Vampire Weekend‘s fourth studio album, Father Of The Bride, was an inarguably massive success. FOTB is the top-selling rock record so far this year, and the band is playing the biggest festival stages of their career so far. (They’ll play Sunday night at Glastonbury ahead of rock icons The Cure.)
But in a new interview with The Guardian, Koenig expressed some bittersweet honesty about the state of rock music right now. Where Vampire Weekend was on the cutting edge of indie rock in the mid ’00s, the “cutting edge” has moved elsewhere as fashions have changed. Hip-hop and pop are thriving right now while “indie rock,” however you may define it, has a waning relevance. But if you ask Koenig, there’s fun to be had in irrelevance.
“For a lot of people participating in music then, that was a stressful time, an existential crisis,” Koenig explained. “But a few years later, the vibe was not so much this big existential question, because to me there’d been an answer. Is rock dead? Yes. Are guitar bands relevant? Not particularly. And I enjoyed the straightforwardness of that.”
Of course, Vampire Weekend is still a massively successful band, and millions of fans would argue that guitar bands making thoughtful, empathetic music like VW’s are very relevant. But either way, the lessened pressure on Koenig resulted in some really new great music. If rock and roll is dead, long live Vampire Weekend.