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Vampire Weekend are working with Steve Lacy on their new album

Ezra Koenig says a studio session with Kanye West helped him “loosen up” about collaborators.

Photographer Gunner Stahl
October 03, 2017

In between making an anime-inspired Netflix series with Jaden Smith, Ezra Koenig and the rest of Vampire Weekend are busy making their fourth album. Koenig has been speaking about the band's new material while promoting Neo Yokio and, in a new interview with Rolling Stone, he revealed a couple of interesting collaborators they have welcomed into the fold.

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Koenig explained that a studio session with Kanye West he attended in Mexico convinced him of the benefits of working with those outside your immediate circle. "I had this experience where I was in the studio with Kanye in Mexico, and it was so different than anything I’d done: One day Dave Longstreth is there; the next day Big Sean shows up," Koenig said. "Sometimes it wasn’t people working, just talking about music. I was, like, 'I like this atmosphere. I need to loosen up.'

This relaxing of the rules has led to bringing in two guitarists from different generations. "So I’ve been working with this 68-year-old guitarist, Greg Leisz, and this 18-year-old guitarist, Steve Lacy," he added. "A bunch of other people have been coming in and out. Now we’re moving into the final stage where it’s about, 'How do you take all that energy and reduce it to the sound of the album?' It’s tricky."

Vampire Weekend has space for an extra guitarist after founding member Rostam Batmanglij left the group in 2016. The working title for their fourth album is Mitsubishi Macchiato.