Rostam Batmanglij

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Rostam Batmanglij
Batmanglij in his home studio
Batmanglij in his home studio
Background information
Born (1983-11-28) November 28, 1983 (age 37)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
  • Record producer
  • musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • composer
  • Piano
  • keyboards
  • organ
  • vocals
  • guitar
  • bass
  • programming
  • percussion
Associated acts Edit this at Wikidata

Rostam Batmanglij (Persian: رستم باتمانقلیچ‎, IPA: [rosˈtæm bɒːtmɒːŋɢeˈliːdʒ]; born November 28, 1983),[1] known mononymously as Rostam, is an American record producer, musician, singer, songwriter, and composer. He was a founding member of the band Vampire Weekend, whose first three albums he produced.[2][3][4] He has been described as one of the greatest pop and indie-rock producers of his generation.[5] Rostam also works as a solo artist and is a member of electro-soul group Discovery. He produced his first number one album when he was 27 years old, Vampire Weekend's Contra.[6]

Batmanglij has been nominated for three Grammy Awards: twice for Best Alternative Music Album with Vampire Weekend (winning for Modern Vampires of the City), and once for Album of the Year as producer of Haim's Women in Music Pt. III.[7]

Early life[edit]

Batmanglij was born to Iranian parents, and grew up in Washington, D.C. His mother is a cookbook author Najmieh Batmanglij while his father is a publisher. His parents arrived in D.C. in 1983.[8] His brother is independent filmmaker Zal Batmanglij. The two have collaborated on multiple projects. They worked together on the film Sound of My Voice, which Rostam scored and which Zal directed and co-wrote.[9] Rostam also composed an original piece for piano that was featured in Zal's film The East.[10] Most recently, Rostam composed the music for both seasons of Zal's television series The OA.[11]

Musical career[edit]

Vampire Weekend[edit]

Batmanglij (left) with Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend

Batmanglij majored in music at Columbia University where he joined the band Vampire Weekend in 2006.[12] "At Columbia, I would study classical harmony in classes and I would study music on my own, and I would try to re-create songs that I love in recordings...that was really how I learned."[13] The name of the group comes from the movie of the same name that bandmate Ezra Koenig and his friends made over summer vacations. Batmanglij produced their self-titled debut album shortly after graduation while concurrently working multiple full-time jobs. He also produced the band's follow up album, Contra, which sold 124,000 copies in its first week and landed atop the Billboard 200 charts.[14] Batmanglij plays guitar, keyboard and sings in the band but also acts as a lyricist and songwriter, co-writing the song "Diplomat's Son" on Contra. Koenig has described himself and Batmanglij as "the two main songwriters in the band."[15]

On March 18, 2013, Vampire Weekend released two songs from their album Modern Vampires of the City, "Diane Young" and "Step". Within two weeks each song had garnered more than 1 million views on YouTube. Music for both songs is credited to Batmanglij and Koenig, and lyrics are credited to Koenig. Modern Vampires of the City is the first Vampire Weekend album Batmanglij did not produce alone; for this record he collaborated with longtime friend Ariel Rechtshaid and the two co-produced the album together. It was released May 14, 2013.[16]

On January 26, 2016, Batmanglij announced on Twitter that he had left Vampire Weekend to pursue solo projects, but that he would continue to collaborate with Koenig on future projects and Vampire Weekend songs.[17]


Batmanglij began recording with Ra Ra Riot's vocalist Wes Miles on a project which was later to become Discovery. They released their debut album LP on July 7, 2009, on XL Recordings. The album features guest vocal contributions from Koenig as well as Dirty Projectors' Angel Deradoorian.[18]

In 2015, Batmanglij produced and contributed vocals on the song "Water" for Ra Ra Riot's fourth album Need Your Light.

Solo work[edit]

In September 2011, Batmanglij released a solo track called "Wood". Time Out Chicago's Brent DiCrescenzo gave the song 4 out of 5 stars and wrote that "his voice pleasantly recalls a drowsy David Byrne".[19] On November 1, 2011, Zane Lowe debuted another a solo song sung by Batmanglij called "Don't Let it Get to You" as the Hottest Record in the World on BBC Radio1.[20] The Fader referred to it as "a seismic event of a song."[21] In January 2016, Batmanglij released the song "EOS" along with its music video which he had directed.[22] On March 11, 2016, Batmanglij released the song "Gravity Don't Pull Me" along with its music video directed by Batmanglij and Josh Goleman.[23] The video was filmed at The 1896 and features dancers Jack Grabow and Sam Asa Pratt.

