Ben Gibbard Explains How Touring With an 8-Piece String Orchestra Could Influence the Next Death Cab for Cutie Record

Laura Musselman
It's a rare occasion for Death Cab for Cutie to let outsiders into their music. Guitarist Chris Walla produces the band's records, and few friends have even been invited to join them on stage. But for their spring tour -- which includes a sold-out show at the Paramount on Sunday -- the Seattle quartet enlisted San Francisco's eight-piece string ensemble, the Magik*Magik Orchestra, for a series of intimate shows. Frontman Ben Gibbard says the band's on their electric instruments, "95 percent of the time," but "certainly, it's not a rock show." Gibbard says the collaborate nature of the outing is giving him ideas for the next DCFC record, even if it doesn't involve strings.

"I think we sometimes forget that if you hear a song in your head, or I should say a sound for a song in your head, there's somebody who plays that instrument that you can call on the phone, and they'll come over and record it or play it with you," Gibbard says. "I think now, just having these people on stage with us for the last month of so and hearing what a different kind of sonic palette can bring to the band, it certainly kind of has opened up my ears [to the idea] that there are no limits to the possibilities to what you can do in a studio. If you can hear something, you can find somebody to play it."

Hear more of our conversation with Gibbard at 3 p.m. Sunday on 97.3 KIRO FM during Seattle Sounds, the one-hour show I co-host with KIRO's Josh Kerns.

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