The music playing when you first file into the Cort Theatre to see “This Is Our Youth” is no mere canned, off-the-shelf tune. It’s an original by a Grammy Award winner.

“I try to take every project — whether it’s an album, making just one song or doing a score like this — and enjoy it for what the limitation are and how that sets you free in other ways,” says Rostam Batmanglij, whose “Modern Vampires of the City” won the Grammy this year for best alternative album.

Batmanglij has written five classical pieces for the play — two each that bookend Acts 1 and 2 and a longer song for when theatergoers noisily arrive, rustling their Playbills and chatting. He put plenty of thought into each.

Batmanglij took inspiration from the play’s setting on the Upper West Side, which he got to know while majoring in music at Columbia University. He asked himself: What instrument is most associated with the neighborhood? He decided on a piano. So he started experimenting.

Batmanglij often records himself playing melodies with his iPhone and it turns out that Memo 471 on his device became the skeleton of one song. When he plays it, a lovely piano riff emerges, betraying the composer’s classical roots.

“I studied classical music at college so, for me, this is almost more of what I was trained to do then what I do for a living,” he said. “I hear it in everything, and I think it’s a part of all the music that I make.”

Batmanglij may be a novice when it comes to writing for the stage, but he’s penned music for films, including 2011’s “Sound of My Voice” and a piano piece for 2013 “The East,” both directed by his brother, Zal.

He said he’s loved collaborating with new people and using a different part of his brain. He also hopes the music he’s written for Broadway will have another life and even won’t rule out returning one day to write a musical.

For now, though, his day job is calling: He’s got a song coming out soon with Charli XCX, and he’s always collaborating with his Vampire Weekend bandmates. “I’ve definitely enjoyed this project a lot, but I also feel like the world of songs is calling me,” he said.
Vampire Weekend Member Makes a Broadway Play Sing (via abcnews)
Ezra Koenig performing NEW DORP. NEW YORK. at BBC Radio 1 for Zane Lowe’s Reading and Leeds Maida Vale Special

Ezra Koenig performing NEW DORP. NEW YORK. at BBC Radio 1 for Zane Lowe’s Reading and Leeds Maida Vale Special

Ezra Koenig performing NEW DORP. NEW YORK. at BBC Radio 1 for Zane Lowe’s Reading and Leeds Maida Vale Special (photos via @wxsteyrself and @Sam_Winchest3r)

SBTRKT feat. Ezra Koenig - NEW DORP. NEW YORK. (Live on BBCR1)
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NEW DORP. NEW YORK. (Live) - SBTRKT feat. Ezra Koenig

(BBC Radio 1, Reading and Leeds Maida Vale Special)

Chris Baio (Photo by Chris Tomson)

Chris Baio (Photo by Chris Tomson)

Everybody’s experience of New York is an amalgamation of the eras of New York that they loved the most, whether they were there or not, and usually when they were not there. Whether I’m writing music on the West Coast or writing it here, I’ve got New York in my blood. It’s in my DNA now.
Rostam Batmanglij (x)

This Is Our Youth, Kenneth Lonergan’s seminal play, opens in previews this week on Broadway amid a buzz rare for the revival of a play in the middle of August, traditionally a dead time for theatrical premieres. About a trio of fraught and directionless post-adolescents in 1982 Manhattan’s Upper West Side, much of the anticipation is due to its marquee cast, with Rookie magazine maven Tavi Gevinson in her first stage role, and Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin rounding out the ensemble. But hiding (or rather, playing) in plain sight is the work of Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, who scored original music for the production; like anything inspired by nineteen-year-olds, it could’ve veered angsty and piercing, but in Batmanglij’s capable hands, it becomes delicate and truly evocative of young adulthood.
When considering the era and music—the dawn of Ronald Reagan, post-disco, post-punk—you could argue it was a moment between moments, which makes the musical process somewhat of a challenge. He name-checks Arthur Russell as an influence, but Batmanglij confesses he relied on personal feelings more than anything referential. “I thought about when I was that age (nineteen, twenty-one),” he says. “I was also living in Morningside Heights, going to college, studying music. So I have all these really specific associations with that.”
Batmanglij conceived much of the music from his new home in Los Angeles where he has lived since the end of last year, after twelve fruitful years in New York. This is his first time back for any extended period, and truth be told, more than any other influence, you hear New York in every note. “Everybody’s experience of New York is an amalgamation of the eras of New York that they loved the most, whether they were there or not, and usually when they were not there,” he says. “Whether I’m writing music on the West Coast or writing it here, I’ve got New York in my blood. It’s in my DNA now.”
(via Vogue)

