vam­pire

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

this weird thing where to even know about cer­tain things or have cer­tain banks of knowl­edge is to push your­self into some cor­ner as an elit­ist. It’s a hor­ri­ble idea, the no­tion that ed­u­ca­tion is linked to a spe­cific, snobby way of life.”

As for oc­ca­sional sneer­ing at the con­tent of their songs. “It seems that writ­ing a smart song or even a song which ref­er­ences some­thing like a Mansard roof gives peo­ple a cer­tain im­pres­sion of who you are, which in­evitably turns out to be wrong.

“What’s funny is that the mu­sic which has in­spired me the most is hip-hop, and it is full of ob­scure ref­er­ences to all kinds of things from all around the world. The fact that singing about some­thing ob­scure or not well known can make you an elit­ist is funny when you break it down and com­pare it with rap lyrics. I find that some of the most pre­ten­tious lyrics are talk­ing about very vague, gen­er­alised things.”

He re­mem­bers his Ivy League days fondly, though this doesn’t mean he will go around

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sport­ing a Columbia sweat­shirt at week­ends. “That’s what an in­vest­ment banker will wear as his badge of iden­tity with his alma mater. We don’t own any of those sweat­shirts, so our con­nec­tion is through our songs.

“It’s im­por­tant to say that peo­ple do have their own in­di­vid­ual ex­pe­ri­ences at col­lege, and Columbia to us was about the band. Columbia is known to be an aca­dem­i­cally rig­or­ous good school, but that doesn’t mean that ev­ery­one there is smart or got in be­cause of their su­per-good grades or are ded­i­cated to the pur­suit of knowl­edge. Some peo­ple might want to go to a good school be­cause it will help them get a high-pay­ing job af­ter­wards.

“The im­age of col­lege we can re­late to is a place where you can ded­i­cate your­self to read­ing books and learn­ing for a few years. It’s a unique ex­pe­ri­ence which most peo­ple have to give up af­ter col­lege for the rest of their lives.”

When he grad­u­ated, Koenig landed a job in a school in Brook­lyn. Teach­ing English and His­tory to teenagers, in that year be­fore the band took over his life, was an eye-opener af­ter his clois­tered col­lege years.

“I came from a cul­ture where you could re­lax a lot, pick the classes you wanted to go to and hang out with your friends. It was so in­tense to go from that into a sit­u­a­tion where you had to try to be some kind of author­ity fig­ure im­pos­ing dis­ci­pline. I liked the kids and the ex­pe­ri­ence, but it was rough.”

Koenig won’t likely be go­ing back to that job any­time soon, yet he fer­vently be­lieves that there’s more to life than Vam­pire Week­end. You get the sense that he might well walk away from all this if some­thing else came along to pique his cu­rios­ity.

“We’ve been very for­tu­nate be­cause things have hap­pened so quickly for us. It’s fairly mind-blow­ing to be do­ing th­ese tours and play­ing th­ese fes­ti­vals. But I think all of us feel that this is not the only thing we could be do­ing. It’s im­por­tant for peo­ple to try other things in their lives. As much as I love pop mu­sic and how im­por­tant it is to me, I know there are other things I might like to try.”

For ex­am­ple, he could al­ways pick up where he left off with his In­ter­net Vibes blog, which gave him the space to write about ev­ery­thing from Ivy League sports­wear to ru­mi­na­tions on why the pop­u­la­tion of Ire­land is so small.

“I liked do­ing the blog be­cause it al­lowed me to for­mu­late my thoughts. In terms of start­ing it up again and hav­ing a nor­mal blog as op­posed to hav­ing a band blog, I just don’t think I have the time right now to be an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant. I think most peo­ple would just see it as a Vam­pire Week­end blog and I don’t want that.”

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