In the fall of 2005, Ezra Koenig was wondering about the origins of preppiness. What was khaki and where had it come from? He had spent the previous summer traveling through India and touring across America as a member of The Dirty Projectors. That same summer, Rostam Batmanglij interned at the Oxford English Dictionary and managed to obtain the key to the harpsichord room at Columbia University. He studied film scoring downtown and rented an apartment in Morningside Heights.
At Columbia, Ezra majored in English and Rostam majored in Music. As their time at school was coming to an end, they formed Vampire Weekend with drummer Christopher Tomson and bassist Chris Baio.
With a distinct vibe in mind, they began recording and performing around New York City. Drawing on their diverse backgrounds and interests, they began experimenting and exploring the intersections of the things they loved: African guitar music, the Western classical canon, hazy memories of summers in Cape Cod, winters in upper Manhattan, reggaeton and everything else that would become a part of Vampire Weekend.
Their forthcoming first album came together over the course of 18 months, beginning in an undersized practice room on the Columbia University campus and ending in a newly christened storage space-cum-studio called the Treefort in DUMBO, Brooklyn. During this time, the band went from playing at the literary houses of their Alma Mater to selling out shows in New York at The Bowery Ballroom and the Music Hall of Williamsburg, and opening for Animal Collective at Webster Hall.
In the spring of 2007, Chris Baio began booking the band’s first national tour as he finished a degree in Russian Regional Studies (the remaining members of the band graduated in May of 2006). Ezra Koenig was preparing his eighth graders in Bed-Stuy for the city-wide English exams. Chris Tomson was ending his nine-month stay on a windowless fourth floor of a major label archive in midtown Manhattan. Rostam Batmanglij was wrapping up what will likely be his last film score for the foreseeable future. The band went in four ways on a 2004 Honda Odyssey. When they returned from their July tour they had signed to XL Recordings and seen America from coast to coast. Since finishing their album in October, the band has completed their first European Tour, opening four dates for The Shins in addition to headlining shows across the continent. The morning after Thanksgiving, they will begin their second sojourn across America.
XL Recordings released Vampire Weekend’s self-titled debut on January 29th, 2008.