On November 27, 2016, Rostam teased his new solo album, to be released in 2017.[24] In the spring of 2017, Rostam released two songs from that album: "Gwan," released on April 26[25] and "Bike Dream," on June 14. With the release of "Bike Dream," Rostam revealed that his debut solo album would be titled Half-Light and released on September 8, 2017.[26]

On September 12, 2018, Rostam self-released a new single, "In a River."[27] On October 15, 2020, Rostam self-released another new single, "Unfold You".[28]

On February 2, 2021, Rostam self-released a new single, “These Kids We Knew,” and teased an upcoming album release.[29] Exactly one month later, Batmanglij confirmed the release of his sophomore solo album entitled Changephobia on June 4, as well as releasing a single from the album called "4Runner."[30]

Collaborative work[edit]

In 2010, Converse released "All Summer", written by Batmanglij and featured Kid Cudi and Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast.[31]

Batmanglij produced and co-wrote two songs for The Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser's solo album, Black Hours, which was released in June 2014.[32][33] Also in 2014, Batmanglij produced two songs for singer Charli XCX. The song "Need Ur Luv" appears on her album Sucker[34] and the song "Kingdom" featuring Simon Le Bon appears on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.[35] In December 2014, Batmanglij along with Diplo and Ed Droste remixed Ty Dolla Sign's "Stand For" into a new song titled "Long Way Home".[36] Batmanglij also wrote original music for a play by Kenneth Lonergan called This Is Our Youth, starring Kieran Culkin, Michael Cera, and Tavi Gevinson, which premiered on Broadway in 2014.

In 2015, Batmanglij worked alongside Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen on her third studio album, E•MO•TION. In an interview with Stereogum, Jepsen described working with Batmanglij as writing with a musician she admires, and said that together they had made "what’s maybe one of [her] favorite songs" on the record.[37] Batmanglij produced and co-wrote the fourth single, "Warm Blood", which was released on July 31, 2015.[38] E•MO•TION was released worldwide on August 21, 2015.[39]

In 2016, he formed Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam with Hamilton Leithauser of The Walkmen. They released the single "1000 Times" in July 2016, which they performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on September 12, 2016.[40] Their song "In a Black Out" was featured in a commercial for the Apple iPhone 7. Their debut album, I Had a Dream That You Were Mine was released on September 23, 2016.[41]

Batmanglij produced and co-wrote the song "Listen to Your Friends" from English singer Declan McKenna's debut album What Do You Think About the Car?, which was released in July 2017.[42][43]

Personal life[edit]

Batmanglij is gay and talked about his sexual orientation in the magazine Out.[44] In an Instagram post in 2015, he said that Ed Droste of the band Grizzly Bear influenced his decision to publicly come out.[45]

Production discography[edit]

Albums where Rostam is producer on every track:

Vampire Weekend


Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam





Title Year Album
"Wood" (commercially reissued in 2016) 2011 Half-Light
"Don't Let It Get To You"
"EOS" 2016
"Gravity Don't Pull Me" non-album single
"Gwan" 2017 Half-Light
"Bike Dream"
"Half-Light" (featuring Kelly Zutrau)
"In A River" 2018 non-album single
"Unfold You"[46] 2020 Changephobia
"These Kids We Knew" 2021

Compositions for film and theatre[edit]

Other contributions[edit]

