Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij has left the band, stating that: “My identity as songwriter + producer, I realized, needs to stand on its own.”
The co-founder announced Tuesday that he will leave the band to pursue solo projects and shared the news on social network site Twitter.
After forming at Columbia University in 2006 the band have gone on to record 3 studio albums with Batmanglij producing the first two and co-producing the third, Modern Vampires of the City, which went on to win the 2014 Grammy for Best Alternative Album.
In a recent interview with Pitchfork the Washington native explained his discontent with the band and his role as a musician:
“I understand the idea of me being ‘a dude in a band’, because people got to know me through Vampire Weekend, but it has caused a lot of frustration for me because I came from a different place from the get-go. Even though I’ve been making electronic music since I was 14, it’s hard for people to see you as a producer with a musical identity when you’re contextualized in a band that performs on a stage.”
However the keyboardist made it clear that he is “still connected to the people I work with, but through the songs we make together.” And that he and frontman Ezra Koenig would “continue to collaborate on future projects + future VW songs”.
In an industry where break-ups stem from financial grievances or personal differences, it’s refreshingly clear that this is all about the music: “I can’t even begin to express the joy I get from writing songs, both of my own + with others, I hold it all sacred,” he wrote. “There is so much amazing music – all of it dear to me – on its way to you. It’s an exciting time. And I feel lucky to share it with you.”
Judging by two of his previous solo releases, the wonderfully elegant “Wood” and the marching “Don’t Let it Get to You”, both released in 2011, it’s clear that Batmangli has more than enough talent to sustain a successful solo career.
This is indeed exciting times for the 32 year-old but it will be equally interesting to see how Vampire Weekend fair without their multi-instrumentalist, songwriting and producing powerhouse.
Batmanglij recently released a new track on XL Recordings entitled “EOS” – you can listen to it here.