There’s a chance that you’re reading this, and you don’t yet know the name ROSTAM. If that’s the case, then…what’s wrong with you? You really should know this guy by now. As a matter of fact, even if you don’t, I’m willing to bet you’ve heard his music before. But I digress. Because, regardless, if you don’t know ROSTAM’s name yet, you’re going to know it—and you’re going to love to hear it—very soon.
As one of the founding members and principal songwriters for Vampire Weekend, Rostam Batmanglij’s musical influences, and the sound that he brings to each project he contributes to, is unmistakable from anyone else working today. Born to Iranian refugee parents, he has invoked worldly influences and a unique sonic presence to all three Vampire Weekend albums; and, as a producer, he’s done the same with other innovative talents, including Charli XCX, Solange, Carly Rae Jepsen (among others) in the past few years alone. And last year he teamed up with Jamie XX and Frank Ocean for “Ivy,” one of the best songs in Ocean’s incredibly impressive catalogue.
Rostam left his full-time post as a member of Vampire Weekend early in 2016, but said that he would continue to collaborate with Ezra Koenig on VW songs in the future; in the meantime, he’s embarked on his own solo career, and has put out a few singles. Last summer he made his first-ever live performance at Northside Festival right here in Brooklyn, opening for the legendary Brian Wilson. Perhaps his most notable post-VW project was his collaboration with former Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser, and their album I Had A Dream That You Were Mine, which was also one of our favorite albums of the year.
As summer 2017 inches closer and closer, ROSTAM seems to be inching closer and closer towards his own full-fledged solo stardom. He’s in the midst of a series of solo tour dates (his first since opening for Wilson last summer), beginning last night in Washington D.C., and continuing in NYC tonight for a show at Bowery Ballroom.
The tour comes not long after the release of his latest single “Gwan,” and its accompanying video. It’s immediately clear upon listening that the song is cut from the same cloth as ROSTAM’s VW work, and it’s a song that—like many Vampire Weekend songs—you simply can’t listen to just once. According to ROSTAM, others have told him the track sounds “eastern”; he says that he’s just following his instincts. Luckily, the multi-instrumentalist will continue to play and release new music on this tour and throughout the summer, because I just love it so much. And finally, his debut solo album is expected to be released sometime in the relatively-near future—and I just can’t wait to see what’s in store.
General Admission Tickets for ROSTAM’s show are available here for $20
Photo by Tara Ziemba