And this is record number eight, I’d love to see nine, I’d love to see ten. I think that’s completely possible. – Death Cab for Cutie
Iconic alternative rock band Death Cab For Cutie was one of the headliners that graced the stage at Osheaga this year and performed their new material as well as their older, beloved songs. We got to talk with drummer Jason McGerr who revealed his thoughts on festivals, their goals as a band, the inspiration behind their latest record Kintsugi, and much more.
Confront: What do you think of Osheaga so far?
Jason: I was looking forward to coming back. We only played one other time but I think it’s one of my favorite festivals. And it’s great to stay an extra day and catch Radiohead.
Confront: How do you think festivals have changed over the years?
Jason: You know it’s funny, just this year I feel like we’re starting to see some of the more popular festivals that have been around a while not having as big of a turnout as others. I love festival culture and the fact that so many people these days don’t go out and see touring acts like they once did, but they’ll be happy to pay for a weekend pass to go somewhere and get the most bang for their buck and catch a number of bands they enjoy.
I really like festivals selfishly to see friends and people that I never get to see live because I’m always touring. This festival seems to be run really well and I hope it continues.
Confront: How would you say the band’s sound has progressed over time?
Jason: I think we’ve matured in terms of songwriting and musicianship and I think we’ve embraced technology and production. The first record very much sounds like it was done in a house, the very first record as in a cassette tape was definitely done in a house. It was scrappy and cool but if we stuck with that sound for eight records I don’t know if everyone would continue to follow us.
Confront: What was the main source of inspiration Kintsugi and what message does it convey?
Jason: For those people who don’t know what kintsugi means, it’s a Japanese art-form that uses gold resin glue to repair ceramics to highlight the breakage rather than to hide it, and that was a metaphor for a lot of things that went on both publicly and privately in everybody’s lives. We didn’t want to hide anything that happened, nor do we ever want to hide anything that happens. It’s a metaphor for pulling back the curtains, saying that shit happens, you gotta move on, and that’s okay.
It was also the last album made with Chris Walla who was a founding member, and I miss him dearly, but people need to make changes from time to time and I totally support that. Our job wasn’t to leave a broken hole in the band but to repair it and move on.
Confront: What are your goals nowadays as a band?
Jason: First and foremost we want to make sure that we always enjoy ourselves and have fun. And never succumb to the pressures of trying to write a hit or a song for the wrong reasons. We never set out to make music that way and I don’t think we ever will. And this is record number eight, I’d love to see nine, I’d love to see ten. I think that’s completely possible.
Confront: Are there plans for more touring or the next album?
Jason: Well this tour is coming to an end, then we’ll take a little bit of time off. We’re already writing and there’s already a lot of material for the next record which we’ll start working on next year.
Confront: Which of your songs is most meaningful to you right now?
Jason: Boy, that’s a deep dark question there. I recently had some people close to me pass away, and there’s a song called “What Sarah Said” that means a lot to me, particularly the end where it’s the refrain over and over. So songs about mortality and death are most meaningful to me right now.
Confront: What would you say is your motto these days?
Jason: Sounds super cliché but just relax. Life is short, enjoy it however you can and don’t be afraid.