Death Cab for details of the cute share of the upcoming album

At the start of the epidemic, the death cab seemed to be ahead of the curve for Ben Gibbard of QT. In March, he launched a solo performance stream, Live from home, A whirlwind blueprint for musicians off the road. But as soon as the camera switched off, he was as confused as anyone else – and it took him a while to find his artistic position.

“The first few months, especially when I was livestreaming – well, we were all there. The feeling was, ‘It’s going to last a month, and then we’ll be back to real life,’ “Gibbard said. Spin. “Then there was the daily panic: ‘You can’t touch it; Don’t do it; If you do that, you will die. ‘ With the amount of concern and the thought that it would be a short-term thing, I rarely wrote anything. “

Many have been canceled, of course: some solo gigs, a planned Berlin vacation with his wife The Jesus and Mary Chain to watch their 1987 LP game, Darklands. (“[That’s], E.g., Our record“When we got married, our first dance was a song,” he said DarklandsBut once our new reality is settled, he faces a surge of creativity – with the help of an assembly line, the file-swapping process Death Cab for QT is used to kick-start an unfinished LP, which will eventually follow. Of 2018 Thanks for today.

In the conversation below (which was with our discussion about the new Photo album reissue), Gibbard and bassist Nick Harmer walked us through that intriguing writing process – and gently teased the music that was found through it.

The following conversations are summarized and edited from two separate interviews.

During the epidemic, some musicians seem to have been creatively paralyzed while others are improving. Ben, how much have you been writing lately?
Gibbard: I threw this idea at the band: I would say I would discover it; That was my idea. [Laughs.] [It was] This is a weekly songwriting exercise where on Monday someone will be tasked with making a beat or music or guitar riff and he will send it to the next person on Tuesday and that person will be working all day. In it – and much more until Friday, when the guy who was finishing the song had to mix it up and do it.

We were doing it in our home studio and everyone had full editorial supervision. If the song came to me on Thursday, and it was an enthusiastic song, I would like to hear it as Massive Attack, I would make it sound like Massive Attack. Someone might say, “What’s the matter? You’ve changed my mind!” And I want, “These are the rules! You can do whatever you want. ”I was writing a lot on my own, and we can get a lot that has been really good, and a lot of it will be on the next record.

I hate the word “musical” because it’s not really, but I wrote a “theater piece with music” from the Stars with Daniel Handler and Torkel Campbell. I also did some things with Tyco and I sang on the new Lala Lala record. I was trying to stay as busy as possible. There was some really good explosion of my creativity during that time, then a month / six weeks at a time where I was just fearing the inevitable collapse of civilization, because I’m sure we were all. [Laughs.]

The next Death Cab record will not be as epidemic-specific. I think we were all very keenly aware that the last thing people would want to hear by the end of 2022, or whenever we put out the record, the things that happened two years ago – we tried to stay in the universal themes of love and life and death and everything else. .

This is a unique writing system for Death Cab. Did you get some interesting results?
Gibbard: Sure. We all have different levels of skill in our home studio and I am probably the lowest. But Jason [McGerr] And Jack [Rae] And Dave [Depper] – And Nick, I guess – there’s a professional-grade home studio Because we’re going to go outside the rules, it’s not like I’m going to write a song on Monday with guitar and vocals and then send it to Nick, who puts a baseline in it. Jack can send a piece of piano music to Nick, who puts a base line in it; He then sends it to Jason, who puts the drum in it. It’s not a general order.

The most interesting thing was, for example, Nick sends a base line with a drum machine on Monday – and by Friday, he doesn’t know what it will sound like. For me as a lyricist, it was really good to come out of my own prompts, out of melody and lyricist and everything else. I always play the guitar and sing mumbo-jumbo and then make it from there. In that case songs start from different places, and people have different harmonics [approaches] – Their hands go to different places on the piano or guitar.

You’re pretty confident in the songs you’ve wound up with.
Gibbard: I won’t hype the record we’re going to make, like this … I think it’s going to be a really good record. I’ll just say that. But it was good for everyone to get out of their comfort zone. Epidemic in that sense [disruption] It was really good for us because we needed to do it this way if we weren’t forced to do it.

