On Wednesday, Rostam Batmanglij announced his departure from Vampire Weekend. “My identity as a songwriter + producer, I realized, needs to stand on its own,” he wrote on Twitter. Just three days later and Batmanglij is certainly making headway in terms of carving out his own career. Following his solo single “EOS” earlier this month, today he’s re-released a song called “Wood”.
“I wanted to try to capture the feeling of being in bed with someone, and dreaming something wild beside them,” the multi-instrumentalist notes on his official website. The track, which will be released on a 7-inch next month alongside “EOS”, dates back to 2011 when it first popped up on SoundCloud.
He explains that the song “started on an airplane — it was a beat I made on my laptop with cut up tabla and digital sitar and me trying to push myself to write the hardest, fastest, most classical violin parts I could.” He adds, “I spent years trying to figure out what to sing on top of it, even recording real string players without a vocal part written — before realizing that everything would have to clear out before my voice could enter the picture.” It was super producer Ariel Rechtshaid (HAIM, Adele, Tobias Jesso Jr.) that helped him finally finish the song.
Batmanglij calls “Wood” a “love song, it’s a queer love song. It’s my moms’ favorite thing I’ve ever done.”
Stream it below.
Below, read his full message on the song.
“‘Wood’ is finally out today on all digital music services— with a 7 inch vinyl that also has EOS coming next month. It only took 4 and a half years. Ha.
“I wanted to try to capture the feeling of being in bed with someone, and dreaming something wild beside them.
“In 2008 I moved into a tiny room in Brooklyn Heights that could fit a bed and not much else, but I loved this room to death because it had an enormous window facing the backyards of the block. A lot of time spent in my first relationship was the two of us in that bed with the sun coming through the window in the morning— and I’m sure that inspired the lyrics of this song.
“But it started on an airplane— it was a beat I made on my laptop with cut up tabla and digital sitar and me trying to push myself to write the hardest, fastest, most classical violin parts I could. I spent years trying to figure out what to sing on top of it — even recording real string players without a vocal part written —before realizing that everything would have to clear out before my voice could enter the picture.
“In 2009, my friend Mickey had started telling me about this guy he was working as an assistant to , ‘You two are both producers, you should meet.’ The guy was Ariel Rechtshaid, and we became friends right away. In the spring of 2011 I left New York to spend some time in LA.
“Me and Ariel ended up spending about ten days hanging out but not that much time actually making music in the studio, not at the same time anyway. Ariel was dealing with illness in his family. But one of the things we were able to accomplish was recording the lead vocal on ‘Wood’, it was on a sunny morning with the front door of the studio wide open. Hopefully you get some of that feeling when you listen to it.
“I had borrowed a 12 string acoustic from Matt Popieluch of Foreign Born and figured out if I tuned it like a Tar I could play the Persian music I grew up listening to. So their is a 12-string guitar solo on ‘Wood’ that quotes melodies 1000s of years old (Rast Panjgah), there’s classical music at play, it’s a love song, it’s a queer love song. It’s my moms’ favorite thing I’ve ever done.
“I’m not sure if I ever finished ‘Wood’, it’s probably longer than it needs to be. I stayed up all night in late September of 2011, hustling to bounce down a final version. In the morning I posted it to Soundcloud, I felt like if I didn’t release it I may never release it. But here it is.”