Ezra Koenig wants to keep making Time Crisis until he dies.
by Holly McClarin | Art by Delia MB
August 16, 2019
Since beginning in July of 2015, the Beats 1 show Time Crisis with Ezra Koenig has amassed nearly 100 episodes. What is Time Crisis? It's an internet radio show hosted by Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, along with painter/musician Jake Longstreth and Twitter comedian Seinfeld2000. What is Time Crisis about? Now, that one's a little trickier to answer. Topics range from in-depth analyses of jam band song lyrics to the newest social media campaigns of fast-food restaurants. It’s a show about music that consists mostly of talking, yet according to Koenig is definitely not a podcast. For a show with such seemingly esoteric subject matter, it has an incredibly devoted fanbase, with over 16,000 followers on Twitter. It's clear from this strong following and four-year run that Koenig and co. have found a formula that not only works, but does so extremely well. To celebrate the momentous occasion of reaching 100 episodes, Ezra Koenig graciously agreed to answer some questions for the Time Crisis Universe Wiki about Time Crisis, the fans, and the future of the show.
TCU Wiki: Were you approached or did you seek out the opportunity to do a radio show?
Ezra Koenig: Zane Lowe mentioned it to me before Beats 1 even launched. I'd had very vague thoughts about doing a radio show but probably wouldn't have pursued it if he hadn't hit me up directly.
TCUW: In the beginning, did you have a vision or plan regarding how you wanted the show to be? Has that changed as the show’s progressed?
Ezra: I thought it would be less free-form initially. I also thought we'd play more music - but as time went by, I really didn't like coming up with playlists so we focused more on talking and let the producers throw in songs here and there. In the end, it's mostly talking with one official segment: the Top 5. I feel like we come up with segment ideas in every episode but rarely pursue them. Coming up with ideas and not pursuing them is an important part of the TC ethos.
TCUW: The show initially was based in New York - do you think the move to LA greatly affected the show’s development? What would a New York-based TC look like today?
Ezra: Well, I'm sad to spend less time with Cousin Asher and Despot but I'm glad to live in the same city as Jake. Obviously, Jake is a huge part of the TC vibe. Hmm, if I was in New York, TC would probably have more Mister Mort cameos. Maybe more fashion talk?
TCUW: Were you surprised by fan reaction to the show? (strong devotion, community, etc.)
Ezra: I had no idea what to expect but I've been pleasantly surprised by how devoted the fans are. I don't think VW has played a show this year where I didn't see at least a couple TC shirts in the crowd. I love that we have such hardcore fans because it's not really easy to explain what TC is all about.
TCUW: Why do you think the show has such a devoted fanbase?
Ezra: I think people are just really into corporate food history and classic rock. Two of the most popular things right now.
TCUW: What sort of work goes into preparation for an episode?
Ezra: We are always sending each other potential topics on the TC text thread. The producers do a great job of making sure we have info on deck - but we always keep it loose.
TCUW: With the ongoing Vampire Weekend tour we’ve already heard several banked eps - will there be more banked eps to come?
Ezra: I'm sure there will be but we'll make sure we get together as often as possible to keep it fresh.
TCUW: You’re nearing 100 episodes - do you have a plan for the future of Time Crisis?
Ezra: The plan is to just keep on trucking for now. We've talked about trying something new like a live show or a podcast that allowed us to do super deep dives into one topic. Maybe these things will happen in the future but TC currently exists in a great sweet spot where it happens infrequently enough to not take up any brain space. Don't wanna rock the boat.
TCUW: Do you envision an end to the show?
Ezra: Maybe if Jake or I died. I think that would be the right time to end it. Hopefully Seinfeld2000 would do a commemorative t-shirt. Maybe we get some people to call in as a tribute - Winter, Cazzie David, etc. Until then hopefully we can keep doing it even if we have to take some breaks.
TCUW: Do you have anything special planned for the 100th episode?
Ezra: I gotta check ! We'll definitely do something big for the 1000th though.
If you've never listened to the show it's never too late to start! You can catch Time Crisis with Ezra Koenig fortnightly Sundays 3pm EST/12pm PT on Beats 1 on Apple Music, or on demand at any time. Vampire Weekend is currently touring their newest album Father of the Bride, out now.