This Is Our Youth, Kenneth Lonergan’s seminal play, opens in previews this week on Broadway amid a buzz rare for the revival of a play in the middle of August, traditionally a dead time for theatrical premieres. About a trio of fraught and directionless post-adolescents in 1982 Manhattan’s Upper West Side, much of the anticipation is due to its marquee cast, with Rookie magazine maven Tavi Gevinson in her first stage role, and Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin rounding out the ensemble. But hiding (or rather, playing) in plain sight is the work of Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, who scored original music for the production; like anything inspired by nineteen-year-olds, it could’ve veered angsty and piercing, but in Batmanglij’s capable hands, it becomes delicate and truly evocative of young adulthood.

When considering the era and music—the dawn of Ronald Reagan, post-disco, post-punk—you could argue it was a moment between moments, which makes the musical process somewhat of a challenge. He name-checks Arthur Russell as an influence, but Batmanglij confesses he relied on personal feelings more than anything referential. “I thought about when I was that age (nineteen, twenty-one),” he says. “I was also living in Morningside Heights, going to college, studying music. So I have all these really specific associations with that.”

Batmanglij conceived much of the music from his new home in Los Angeles where he has lived since the end of last year, after twelve fruitful years in New York. This is his first time back for any extended period, and truth be told, more than any other influence, you hear New York in every note. “Everybody’s experience of New York is an amalgamation of the eras of New York that they loved the most, whether they were there or not, and usually when they were not there,” he says. “Whether I’m writing music on the West Coast or writing it here, I’ve got New York in my blood. It’s in my DNA now.”

(via Vogue)

Pitchfork’s 100 Best Albums of the Decade So Far (2010-2014) : #46 - Contra and #6 - Modern Vampires of the City

Rostam Batmanglij at  ‘This Is Our Youth’ Cast Photo Call at Cort Theatre on August 14, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas for broadway.com)

Rostam Batmanglij at  ‘This Is Our Youth’ Cast Photo Call at Cort Theatre on August 14, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas for broadway.com)

Kieran Culkin, Rostam Batmanglij, Tavi Gevinson, Michael Cera, Anna D. Shapiro and Kenneth Lonergan attend the “This Is Our Youth” Cast Photo Call at Cort Theatre on August 14, 2014 in New York City.

Composer Rostam Batmanglij, director Anna D. Shapiro and playwright Kenneth Lonergan attend the ‘This Is Our Youth’ Cast Photo Call at Cort Theatre on August 14, 2014 in New York City.

Kieran Culkin, Rostam Batmanglij, Tavi Gevinson, Michael Cera, Anna D. Shapiro and Kenneth Lonergan attend the “This Is Our Youth” Cast Photo Call at Cort Theatre on August 14, 2014 in New York City.

A member of Grammy winning alt-music band Vampire Weekend, Batmanglij pens the original music for “This Is Our Youth.” To judge from snippets overheard at the tail end of a recent tech rehearsal, the piano-based tunes have a more classical bent than the band’s fans might expect.

That doesn’t mean the score stands completely separate from his work with Vampire Weekend. “There are some little ideas you’ll hear in the score that one day might show up in a new song,” he said. “I never know where my ideas are going to come from.”

Batmanglij proved a good fit for “This Is Our Youth” in part because he used to live not far from the upper Manhattan setting of the play. He’s also, he said, an unabashed fan of “Margaret,” the 2011 film written and directed by “This Is Our Youth” playwright Kenneth Lonergan.

He’s basing his tunes for “This Is Our Youth” on his memories of his time in the neighborhood. “I want it to feel like someone’s playing it on a beat-up old upright piano right there in the apartment,” he said. “Or in the apartment next door.”
Hear Nuggets of Future Vampire Weekend Songs (Maybe) at Broadway’s ‘This Is Our Youth’ (via variety.com)
Do you have the link to when VW performed at SiriusXM Studios on March 29, 2013 in New York City?

I don’t think it’s available online but we were able to record that interview/performance! It’s one of the cutest and most fun interviews they did and it’s one of my favorites as well haha. They talked about their college days, being roomies and the dubs’ early days :’) I’m gonna try to upload it!