When I last spoke to Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig in May, they had just released third album Modern Vampires of the City.
The record went on to become one of the most acclaimed releases of 2013, despite a shift in direction from their afro-pop roots to a more thoughtful, baroque-pop style.
Since then they've toured constantly, and should be well oiled by the time they hit WA next month, headlining the first night of Southbound 2014.
Koenig says their new sound provided some fresh challenges when creating the live show. He's deliberate and thoughtful in his responses, taking time to explain things thoroughly.
"It's not the easiest thing to put together the perfect set list when you have songs as varied as we do," he says. "But I think we've figured it out. Lately we've actually been ending the set with (Modern Vampires opener) Obvious Bicycle and there's something about leaving it like that, ending on this sombre note.
"We want there to be high-energy moments and also more sombre moments and it is possible. But you can't just do the songs anywhere. You have to constantly work it out. As much as we love our ballads and slow songs, sometimes you've got to make people move and you've got to get psyched."
Koenig has concentrated his energy on presenting Modern Vampires live but others have been listening to the album. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, the band's second consecutive album to do so.
"It's funny," he says. "Sometimes on tour I stop thinking about the album conceptually because you get focused on . . . things like 'Am I singing well tonight? Did I play that properly?' You start to think about the mundane elements of entertaining. Then once in a while you hear from a fan or do an interview, then you remember, oh yeah, for two years we obsessively put together this little world of the album.
"The point where we release an album is usually the point I stop listening to it because it's done, and after two years of obsessively listening to demos and versions and mixes, it's over. It's almost like you're passing the torch - you did your best with it now it's up to your fans to spend time with it and see what they think."
Album number three was an important one to Koenig, completing their opening trilogy and proving to fans they're in it for the long haul. He is "absolutely" delighted with the positive reactions to the record. He's also amused that it has convinced some early doubters of the band they're the real deal, while conversely turning off some fans of their earlier afro-pop sound.
"Your goals constantly change when you're in a band," Koening says. "In the early days you just want to tour and if you're lucky see places you never thought you'd go. Then with your second album you want to prove yourself. You want the shows to be bigger and better. By the time it's the third album, it's nice to gain new fans. More than anything we wanted to make an album that covered new territory for us; that was intellectually exciting.
"My biggest dream was people who followed us from the beginning would hear our third album and know for sure that we were a band they could stick with for a long time, that we're a band that can change through the years, that are committed to really putting our hearts and souls into our albums. So the positive reception to this album, in some ways, was the most meaningful of all three."
Modern Vampires of the City is out now.
Vampire Weekend play Southbound in Busselton on January 3. Tickets from Moshtix.