Chris Thomson, Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij,Chris Balo
Vampire Weekend is one of those bands that doesn’t fit neatly in a box – they’re not rock, precisely. They’re not punk, and they’re certainly not pop. In fact, it’s a miracle they found a record label willing to invest in them at all.
But after the online buzz grew so loud that even tone-def record producers couldn’t ignore it, they got a record deal and even landed the musical guest slot on Saturday Night Live – easily the most reliably good part of the show.
Last week they set gay hearts a flutter with their new video, "Giving Up the Gun" featuring Joe Jonas playing tennis with Jake Gyllenhaal in short-shorts. This week, they’re doing it again as Rostam Batmanglij, the singer/keyboardist/songwriter sits down with Out.com to talk about being the gay guy in the band.
Vampire Weekend perform on MTV Unplugged
Born in 1983 in Washington, D.C. of Iranian immigrant parents, Rostam is fluent not only in multiple instruments, but in visual arts as well. He writes and sings many of the tracks from their debut album, as well as "Diplomat’s Son" from the new album, Contra. He describes it as a "six-minute dancehall song about a gay relationship."
But it’s not the first track he’s infused with a gay sensibility. "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" from his other band, Discovery, is what he calls a gay pop song, even if it was sung by Dirty Projector‘s Angel Deradoorian and not him.
With that song I was having fun, but at the same time it was honest — those lyrics are meaningful to me, they come from my heart. I was disappointed when it didn’t become a gay anthem, but, you know, it’s not too late.
For now, enjoy the motion sickness inducing video for "Cousins" from their new album Contra.