Pop Shop Podcast: Chris Tomson Goes Solo as Dams of the West, Talks Vampire Weekend's Next Move

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Chris Tomson

Welcome to the new episode of the Pop Shop Podcast’s Headliner Interview, Billboard's weekly long-form talk with a compelling, inspirational voice in the world of music, hosted by staff writer Chris Payne. This week, we’re chatting with a drummer from an established, chart-topping band who’s trotting out as a solo act. It’s Vampire Weekend’s Chris Tomson who early next year will release his first album as Dams of the West. And from what he told us, it sounds like he has plans with Vampire Weekend as well.

“Work is being done. LP four will exist,” Tomson assures, hushing anxieties about the band’s future since multi-instrumentalist/producer Rostam left back in January. For now, the VW drummer is readying Youngish American, where he’s picking up on some unfinished business behind the mic. 

“I had a chance to have more of a vocal role in Vampire Weekend, but I suck at harmonies… I was in Rostam’s apartment working on ‘Oxford Comma’ and he was like, ‘Why don’t you try to sing this high harmony?’ I couldn’t do it in three tries and he was just like, ‘Maybe I’ll just do it later, don’t worry about it.’” Thomson had no problem singing all of his own harmonies on Youngish American, and in songs like “Death Wish” and “Bridges and Tunnels” his winsome melodies drive the close-to-home indie rock numbers to their destinations. Tomson stars as the reasonably well-adjusted 32-year old who’s trying to navigate between being a party-hopping twenty-something and an NPR-devoted adult, being the drummer in a globe-trotting, festival-headlining rock band and a recently-married guy back home after tour and no immediate plans. Case-in-point on the second verse of “Death Wish”: “Think I’m ready to be a father now/but I’m gonna get some pizza first.”

Listen above and let C.T. guide you through your burgeoning adulthood, or at least help you look back on it fondly. Other discussion topics include campaigning for Bernie Sanders this year, his adoration of the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets and how the Black Keys' Patrick Carney came to produce Youngish American.

Click here to subscribe/rate the Pop Shop Podcast on iTunes. The Headliner Interview runs every Thursday; previous episodes include Jimmy Eat World, Dawn Richard and the Ringer’s Robert Mays discussing the new Metallica.