Ben Gibbard

I take things a little bit more critically now, like, “What did I think I was saying in that song? What is this song about?” I thought the lyrics were incredibly descriptive, and now they sound really cryptic and weird. I’d like to also think that when I listen to songs from Something About Airplanes that I’m proud of my development as a writer. I don’t think I was doing anything poorly at that time, but I can certainly see how my writing has changed.

Everybody has a language or code that they use with their wife or their girlfriend or boyfriend or what have you. It’s a language aside from the language they have with strangers. I’ve always been maybe an abuser of alliteration, but I’ve always loved it and I like how those words sound together.

I feel like there’s a lot of beauty in the darkness of ‘Narrow Stairs,’ but that’s not really a place I’m ready to go to for a while. I’m interested in taking a different approach and having the next record be different in tone – I’m just not interested in making another dark, dark album.

I can remember how I sang – a little more nasal-y back then. Listening to those old recordings is like seeing a photograph of yourself from 10 years ago. You’re wearing what you thought looked cool at the time. You had your hair styled the particular way you thought looked cool. It’s an accurate depiction of who you were and what you looked and sounded like at that point in your life. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it aged in a way that it feels as cool or sounds as good to you, or says what you thought it said, 10 years later. That’s just the nature of growing older.

Keeping fans loyal is a delicate balance. Therein lies the challenge for any band that’s more than a couple albums deep. It’s like, how do you continue to make records that are representative of who you are that your fans will recognize as your band, while still trying to push things forward and present new sounds for people.

Every record we do there are always two camps. There’s the camp that’s like, “I love it. It sounds different than the last one.” There are the people that are like, “I want it to sound like the last one.” You can’t please everybody all the time, but I think for the most part we tend to maintain a healthy level of self-reference to kind of make sure we continue to push things forward.