Ezra Koenig Says Kanye West Changed How He Wrote Vampire Weekend’s New Album

Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig has given another update on the band’s forthcoming new album, revealing that working with Kanye West influenced how the album will sound.

The new record will be the band’s first without founding member Rostam Batmanglij, and in an interview with Rolling Stone Koenig revealed that the experience of being in a studio with Kanye West changed the way he works and thinks about making music.

“I had this experience where I was in the studio with Kanye in Mexico,” he said. “It was so different than anything I’d done: One day [Dirty Projectors frontman] Dave Longstreth is there; the next day Big Sean shows up. Sometimes it wasn’t people working, just talking about music.

“I was, like, ‘I like this atmosphere. I need to loosen up.’ So I’ve been working with this 68-year-old guitarist, Greg Leisz, and this 18-year-old guitarist, Steve Lacy. A bunch of other people have been coming in and out. Now we’re moving into the final stage where it’s about, ‘How do you take all that energy and reduce it to the sound of the album?’ It’s tricky.”

Koenig was also asked about what the album is sounding like at this stage, and cryptically revealed that it was heading in a different direction to Vampire Weekend’s previous work.

“This is the first album I’ll be making in my thirties,” he said. “And when a band gets to their fourth album, it’s a lot like hitting your thirties and figuring out how to dress: You might love seeing the newest sweatshirt collabs from some brands you like, but at some point you pull it over your head and look in the mirror, like, “Hm. This doesn’t make sense anymore.”

Last month Koenig tweeted that the new record, which has a working title of Mitsubishi Macchiato, was 80% done.

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