koenig: We definitely look at festivals and intimate indoor shows differently. We try to choose the set list based on the setting. Some times we try to be faithful to the recording but “Walcott,” for instance, we’ve always gone for a simpler, rockier version.
Best rap album of all time?
How did you (Ezra) end-up making a cameo in Girls?
Koenig: Me and Lena [Dunham] is friends, PLUS I’M A SICK ACTOR
Rostam, will we ever see anything from Discovery again?
Batmanglij: Yes… EVENT-CHU-ALLY. nxtlvlsht.com