Plato said, “At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.” And this is true enough of Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig and Dave 1 of Chromeo. Connecting the musicians via telephone, we asked them to discuss the steamy and eternal anthropological dialogue that we call love and relationships.
Over the course of three chapters, the conversation explored attraction, dating, loneliness, fame, medieval times and Judaism. You can find the first two chapters on Clash HERE and HERE, but this final chapter peruses the romantic predicaments of body image and breaking up.
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Chromeo, ‘Come Alive’
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Vampire Weekend, ‘Ya Hey’
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Do you consciously stay in shape for the ladies?
Dave: Of course! I go fencing in New Jersey. All sorts of things.
Ezra: I try to, but it is up and down. Somebody told me the other day that Brad Pitt works out three hours a day, every single day. You realise that as intelligent and talented he may be, his physical appearance is part of his work. So you think he goes to the office by working out three hours a day. I often have time, why don’t I do that? Maybe I will start. It is important.
Do you think it could affect the image of Vampire Weekend if you became a hench beefcake?
Ezra: I can only see that affecting it positively. I have never felt comfortable going full shirtless, but within three months, I think I could get there. We’re not talking years you know? I’m only three months away at any given moment. It requires a lot of dedication, yes. People have always talked about ‘Born In The USA’, Bruce Springsteen’s classic album; when he changed his production aesthetic, he brought some new flavour to the songwriting, but the third element? It was the album he got jacked on. That was when Bruce became a beefcake. Once, you might have thought, here is a guy who is freaking out in the studio, trying to figure out the gated snare sounds, eating potato chips? No. He’s waking up in the morning, running and lifting weights like a maniac.
Dave: Yes, that was the Springsteen transition from V-neck to crew neck.
Ezra: That is true. He is wearing a V-neck on the cover of ‘Darkness On The Edge Of Town’. It’s telling on society. You had the skinny V-neck guy in the ’70s and the jacked crew neck guy in the ’80s, and in our era you have the synthesis of the jacked V-neck guy. He didn’t exist in 1984. Bruce paved the way for that.
Apparently 40% of people lie to their partner about why they want to end a relationship to make the process easier.
Dave: That’s more like 140%. It must be a typo. Ezra, have you ever told the truth about the reason for a break-up?
Ezra: Well… every break-up I have ever been through has been a prolonged and agonising period of back and forth. However, I have never truly done the ‘there’s someone else’ break-up.
Dave: Have you ever broken up and found yourself in a complete black hole of loneliness? Like nobody else is interested in you?
Ezra: I like to think that I have always had prospects. I don’t mean that out of ego, although there is some involved. Since college, I have lived in a major metropolitan area. It’s not like I’ve ever moved to a cabin in the woods with a girlfriend and then broken up. When you’re in a big city you can always meet someone. To me, when people break up, whether they love each other, no longer love each other, or desire other people, the truth is that you want to tell them, ‘I can no longer see us together.’ In that sense, I’ve always been truthful. I’m not sure I’m buying this idea that everyone is lying to each other. It’s not like you’re quitting a job where you tell everyone, ‘GO F*CK YOURSELVES!’
Dave: That’s what I would do.
Ezra: Well, you’re being overly honest. I feel like at that point it no longer matters.
Dave: We were being quite comical earlier, but I feel like this last answer has been very truthful, honest and on the nose.
Ezra: One thing I can say, even the most absurd relationship I ever had, where it was clear we had to break up, even then; I had two weeks of feeling very, very upset about it afterwards.
Dave: That’s true. I agree. In every break-up that I have ever initiated, I felt as bad as the breakee. Because I had the self-inflicted heartbreak and the guilt.
Ezra: I believe it is true that women on the whole have more clarity and strength in going for a straight break-up. I’m not sure about your timid analogy of a monkey holding onto two vines at once.
Dave: Listen, the monkey will fall if he doesn’t hold onto two vines at once! Even for just one split second. He needs to have that moment where he is holding onto two vines at once.
Ezra: So it’s bravery?
Dave: I think we can agree that bravery is a concept alien to both of us. However, I disagree with girls being more clear on break-ups. I feel that they can often be more pernicious revisionists than us, but the problem with men is that men are clumsy. Men are schmucks.
Ezra: I feel like ultimately, I could never truly be a ‘player’. You can have a lot of dates, meet a lot of people, sleep with a lot of people, but still not be a ‘player’. It’s like Shaggy always said: ‘To be a player you gotta know how to play.’ It’s a mentality. If you’re an agonised player, you’re not a player.
Dave: I think we’re not giving ourselves enough credit. I think there are a lot more agonised players out there, in this post-metrosexual age where men wear skin cream and read Monocle instead of Maxim. I think this is the Monocle and Beauty era for men. I think the new ‘player’ is the ‘agoniser’.
Ezra: For whom the patron saint is Drake. We didn’t have an agonised player role model in the ’90s. But now we have Drake.
Dave: Exactly! Why do you think that Nuts magazine went under? It’s because there are no real macho, car-loving, always-shagging, big tits-loving players anymore. Liking big tits is so ’90s. Nobody cares for big tits anymore. It’s over.
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