Death Cab for Cutie taxis to the bright side
When Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard got hitched to Zooey Deschanel in 2009, his bandmates saddled up for a lifetime of dodging questions about the She & Him bombshell. And now thanks to a certain studio where the Seattle band recorded parts of its latest album, Codes and Keys, the doe-eyed It Girl isn’t the only one popping up in interviews.
“As a kid growing up hearing ‘Summer of ’69’ on the radio, who would ever think I’d be recording in a place Bryan Adams built?” bassist Nick Harmer tells the Straight, on the line from a Los Angeles hotel room. “You couldn’t grow up listening to Top 40 radio and not become fond of him. So to record in his Warehouse Studio was completely awesome.”
Local Death Cab fanatics will be crushed to learn that the introspective indie rockers spent nearly two weeks at Adams’s nondescript Gastown studio last year. Yes, while you were dodging suburban hooligans during the city’s annual Celebration of Light festivities, you might have been just a thrown punch away from the band—though Harmer is far less ruthless when describing the sea of downtown drunkards.
“Our hotel was on Granville Street so we had this nice walk to the studio everyday, including on a fireworks night when every person in Vancouver was streaming to the beach.”
As it turns out, Terminal City is actually old stomping ground for Harmer and the boys.
“When we were in college we went to school in Bellingham, so we would go into Vancouver and see shows,” the bassist says. “I spent a lot of time at the Starfish Room.”
And when Death Cab for Cutie returns to our fair city this week to greet the stadium-size crowd gathered at Rogers Arena, its members will be in full celebration mode. With the follow-up to 2008’s Narrow Stairs racking up accolades and their club-ready remix record featuring the handiwork of Cut Copy about to roll out, there’s plenty of reason to break out the bubbly.
“When the remixes came in, we just sat back and enjoyed them,” says Harmer of compiling the Keys And Codes remix EP, a process he describes as “pretty easy” since it was simply a matter of saying yay or nay to the prospective revamps.
But for a band that’s made its mark writing breakup anthems for a generation of earnest indie kids, taking the swoon-worthy pop-rock that defines Codes and Keys and injecting it with disco decadence took a leap of faith.
“I don’t really listen to a lot of electronic music,” admits Harmer. “At this stage of my life, I don’t ever find myself in clubs that would be playing this music. So some of the remixes I’ll admit to being ignorant about. But some of it when you hear it, immediately you’re like, ‘That sounds amazing,’ which is how I feel about the remix of ‘Some Boys’. The whole thing was a fun experiment for sure.”
Death Cab for Cutie plays Rogers Arena on Friday (October 21).