SPIN recently visited the Brooklyn apartment of Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig for the magazine’s “In My Room” section, where we show off the decor and beloved possessions of your favorite rock’n’rollers.
HOW TO VIEW EZRA’S ROOM:
Click the image at right to pop-up a full image of Ezra’s room, then scroll down on this page to read Ezra’s comments about his favorite things.
Scroll to the bottom of this page for exclusive video of Ezra explaining three more items that weren’t discussed in the magazine — including a sentimental story about his Dirty Projectors vinyl.
Yogurt and granola
“I go to great pains to find the best yogurt and granola. It’s a very easy thing to fuck up. The yogurt is Liberté, the best you can buy in New York.”
“[Food shop] Zabar’s is a lasting symbol of oldschool New York Jewish culture. I was born about 20 blocks away on the Upper West Side, but my parents quickly decamped for the suburbs. Now their kids are back in the city. Classic story. ”
“I had this hanging in my childhood bedroom in New Jersey. Ska was really important to me growing up because my dad had a lot of 2 Tone records. The Specials are a band that I shared with him.”
“This is a family heirloom. My great-aunt used to sing Russian folk songs at Coney Island, and this was hers. It’s not dissimilar to a mandolin. It’s cool to have instruments lying around because they give you different ideas. I haven’t recorded with this, though.”
“This is a bunch of different books — P.G. Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh. Evelyn Waugh is one of my favorite authors. A lot of his books were about these people in England in the ’20s living the high life. He portrays the silliness of what was really going on.”
The Very Best single
“This is for a song I did with [worldbeat band] the Very Best called ‘Warm Heart of Africa.’ The cover art is supposed to be Esau, who’s the singer, and me. Neither one really looks like us. I think it looks pretty cool anyway.”
“Tetris was a release for me when working on the new album got really stressful. Some people say video games rot your brain, but I think they work different muscles that maybe you don’t normally use. Playing Tetris for 15 minutes is like meditation.”
“I was wearing this a lot over the summer, and then Chris Baio, our bassist, sent me a picture of Juelz Santana wearing the exact same thing. I’m really interested in the cultural implications of Polo — how it’s this nexus of preppy and hip-hop.”
“I made this when I was 13. At the time, I was really into Kraftwerk. They had that song ‘The Robots,’ and to me it sounded like they were saying ‘Zee Robots.’ I never really pursued visual art. Like Emilio Estevez in Repo Man, I reached my pinnacle and moved on. Vampire Weekend is my Mighty Ducks.”
“I wore these for almost three years, from the end of college till this past summer. They went to all the Vampire Weekend shows. I started taping them up because they were getting destroyed. My girlfriend saw me in these for such a long time that other shoes look like space boots to her.”
MORE ITEMS FROM EZRA’S ROOM:
Filmed by Jennifer Edmondson
Edited by Eric Nowels
Ivy Leaguers with a knack for third-world rhythms, Vampire Weekend are comfortable with conceptual clashes, an idea hinted at by the title of the band’s upcoming sophomore effort, Contra (XL Recordings). “That word has so many connotations,” says Koenig, 25. “People my age immediately think of the video game. People my parents’ age probably think of Nicaragua. Ultimately, ‘contra’ means ‘against’ or ‘versus.'” Fittingly, the album adds new rock muscle to the breezy Afropop leanings of 2008’s self-titled debut — and, unlike that album, includes no songs about commas.