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Vampire Weekend Get Discursive With 'Vampire Campfire' Podcast

The trio – Ezra Koenig, Chris Baio and Chris Tomson – gather around a firepit to discuss upcoming album 'Only God Was Above Us,' among many other things.

qthe th wave of ska vampirecampfireepisode
Source: Screenshot via YouTube

The band's fifth album is due out on April 5.

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Indie rock band Vampire Weekend is gearing up to release a new album, so earlier this week its members did what most musicians would do to stir up excitement among the fanbase: they sat around a firepit and created a lo-fi style podcast to talk about their unsuccessful attempts to kickstart "the 4th wave of ska." But don't take our word for it. Watch the first episode below.

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Source: © Vampire Weekend/YouTube

“The 4th Wave of Ska” | Vampire Campfire Episode 01

The trio – Ezra Koenig, Chris Baio and Chris Tomson – ostensibly staged this conversational clip (directed by Tom Mull) to discuss the band's upcoming fifth album, Only God Was Above Us, scheduled to drop April 5. This will be their first new material since 2019's Grammy-winning Father of the Bride.

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Vampire Weekend and company crash the Grammy red carpet in 2020.

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In the video/podcast, Koenig, Baio and Thomson ruse laconic on several topics, including OGWAU, starting by mentioning the two songs that have already been released, "Capricorn" and "Gen-X Cops."

"We're in this weird zone right now," Koenig points out. "Where we announced the album, I think the art tells a story, the video tells a story and of course, the songs tell a story. But this is the modern world. You gotta create content. You gotta do press. And I found that in the past, people start asking about your influences or what the album's about –"

"You could say something impressionistic," Tomson interjects. "And that ends up setting a narrative or tone that is more serious than one might have intended."

"Exactly," Koening responds.

A few minutes later, Koenig pulls out his phone and recites a glorious stream-of-conscious piece of poetry that lists his "influences," among them "whirling dervishes," "mistaken memories of medieval Manhattan," "New Wave hot dogs," and each member of the Wu-Tang Clan.

qthe th wave of skavampire campfire episode
Source: Screenshot via YouTube

“The 4th Wave of Ska” | Vampire Campfire Episode 01

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In addition to some moments of buttoned-down absurdity, the band do discuss some interesting topics, such as Koenig's memories of offhandedly mentioning Kacey Musgraves as an influence in an interview prior to the release of Father of the Bride, only to see the phrase "inspired by Kacey Musgraves" crop up to an unwarranted degree in subsequent discussions of the album.

Vampire Weekend's unusually discursive, often obscure approach to pre-album-release promotion also cropped up earlier last year, when Tomson remarked through the band's newsletter in July (via NME) that the new album had its genesis when frontperson Koenig "took a raga singing lesson with Terry Riley in rural Japan and wrote what he considers to be seven of his all-time top 10 best songs."

If you're not familiar with Riley, he is known as one of the inspirations for Pete Townshend's epic anthem "Baba O'Riley." However, it's his legacy work as a pioneer in electronic music and his long-lasting association with the Kronos Quartet that he is most aligned with, and he's currently performing and teaching (at the age of 88) as an Indian raga vocalist and pianist.

Wherever this new fireside podcast may lead the band, what we do know is that OGWAU is on its way. As is a full-blown tour with several festival dates sprinkled in, including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival April 25–May 4, the Kilby Block Party in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah May 10–12, the Primavera Sound 2024 in Barcelona May 29–June 2, and headlining the Hinterland Festival in Saint Charles, Iowa August 2–4.


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