Death Cab for Cutie rolls into town this weekend on its victory lap.
That’s the phrase Death Cab bassist Nick Harmer used, and it works. The band’s last record “Codes and Keys,” which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard chart, was released over a year ago, and Harmer and company are playing some of the last shows in support of it before they begin writing and recording the next one.
Harmer called from his home in Seattle prior to heading out on a run of July shows that includes the headlining date Sunday at Bunbury.
Question: I’ve read that you guys are fans of Brainiac, who were from right up the road in Dayton. Can you speak about any influence they had on your band?
Answer: The influence isn’t obviously a direct one. I don’t think as Braniac fans we were listening to Brainiac records and doing our best to pay tribute to the band by creating music in the same vein.
I think we all early on appreciated them when we were in college in Bellingham. Chris (Walla, Death Cab guitarist) as a producer and guitar player really appreciated and learned a lot from them about their sound and really liked the energy and sort of rawness of the records. We liked the angular arrangements and the energy of the band. They were definitely one band among a few that we shared a common love for.
Q: Do you feel like this is a breakthrough summer for your band, considering all of the headlining festival gigs you’re playing, including this one in Cincinnati?
A: I don’t know if it’s breakthrough. It feels for us like a really nice celebration for the end of a really great album cycle. We’re really proud of “Codes and Keys,” and we’re really proud of all of the shows and attention that it got. We were really flattered to get festival offers and to string together enough of them for a little mini-tour this summer.
It’s a nice time of the year to be on the road. I really like playing festivals and touring in the summer. It seems like there are a lot of bands on the road and we end up running into a lot of our friends.
Q: I saw you guys at the Southgate House in Newport probably about 10 years ago. Do you feel like you’ve retained your fan base from that era as you’ve become extremely popular, or is that something that you don’t worry about?
A: I would assume that there’s some percentage of our audience that discovered us when they were in their 20s, and we were in our early 20s and have grown up with us, and are now in a place in their lives and some of the things lyrically (singer) Ben (Gibbard) is writing about and some of the challenges that he explores in his songwriting might have resonance with people that have grown with us.
But I know we’ve earned new fans along the way. We don’t really stop and talk about it that often. We oftentimes will remark offstage that we’re very happy and very proud of the variety of people that come to our shows, young people and old people enjoying the music, and that makes us feel like we’re making something that transcends lines that age draws between people.
For us, it’s always been and always will be about the music. We’re making music that we enjoy playing and that we’re passionate about.
Q: You got married recently. Do you think that things like marriage, children and settling down are good things for a rock band?
A: I feel like the marriage and kids and life, just life in general that happens to us, is a benefit to the music we make and the expression that we’ve carved out in our band and the music that speaks to us.
You’re in your late teens, and you’re in a really angst-y rock band, and you’re self-destructive in your music, and your expression is very much about that kind of energy.
To be in your mid-to-late 30s and have kids and settle down and be married seems to work against a lot of that energy. But we’ve never really been that band.
Ben writes a lot about relationships and love and the smaller moments that happen between people as they grow and learn about each other. As long as we keep living and life keeps happening to us I think we’ll always have inspiration to draw from.