And many weeks we’ve got garbage. But sometimes we want to be like, “Holy fuck, this song is really good!” And it started from a place we never thought we would reach the end of the week. The more time we took in the week, the less your idea of ​​what the song would be like on Friday. It was always fun – everyone was waiting for the last time anyone touched the song to mix up in Dropbox because it would be completely different from what people thought on Monday and Tuesday.

Nick, how do you feel about the progress so far?
Harmer: It’s going great. You can detect a note of surprise in my voice because at some level I didn’t expect it. At first, it was like, “Look, Jack lives in Los Angeles. Dave lives in Portland. Jason lives in Bellingham. [Washington]. Ben and I live in Seattle across town. But the world is telling us we can’t live in the same house together. What do we do now? How do you make music as a band when you rely so much on physical chemistry in humans with hands on instruments? How are we going to do that? And For how long Do we have to do it? “There were many unanswered questions. At one point, we were like,” This is probably the only way we can try to do something like this. It’s either really going to work or it’s not complete, and we’ll just throw it in the air and not be able to do anything. “

And it really works! It was a really fun way to get through one week at a time. It was a really fun, powerful way to stay connected to my bandmates in the dark – in a way that I didn’t expect, it went beyond a phone call or an email. I can really connect with them through my headphones, in my space and really focus on what they are giving me and respond in real time.

What did it feel like to work with ideas in this assembly line style? Was it weird? Inspirational?
Harmer: Having only one day to do it has helped me to put away some of my own insecurities or moments of doubt, such as “I have to do it because the next friend needs it. I just can’t sleep like this.” We each wanted to do the worst so that the next person would feel inspired. Before we knew it, we were making a head of steam and a piece of work that started to sound really great. We have a lot of songs to choose from when creating this record – I don’t even know how we’re going to reduce it at the moment, but we have to. [Laughs.]

We have become so adept at working that way, when the time comes to join the 2020 election. Georgia EP That’s what we did [Stacey Abrams’] Fair fight action [organization], We put it together in a week – “Let’s send the drum tracks. Let’s do the version of the demo-writing we’ve been doing, but let’s track it down as if we’re in the studio, piece by piece. Now we know how it works and how we can make it work. “

Were the demos for the new album in that home-recorded form, or are you planning to re-record them?
Harmer: It was a way to put the songs together and we would enter the studio and unpack them Some things are really working and we won’t change things too much. In some of them, we already know that we are changing a significant amount of it. But there’s a kernel out there that we really like. When I say we have a lot of tracks – bragging always seems weird, but the last time we counted, I think we were probably close to 100.

That’s great!
Harmer: Yes, we were I’m working! Not all of them are in debate for an A-list album, but there are many ideas to explore, so it’s going to be very important for us to work with someone who will help us with that process next time. . We’ll see how it goes. And then we’ll see what we do with all the extras. I think 2022/2023 will be a really fun time – I think we’ll see a lot of double-albums. A lot of people I know were able to be really productive at the time.

I also know a lot [others] It was a difficult time for some people because those who were not able, psychologically and otherwise. I’ve talked to some lyricists who say, “Like you, I have a lot of things that I need to sort out. I’m going to make it all out! ”I also know some people who say,“ I wrote two songs, and I don’t know what they are about. ”I don’t want to brag or anything. We stumble upon something that is for us. Worked and it really helped us connect as a band and keep working as a band ৷ it was kind of a “right time, right place” thing.

I know there are probably 100 things right now, but do you have a common timeline for the album?
Harmer: We will dig into it as soon as possible. We are trying to find out who and where. When those things get tough, we’re very excited to continue it. Also, part of it is that we wait to read the world and see what happens with the epidemic. We want to be able to tour once we finally get that record out. Now that we’re starting to get a little more clarity around this, I think we’re starting to be able to plan temporarily and hope that 2022 to 2023 will become a more public moment for us.

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