What Rostam Did After Leaving Vampire Weekend

This Friday, Rostam will release his long-awaited debut album Half-Light. It's a beautiful, experimental and honest album that showcases all the strengths of his songwriting while taking him into different sonic spaces.

It comes just under two years after Rostam made the decision to leave his band Vampire Weekend. At the time, it may have come as a shock. The band's third album Vampires Of The Modern City was touted as the band's best and they extensively toured it, making their way close to the headline spot at many festivals.

At the time, he wrote a note saying that, "my identity as a songwriter + producer, I realized, needs to stand on its own."

And if you look at what he's done in the time since he's left the band, it makes sense. Already, before it was announced that he'd left the band he'd begun establishing himself as a pop producer. He contributed to songs on Charli XCX's Sucker and provided a Carly Rae Jepsen highlight with Warm Blood.

In the past few years, he's done more of that. He worked on Frank Ocean's Ivy off Blonde, has a credit on Solange's A Seat At The Table highlight F.U.B.U. and also was responsible for the best songs on HAIM's second album Something To Tell You (Walking Away, Kept Me Crying, Found It In Silence). 

He's a formidable producer that always brings a left-centred approach, something that he contributed to Vampire Weekend but his work in front of the mic and the camera has also proved to be spectacular. 

In 2016, he formed Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam with Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen and they released an LP together. It wasn't the collaboration that those looking for pop records would have expected. Instead it was a distinctly alternative record that saw both step into each other's world and find something stunning. 

At the same time he was also releasing his own solo tracks like Gravity Don't Pull Me. His solo work was more simple than the collaborative LP, focussing on looped instrumentals and gorgeous vocals. 

That's the same kind of aesthetic he delivers on his debut solo album Half-Light. There are moment so experimental that they'll make you dizzy and other so in focus that they'll tap into your heart immediately. 

There are glimmers of Vampire Weekend in there but ultimately it feels like more of a reflection of what Rostam has always wanted to do. For the first time ever, it's Rostam dictating the lyrics of the entire record and you're going to get to know him more than ever, from his sexuality to relationships, from philosophy to psychology. 

The record is out now! Listen here