Rostam is the solo moniker of multi-instrumentalist/producer Rostam Batmanglij, who first earned acclaim for his work with Vampire Weekend and pursued a versatile career that blended indie, pop, and dance fluently in his collaborations and solo work. The son of Iranian immigrants and brother of filmmaker Zal Batmanglij, Rostam began making electronic music at age 14. He joined Vampire Weekend in 2006 while majoring in music at Columbia University, playing keyboards, percussion, and guitar; later, he produced the band's 2008 self-titled debut and 2010's Contra, and co-produced 2013's Modern Vampires of the City with Ariel Rechtshaid. As the band's eclectic indie rock earned fans and acclaim, Batmanglij branched out: Discovery, a synth pop project with Ra Ra Riot's Wes Miles that also featured Dirty Projectors' Angel Deradoorian, appeared in 2009, and he issued his first solo tracks, "Wood" and "Don't Let It Get to You," in 2011. Over the years, he became an in-demand producer for artists as diverse as former Walkmen vocalist Hamilton Leithauser, Charli XCX, Santigold, and Carly Rae Jepsen. Shortly after announcing his departure from Vampire Weekend in early 2016, Batmanglij released the songs "EOS" and "Gravity Don't Pull Me" as Rostam. That year, Batmanglij worked with PC Music's A.G. Cook and released I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, another collaboration with Leithauser. The following year brought two further singles, "Gwan" and "Bike Dream," leading up to 2017's debut solo album, Half-Light, a set of songs inspired by the duality of his experiences as a gay man and the child of immigrants. ~ Heather Phares
- Washington, D.C.
- November 28, 1983