Batmanglij in his home studio
|Born||November 28, 1983|
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Rostam Batmanglij (Persian: رستم باتمانقلیچ, IPA: [rosˈtæm bɒːtmɒːŋɢeˈliːdʒ]; born November 28, 1983), known mononymously as Rostam, is an American producer, songwriter, and composer. He was a founding member of the band Vampire Weekend, whose first three albums he produced. He has been described as one of the great pop and indie-rock producers of his generation. 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.
Batmanglij was born to Iranian/Persian parents, and grew up in Washington, D.C. His mother is cookbook author Najmieh Batmanglij while his father is a publisher. His parents arrived in D.C. in 1983. 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. Rostam also composed an original piece for piano that was featured in Zal's film The East. Most recently, Rostam composed the music for both seasons of Zal's television series The OA.
Batmanglij majored in music at Columbia University where he joined the band Vampire Weekend in 2006. "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." 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. 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."
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.
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.
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.
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". 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. The Fader referred to it as "a seismic event of a song." In January 2016, Batmanglij released the song "EOS" along with its music video which he had directed. On March 11, 2016, Batmanglij released the song "Gravity Don't Pull Me" along with its music video directed by Batmanglij and Josh Goleman. 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. In the spring of 2017, Rostam released two songs from that album: "Gwan," released on April 26 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.
On September 12, 2018, Rostam self-released a new single, "In a River."
Batmanglij produced and co-wrote two songs for The Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser's solo album, Black Hours, which was released in June 2014. Also in 2014, Batmanglij produced two songs for singer Charli XCX. The song "Need Ur Luv" appears on her album Sucker and the song "Kingdom" featuring Simon Le Bon appears on The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. 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". 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. Batmanglij produced and co-wrote the fourth single, "Warm Blood", which was released on July 31, 2015. E•MO•TION was released worldwide on August 21, 2015.
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. 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.
Batmanglij is gay and talked about his sexual orientation in the magazine Out. In an Instagram post in 2015, he said that Ed Droste of the band Grizzly Bear influenced his decision to publicly come out.
Albums where Rostam is producer on every track:
- LP (2009)
Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam
- Half-Light (2017)
- Immunity (2019)
- Women in Music Pt. III (2020)
|"Wood" (commercially reissued in 2016)||2011||Half-Light|
|"Don't Let It Get To You"|
|"Gravity Don't Pull Me"||non-album single|
|"Half-Light" (featuring Kelly Zutrau)|
|"In A River"||2018||non-album single|
Compositions for film and theatre
- Sound of My Voice (2011) – film score
- The East (2013) – "Doc's Song" (original piano composition for the film)
- This Is Our Youth (Steppenwolf production on Broadway, fall 2014) – original score
- The OA (television series) (2016) – main theme and score
|"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|
|"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|
|"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|
|"Comeback"||Francis and the Lights||Farewell, Starlite!||Yes||Yes|
|"My City’s Gone"||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|
|"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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