Interview: Death Cab for Cutie
Formed in 1997 in Bellingham, Washington, Death Cab for Cutie first served as a musical solo outlet for Ben Gibbard; since then a complete band has formed and found huge success in indie-rock. Their newest album, Codes and Keys, is the seventh studio album to date. We caught up with of Ben Gibbard (vocals, guitar, piano) and Nick Harmer (bass) to discuss their latest album, their tour and the group.
Right now you guys are in the middle of a tour with The Lonely Forest called The Underplay Tour where you guys are doing all smaller venues. How's that going so far?
Ben: It's going really well. I mean, these two shows - tonight and Calgary- are kind of exceptions. They're larger places and Lonely Forest are picking back up with us after the Bright Eyes shows. But they're going really well. We're playing a lot of venues that we used to play, that we played kind of on the ascent, so to speak, and they still feel good. I mean, we played First Avenue in Minneapolis and it's always been one of our favourite venues and it was great.
Like you said, you are doing three or four dates with Bright Eyes. Here, Calgary, Oregon and then the Sasquatch Festival. How did this mini-Bright Eyes tour kind of get interjected amongst the Lonely Forest tour?
Ben: Well, we've played shows with Bright Eyes back in like 2000. In fact, I ran into Mike Mogis and Nate and a couple of the guys and we hadn't played with them in forever. We were kind of joking about it. I think it had been eleven years since we played shows together. Has it been that long?
Nick: Yep, it's been that long. I mean, they've been through and we've seen them on other stages, but on the same stage - it's been that long.
Ben: It's kind of great because I feel that we're kind of from the same class. We gradated from the same class basically as Bright Eyes; so it's kind of great to be able to play these shows with them. And Conor's brilliant and they're all great.
It's also good with both of you having new albums for you to promote them at the same time. Like you said, you both kind of came up together, now you have two new albums - it's kind of like a trip through memory lane.
Ben: It's also great because it's nice to have bands that we kind of started out around the same time. We've been able to see them grow and they've been able to see us grow and play a little bit bigger places. As a fan, it's been great to see how much his music has grown.
After these three dates you guys are playing the Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge in George, Washington, which is a massive festival, and it's right in the middle of the Underplay tour, which is all smaller venues. Which do you prefer? Massive festival and massive shows or do you like the smaller, more intimate, venues?
Ben: You know; a good show is a good show no matter where you play it. We've had some of the most fun shows we've every played in front of fifty thousand people and some shows that were really memorable in front of three hundred people. I think it's easier to... It's more difficult to put on a great show in a small room because of the intimacy of the room. Especially when you're on tour a lot and you're so much closer to people and they can hear the conversations on stage. They're very present for the whole thing.
I guess I should say a difficult night in a small venue is much more difficult than a difficult night in a large venue.
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