Title Year Lead artist Album Credit(s)
Writing Production Instrumentation Vocals Arrangement Engineering Mixing
"Two Young Sheeps" 2006 Dirty Projectors New Attitude Flute, percussion
"You and Your Heart (Boys Like Us Remix)" 2010 Jack Johnson To the Sea Remix
"What To Say (Boys Like Us Remix)" Born Ruffians Say It Remix
"Boots of Danger (Boys Like Us Remix)" Tokyo Police Club Champ Remix
"White Knuckles (Boys Like Us Remix)" OK Go Twelve Remixes of Four Songs Remix
"The Trick" 2011 Das Racist Relax Yes
"Robin Egg Blue (Gun Drum Mix)" Cass McCombs Humor Risk Remix
"Completely Not Me" 2014 Jenny Lewis Girls, Volume 2: All Adventurous Women Do… Yes
"Alexandra" Hamilton Leithauser Black Hours Yes Yes Acoustic guitar, harmonica, piano, harpsichord, tambourine, shaker Backing Yes
"I Retired" Yes Yes Slide guitar, piano, electric bass, harpsichord, tambourine, shaker Shoo-bi-do-waps Yes
"Wedding Day" Anand Wilder & Maxwell Kardon Break Line Backing Additional
"Kingdom" (featuring Simon Le Bon) Charli XCX The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Yes Yes
"Need Ur Luv" Sucker Yes Yes
"Die Tonight" Yes
"Warm Blood" 2015 Carly Rae Jepsen Emotion Yes Yes Drum and synth programming, keyboards, piano Yes
"Water" 2016 Ra Ra Riot Need Your Light Yes Yes Drum and synth programming, synthesizer, percussion, arrangement Yes Yes Yes
"I Need Your Light" Yes Yes Drum and synth programming, hi-hat, bass, guitar Yes Yes
"Big Boss Big Time Business" Santigold 99¢ Yes Additional
"Chasing Shadows" Yes Yes Yes
"Outside the War" Yes Keyboards
"Run the Races" Yes Co
"Who I Thought You Were" Synthesizer, programming
"Beating Myself Up" CuckooLander non-album single Yes Yes Guitar, drum and synth programming, keyboards, piano, tambourine Yes Yes Yes
"Ivy" Frank Ocean Blonde Yes Yes
"Seigfried" Yes Keyboards
"Comeback" Francis and the Lights Farewell, Starlite! Yes Yes
"My City’s Gone" Yes Yes
"Friends" Yes Yes
"My House" Tokyo Police Club Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness: Part Two Yes Keyboards Backing Yes
"F.U.B.U." Solange A Seat at the Table Additional horn Piano, organ, shaker
"Hand in the Fire" (featuring Charli XCX) Mr. Oizo All Wet Yes
"Little of Your Love" 2017 Haim Something to Tell You Additional
"Kept Me Crying" Yes Yes Synthesizer, piano Yes
"Found It in Silence" Additional Synthesizer, acoustic guitar
"Walking Away" Yes Yes Drum programming, synthesizer, organ Backing Yes
"Water’s Running Dry" Yes Yes Synthesizer, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, Moog bass String
"This Song" (featuring Rostam) RAC EGO Yes Yes Featured Yes
"Listen to Your Friends" Declan McKenna What Do You Think About the Car? Yes Yes
"Deadstream (Rostam version)" (featuring Charli XCX) Jim-E Stack It’s Jim-ee Yes Yes
"Moments Noticed" Additional
"Cane" (featuring Ibeyi) 2018 Everything is Recorded Everything is Recorded by Richard Russell Synthesizer
"Hard Rain" Lykke Li So Sad So Sexy Yes Yes Piano, programming, synthesizer Backing
"Fallingwater" Maggie Rogers Heard It in a Past Life Yes Yes Piano, drums, programming, synthesizer, guitar, shaker Backing Yes
"Do You Wanna Dance" Cosha R.I.P. Bonzai Yes Yes Guitar, programming, synthesizer Backing Yes Yes
"Luv" Yes Yes Guitar, programming, synthesizer Backing Yes Yes
"You're Not Wrong" Wet Still Run Yes Synthesizer, piano, electric guitar, bass Yes
"This Woman Loves You" Yes Acoustic guitar, drums, electric guitar, Mandolin, slide guitar, synthesizer Yes
"Harmony Hall" 2019 Vampire Weekend Father of the Bride Additional
"We Belong Together" (featuring Danielle Haim) Yes Yes Yes Yes
"Summer Girl" 2019 Haim Women in Music Pt. III Yes Yes Acoustic guitar, slide guitar, organ, synthesizer, shaker, drum programming Yes Yes


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