Interview: Death Cab for Cutie
Like, "we fully support this?"
Nick: Exactly. Like this transcends something that somebody just made on a weekend for fun. You can see how much time they invested in it.
Ben: We also live in a time where elements of technology are kind of taking something away from the music industry but at the same time, I feel that what we're gaining is so much more valuable and we were just talking about this at some point while we were making the You Are A Tourist video. We had to kind of come up with a way to pay for this; we had to get the sponsors and the label to help out too. But at the same time, it's like if we wanted to do this twenty years ago we would've had to go grovelling to MTV or VH1 or Much Music or whoever else or find a network that would take a risk on something like this.
We live in a wonderful world now where with something like this *picks up his iPhone*, you can express yourself in ways that you could never do before. I mean, do you remember how much video cameras were when we were kids? They were so expensive!
Nick: It wasn't just the camera. Then it's all the extra gear afterwards to get ready. Editing studio....
Ben: Even just as a musician. When we were living together in college, we each had four tracks and they were seven hundred dollar pieces of equipment. We had to save up all our money to buy these stupid little four tracks so that we could record four tracks at a time and we thought they were - I mean they were - an amazing piece of technology. Nowadays...
Nick: There's an app for that... *laughs*
Ben: Yeah, there's literally an app for that.
Nick: A dollar, ninety-nine.
Ben: You know, a pessimist will say that the ease to access of technology certainly allows for more mediocre crap to be floating around in the world but the cream will always rise to the top. The people doing really creative things will never go unrecognized because people such as yourself are making it their living, so to speak, to find that stuff. People who are doing blogs are always out there, searching all the time and that's kind of invaluable.
'Codes and Keys.' What made you decide to record it not only in four different sittings but in four different studios as well?
Ben: Well we just wanted to kind of mix it up a little bit and we've learned from prior records that if we hole up in the same studio for six weeks trying to make a record, we just kind of stagnate after a couple weeks and it just becomes difficult to keep the creative progress moving forward. So we just kind of made the decision to like "why don't we just take this record and do a couple weeks on, a couple weeks off, and move to a different studio and we can kind of keep the momentum going a little bit better."
A lot of the songs on the album - Home Is A Fire, Codes and Keys, Portable Television, You Are A Tourist, Underneath the Sycamore, and so on - all have a sense of searching for meaning and purpose in this ever divided world - which we kind of talked about a bit in this interview. Was that kind of the intention? Searching for the hidden meaning amongst all the crazy, chaotic activity of life? Was that kind of the purpose of this album?
Ben: Well, I never kind of write an album... I never sit down to write an album number one. I just kind of sit down and write songs and the theme kind of makes itself apparent. But I would never say I was writing about searching for something as much as just trying to document with every song where I am in that moment when I'm writing that song. If a theme kind of makes itself apparent in a record, it has more to do with the fact that just what's been on my mind recently. So I guess clearly I have been and was and am, but it was never a conscious decision.
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