AW: Tell me about the special guests, Ezra Koenig and M.I.A. How did those come about?
EM: Radioclit knew both of them before they knew me. At some point, also, Radioclit wanted to produce and manage Vampire Weekend. Before their first album came out, they managed to get a demo for their songs. [Radioclit] were so interested in them that they contacted Ezra [and] wanted to produce them. But one way or another it never worked, but they still kept in touch. One day Ezra was in London [for] a chain of shows. Their drummer was sick for a couple of days, so Ezra phoned Johan because Ezra was interested in our music as well. He phoned Johan and he went to the studio straight away and he did “Warm Heart of Africa”. M.I.A was almost the same process, as well. They knew M.I.A. before they knew me. So one day M.I.A. had a show at a festival, so Johan took me to the show. The show was great, and I liked it. That’s when Johan thought of doing that “Tengazako/Paper Planes” remix-cover [on the mixtape]. I was so glad that was the song that gave us so much hype on the Internet. It was the first one put on MySpace. So that’s how it happened.
AW: What was your first show like?
EM: The first show I was so nervous! We did so many tracks at one time, and to perform at the show I couldn’t remember most of the lyrics. My worry was lyrics. I used to forget them, it was so hard for me. It was too early to make a show at that time.
AW: What’s the strangest thing that’s happened to you on tour?
EM: I remember I bumped into a pole one day! [laughs] I was looking at this beautiful girl, and then I bumped into a pole and the people were just laughing. [laughs]
AW: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
EM: My life experience, and nature, too. I’m so natural. Also, some of my inspiration comes from my father. He’s a music-lover, too.
AW: What does your father do?
EM: He’s retired now. He used to be a civil servant. He used to go abroad most of the time. The government used to send him to America and Britain. So he used to bring a lot of records to the house, so I grew up listening to lots of different kinds of music.