Music

How Vagabon’s Ever-Shifting Debut ‘Infinite Worlds’ Helped Laetitia Tamko Explore Herself

Vagabon’s debut Infinite Worlds is a coming of age record. Across the course of eight songs — and the several years over which various versions of the tracks were honed — Laetitia Tamko literally grew up, found her musical impulses, tested the boundaries of genre, and came into her own. Following an initial EP called Persian Garden that came out in fall of 2014, Vagabon has been a fixture in the Brooklyn DIY scene, poised on the cusp of national breakout. That break has finally come, with the release of the Tamko’s first official full-length coming tomorrow.

In the two years since Persian Garden, Tamko has been consistently touring, and working upstate at Salvation Recording Co. in New Paltz with Chris Daly to hone the tracks into the versions they appear on Infinite Worlds. Several of them appeared on the EP but exist in fuller forms here, all of them easily span signifiers like folk, rock, and pop, leapfrogging back and forth between gentle strumming with an emphasis on songwriting, and towering, fuzzed-out breakdowns.

To her credit, Tamko is fantastic at building songs from a small, sweet center, and blowing them out into dark, surging rock anthems. This juxtaposition makes Infinite Worlds live up to its name, and also makes it easily one of the most interesting, diverse records I’ve heard this year. Many artists are able to experiment with genre and tone throughout various tracks on their albums — Tamko does it within the same song, but maintains enough cohesion that these songs never feel disjointed in the exploration process. We corresponded via email about her experience with her debut, songwriting process, and who else she’s been listening to lately.

A couple of these songs are reworked versions that appeared on your initial Persian Garden EP. Can you explain how and why you resettled them in the album versions?

I toured Persian Garden for two years — six songs for two years! [Laughs] So finding new ways to play these songs on tours made way for these new recorded arrangements.

Something I love about the record is the diversity of styles and sounds — there’s gentler folk overtones, prog-rock, more straightforward indie rock, etc. How do you balance incorporating so many different styles while maintaining your own personal theme as Vagabon?

I wasn’t trying to actively incorporate different styles. This album was written over a solid amount of time so my songwriting style was/is constantly changing.

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