ROSTAM Premieres Two New Songs & Talks Vampire Weekend

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Photo by Brian Lowe
Photo by Brian Lowe (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

ROSTAM has been exploring many avenues of musical creativity since his announcement earlier this year that he was parting ways with Vampire Weekend, a band he played in, produced and toured with since the band’s formation.

From the beginning it seemed like the separation was on good terms, with singer Ezra Koenig tweeting words of encouragement. Rostam took a moment this morning to clarify his intentions.

As he told Jason Bentley on MBE, “there’s no actual clear lines drawn as to what the future holds” and he wanted the future to be open to whatever he wanted to do – solo, with other artists and with Vampire Weekend.

Instead of seeing it as a door closing — and the negative connotation that accompanies that — he says “ there’s something really lovely about that openness.”

The producer/multi-instrumentalist/singer joined us in studio for a chat and Guest DJ set in advance of his first proper solo show on the West Coast, taking place later this month at The Broad.

He shared a solo song called “Gwan” that featured beautiful classical arrangements (reminiscent of  “Wood”, released earlier this year). He said he’s excited about releasing music in an non-traditional way at the moment – specifically, he has no immediate plans to put out a full record and likes the “freeform nature” of sharing songs and seeing what happens next.

However, he adds that everything he’s released so far is part of the same record that will come out at some point in the future.

He also premiered a track from his upcoming collaboration with Hamilton Leithauser (of The Walkmen). The album, “I Had A Dream That You Were Mine”, will be out September 23rd.

Find the full session here and check out the setlist below! You can hear the tracks at 13:15 and 31:13 respectively.

His Guest DJ  theme: songs with strings.

“It’s a tradition that I really love. The string arrangement in a song is something that I care about a lot.”
(He will be performing with a string quartet at the Broad)


1. Baby – Gal Costa and Caetano Veloso
2. ROSTAM – Gwan **premiere
3. Daydreaming – Radiohead
4. Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam – Sick as a Dog **premiere
5. Stand By Me – Ben E King
6. Rast – Panjgah – Hatam Askari and Dariush Safvat

Last but not least, he had some really interesting things to say about what the role of a producer is in modern music:

“A producer is such an open word, but I think ultimately it means that you either start the song or you’re responsible for finishing it.

Technically the producer is whoever is hired to turn in the final master recording, an approved master recording. Whatever it is.

But then with hip-hop in the 80s, the producer became the person responsible for all of the music. The beat. And that is what I do as a producer, it’s quite a big part of what I do as a producer. So in that way, I feel connected to that tradition of the beat-maker.

Now, in 2016, the notion of what a beat is has been blown wide open. And maybe now a beat doesn’t even have drums. So in that way, the whole system has opened up. And it is somewhat nebulous. Pretty much every recording I’ve been a part of I’ve been producer on. So I guess I just feel like it’s part of my identity.”