Chris Walla, Death Cab For Cutie’s multi-instrumentalist and producer, says the modern rock quartet from Bellingham, Wash., never quite knows where it’s headed when it starts to make a new album.
“It’s kind of the biggest question for us — ‘Wow, which version of the band are we this time?’” Walla, 32, notes. “It’s like, ‘What are we doing? Are we pretending to be bratty and 22 like when we really were bratty and 22, or are we gonna move into someting refined and adult?’”
Fortunately for Death Cab, fans seem to like it both ways.
The more sophisticated “Plans,” the group’s 2005 major label debut after five independent releases, went platinum and scored a hit with “Soul Meets Body.” And the new “Narrow Stairs,” which Walla feels is “more on the bratty and 22 side,” became Death Cab’s first album ever to top the Billboard 200 chart with sales of 143,586 — the group’s best sales week in its 10-year history.
“This whole record really feels to me a lot like our first couple of records,” Walla says. “I’m sure it won’t be received that way, but just in terms of, like, spirit and what I remember about how those records were made, just the fact that we were all really together and on the same page for the whole thing was really familiar to me.
“I think it was a matter of reconnecting to what was the most important thing to us making a record, which was just have fun and be comfortable and make decisions based on whatever we were feeling at whatever particular moment and not based on something that we didn’t have any control over. That’s what felt good and right to us this time.”
Death Cab For Cutie headlines the 89X Seventeenth Birthday Bash at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday (June 4th) at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Rogue Wave and Sea Wolf also are on the bill. Tickets are $32.50. Call (313) 471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com. A pre-party with the Flobots and the Kooks takes place Tuesday (June 3rd)at St. Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis with a Birthday Bash ticket. Call (313) 961-6358. Visit www.89xradio.com for information on both shows.
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