Here’s a reprint of an interview I did with Death Cab For Cutie that ran in Hot Press a few issues ago to coincide with their special on the Forbidden Fruit Festival (which is taking place in Dublin this very weekend).
Gift Of The Cab
Dublin-bound Death Cab For Cutie bassist Nick Harmer spills the beans on the band’s upcoming tour and potential live album and also reveals why he just had to get himself a piece of Forbidden Fruit. Words: Edwin McFee
In a just a few short weeks time, much-loved, Grammy nominated, “don’t call us emo” types Death Cab For Cutie make their long awaited return to these shores for a date at this year’s Forbidden Fruit Festival in Dublin. Touring in support of their acclaimed seventh record Codes And Keys, the band’s bassist Nick Harmer tells Hot Press that while the quartet are loving every minute that they’re playing alongside the Magik*Magik Orchestra on their current trek through North America, they’re also keen to get back to basics and kick off their European jaunt as a four-piece.
“The shows with the Magik*Magik Orchestra have turned out to be everything we’ve hoped and dreamed it would be,” begins the amiable American. “I mean it was never a lifelong ambition to play with a huge orchestra, but it adds something new to the songs and it’s really fun to put a new spin on things. It’s a testament to the genius of conductor Minna Choi, as she’s masterminded it all and put everything together.
“At the same time, we can’t wait to get over to Europe and play as a four-piece,” he continues. “Our live shows are very physical and in some ways we’re excited to get back to it being just the four of us, so we can jump around more. There’s a lot of physicality to our gigs and this will be our chance to cut lose again and get loud and sweaty. There were a lot of songs we couldn’t play with the orchestra because some things just won’t work with them, so we’re looking forward to getting them out of retirement.”
Part of a whirlwind tour packed with festivals, festivals and yet more festivals, Death Cab’s date in Dublin marks the first time that Irish fans will get to witness songs from 2011’s Codes And Keys live and Nick confesses that even though they have a ridiculously busy travelling schedule, the visit to the Emerald Isle will be worth it.
“After we come off this tour I’ve got five days to get my head together and then I pack my bags for Europe. This will be the first time we play the new album for Irish fans and we can’t wait. I’m not just saying this because you’re an Irish journalist, but we love playing in Ireland and we don’t think we get over enough.
“We actually fly in and out of Ireland from mainland Europe on the same day and though it’ll be hectic for us travel-wise, we just had to play in Dublin,” he smiles. “The way we see it is if there’s a slightest chance we can come over, then we have to do it. At one point it was looking like we mightn’t get over for this album cycle, but thankfully it’s all worked out.”
Currently batting around ideas for their as yet untitled eighth album, Nick also tells us that while they don’t intend to play any new songs at Forbidden Fruit, they are planning to play material from their ’98 debut Something About Airplanes all the way up to present day and he does confirm that there will be another record out by next year as well as a possible live album too.
“Yeah, we’re recording all of the shows with the Magik*Magik Orchestra at the moment and I can’t wait to hear them,” says Nick. “I want to see how different we are from the first to the last show. Musicians play differently together as they get to know each other and it’ll be cool to hear that growth. Hopefully it’ll be for a live record, but we’ll wait and see.
“We’ve got a lot of ideas in the works for new material too,” he concludes. “We’re committed to touring until August, but there’ll definitely be a new Death Cab album in 2013. We’re not planning on playing any new songs at the Irish show as we want to focus on putting together a really strong set of songs that people will know and hopefully love, but trust me, it’ll still be awesome.”
Death Cab For Cutie play at the Forbidden Fruit Festival in Dublin. The event runs from June 2-4 and for more information check out forbiddenfruit.ie.