I just stumbled across my interview with Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie and The Postal Service etc. I spoke with him for YEN and Reverb when Death Cab’s brilliant Narrow Stairs record was released. I became quite obsessed with the track ‘Long Division’, which is why I asked Gibbard about it.
It was hard to gauge whether he was enjoying the interview. Gibbard’s initial answers are quite abrupt and direct and I recall thinking that I needed to win him over if I was going to get more in-depth answers. But he was never rude and perhaps this is just how he is. I’ve only interviewed him on this one occasion.
Interestingly, in our conversation, he denied Narrow Stairs being a darker record than Plans. I felt that it was – it has a brooding, simmering turmoil that I hadn’t heard in their music before. But Gibbard shot down my suggestion. However, in 2011 when doing press for Death Cab’s next record, Codes and Keys, Gibbard said this to the Chicago Tribune: “That record [Narrow Stairs] is kind of a fulcrum in my life. So much of the negativity in my life got funneled into it. I realized after that I didn’t want to go any darker. I wanted it to be the bottom for this band and my own emotional spectrum in terms of writing. I had no grandiose plans to turn my life around.”
Here is my Q&A with the great songwriter Ben Gibbard: Death Cab For Cutie’s narrow victory