After nearly a decade of playing with Vampire Weekend, Rostam Batmanglij has announced he is leaving the band.
The songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist announced the news on Twitter this afternoon, writing, “My identity as a songwriter + producer, I realized, needs to stand on its own.” He added that he’ll “continue to collaborate on future projects” with Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig, as well as new songs with the band.
— Rostam Batmanglij (@matsoR) January 26, 2016
Batmanglij has played guitar and keyboard for Vampire Weekend since co-founding the band at New York’s Columbia University in 2006. He’s also been one of its most important creative forces, having single-handedly produced VW’s 2008 self-titled debut album, as well as its 2010 follow-up, Contra. He split production duties with Ariel Rechtshaid on the band’s latest album, 2013’s Modern Vampires Of The City.
Aside from Vampire Weekend, Batmanglij has written and produced tracks for a growing number of artists, including Charli XCX, Carly Rae Jepsen and Ra Ra Riot. Earlier this month, he released a solo song called “EOS” via XL Recordings.
In a recent interview with Pitchfork, Batmanglij hinted at his desire to focus on production, saying, “I understand the idea of me being ‘a dude in a band,’ because people got to know me through Vampire Weekend, but it has caused a lot of frustration for me because I came from a different place from the get-go. Even though I’ve been making electronic music since I was 14, it’s hard for people to see you as a producer with a musical identity when you’re contextualized in a band that performs on a stage.”