Vampire Weekend & Chromeo’s Guide To Love, Part 2

Exploring love in medieval times...

Following on from last week’s first chapter on dating, Clash’s Joe Zadeh continues this special series with Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig and Chromeo’s Dave 1, in their erotically erratic Guide To Love. This week, we discuss the medieval era of romance, the psychology of ‘the chase’ and Ezra’s formative relationship with pineapple juice. 

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Vampire Weekend, ‘Step’

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Chromeo, ‘Come Alive’ feat. Toro Y Moi

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According to dating experts, humans like mystery and ‘the chase’. They recommend avoiding intimacy too early in a relationship, because the longer the chase the higher the likelihood for love to blossom.

Dave: I concur! I humbly consider myself as a master of mystery and deception. I once went on a date and told a girl that I liked men, but that the right girl could swing me back, and if she felt up to the challenge, she could try. And that worked! I believe that any form of sincerity in romantic relationships should only appear after three to four years of commitment. Before that it is all games and reverse psychology. If it wasn’t, I would be out of a job. The reason we sing songs about love and games is because we are still so mystified by it. The reason is that the whole process is a big old web of lies. That goes back to medieval courtship. There was a whole code of procedures to follow. Not showing you're interested, being taken at all times, etc. In medieval tales, there is no romance without a woman already in a relationship. Love in medieval literature only happens with unavailable women. For me, I was at a very small high school. All the girls were taken, so I always had crushes on taken girls. That led to me, as you know Ezra, to join the medieval society, where we met? New Jersey Medieval Society. We attended for years.

What do you think about crushes on taken people? Should you tell them how you feel?

Ezra: I am very anti-rogue. However, the heart goes where it’s gonna go. I look back to medieval times for guidance: if you want to declare your love for a taken woman, then go for it! Just know, that the penalty is death or banishment. If it doesn’t work out, you better pack up and go. You need to move to a Greek island, because you can’t be hanging around after that.

Dave: That’s cool, because in bands we are travelling all the time. I was in Dallas last Wednesday and I confessed my love to six or seven women.

Ezra: Well, you’re banished from Dallas for the next year. If I knew a girl’s husband or boyfriend, then I feel like it isn’t cool.

Dave: Then it is a violation of the bro code. I don’t do that.

Ezra: Good, because that is the type of shit that will get you kicked out of the medieval roundtable!

Dave: Of course, you know I would take my spot at the roundtable over a night of sex and passion any day. I value my spot at the roundtable.

Ezra: It is hard to get a spot at the roundtable.

Dave: Look at how hard it was for us to find a roundtable that accepted Jews? I’m not doing that again. Anyway, I have a question for you Ezra. Feel free not to answer, because of whatever situation you are currently in. But, when you are on tour and you meet girls, do you ever associate them with album cycles? I do that. I have girls from the ‘Fancy Footwork’ days, girls from the ‘Business Casual’ days. You lump love in with the nostalgic tonalities of those albums.

Ezra: I can imagine how that could be the case, but unfortunately I meet far fewer girls than you. So I couldn’t even begin to group them.

Dave: That answer right there is the art of deceit. False modesty! False humility! Deference!

Are you playing possum, Ezra?

Ezra: If you could see the look on my face right now, it would answer all your questions. Truthfully, Vampire Weekend have had very few times when there has been more than one single member at a time. Usually the backstage situation is four guys on their laptops. I remember a brief time during the ‘Contra’ era, when three of us were single, in a little time I like to call ‘The Pineapple & Vodka Era’. I decided I needed to meet more people, go out more and drink. It relates back to my weak stance on alcohol. I convinced myself that pineapple and vodka were good for my voice. That is how the era became named. There were a lot of awkward and sad nights in that era.

Dave: Stuff blew up pretty quickly on your first album. You had a tour bus pretty quickly, didn’t you? We only got a tour bus on the last record. We always had a van. It’s amazing when you’re that smaller size of band, when you finish a show and you just have nowhere to go. For instance, you’re in The Old Blue Last in London. You have finished playing and you just hang out there, and you’re the life and soul of the party because you just played for everyone. You put the guitar down, get into the crowd, people want to give you high fives and it’s amazing! It’s not the same anymore. Now if I want to hang out, I have to arrange an after-party, get the tour manager to sign off and it needs announced in a particular way. It’s a real pain in the ass to achieve what used to be putting your guitar down and going to the bar.

Ezra: Some people think from being on the tour it is easy to meet people, but if you don’t put the effort in to go to the venue bar or invite people backstage, then you’re just like any schmuck. Once you’re removed from the situation and you're just some guy at the hotel bar telling people you are in a band, then you just come across like some seedy pick up artist. For me, the best middle ground is a friend's party. You meet someone you haven't met before, but you have a connection. Meeting someone at a seedy sports bar in Minneapolis isn't cool. Although I have done that, and she was very nice.

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As told to Joe Zadeh
Chromeo colour photo: Timothy Saccenti

You can read the final chapter of Ezra and Dave 1’s Guide To Love – Body Image and Break Ups – in the next issue (95) of Clash magazine, available from May 5th. Keep ‘em peeled right here. Chromeo’s new album, ‘White Women’, is released on May 12th.

Online: Vampire Weekend / Chromeo

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