Rostam plays songs from 'Half Light' and a Nick Drake cover in The Current studio

Rostam in The Current studio
Rostam in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
Rostam performs in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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| 00:23:31
  • Rostam performs in The Current studio (full session + interview) 23:31
  • Rostam - Gwan (Live on The Current) 04:55
  • Rostam - Half Light (Live on The Current) 03:43
  • Rostam - Pink Moon (Nick Drake cover) (Live on The Current) 02:40

Listening to Rostam and his band perform the song "Gwan," you can hear hints of Vampire Weekend. You can also hear hints of Aaron Copland. Neither should come as a surprise.

Rostam Batmanglij, who works on a first-name basis, had studied music at Columbia University, where he also joined the band Vampire Weekend. In 2016, Rostam left Vampire Weekend on amicable terms to pursue music in his own way, be it producing, composing or performing. "I feel lucky," Rostam says. "I feel like I get to do all the things that I love to do."

Rostam is now touring in support of his 2017 album, Half Light. In town for a show at the Fine Line Music Café in Minneapolis, Rostam and his band stopped at The Current studio for a session hosted by Oake & Riley.

What's particularly interesting about Rostam's backing band is that it consists of a string quartet — Wynton Grant, first violin; Nick Kennerly, second violin; Julian McClanahan, viola; David Tangley, cello — and percussionist Jeff Curtin. In the song "Gwan," the strings are definitely out front in the mix. "That was kind of what I was going for, actually," Rostam explains. "I was literally saying, 'What happens if you write the string parts first and then write the song around it?' So that's actually how 'Gwan' was written. It started with the string parts."

It's all part of Rostam's desire to explore music on his terms, applying his musical knowledge and doing what he loves. "Whether I'm a member of a band and producing the record, or whether someone just walks into my studio who I'm a fan of and they want to work with me, I'm going to give them the same amount — which is all of myself," he says.

Use the audio player above to listen to the complete in-studio session.

Songs Performed

"Half Light"
"Pink Moon" (Nick Drake cover)
Original songs are from Rostam's 2017 album, Half Light, available on Nonesuch Records.

Hosted by Brian Oake and Jill Riley
Produced by Anna Reed
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Luke Taylor


Rostam - official site

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1 Photos

  • Rostam, 'Half Light'
    Rostam, 'Half Light' (Nonesuch Records)

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