Dave Depper, guitarist and keyboard player with American indie rock band, Death Cab For Cutie, chats with Kevin Cooper about visiting the UK, joining DCFC, their latest album Asphalt Meadows, and their forthcoming 2023 tour of the UK.

Dave Depper, guitarist and keyboard player with Death Cab For Cutie, graduated in 2002 from University after studying Computer and Information Science. He then worked as a software engineer for several years before changing direction to work as a full time touring musician.

He began his music career playing with various artists such as The Fruit Bats and Laura Gibson.

In 2014 he joined Ray LaMontagne’s touring band and he was later recruited by indie rock pioneers Death Cab For Cutie during their 2015 world tour in support of their eighth album, Kintsugi.

Following the departure of Chris Walla, Depper became a full time member of the band.

In 2017 he released his first solo album Emotional Freedom Technique.

Whilst busy preparing for their forthcoming UK tour, Dave Depper took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper, and this is what he had to say.

Hi Dave, it’s Kevin for The Nottingham Post and UK Music Reviews. Many thanks for agreeing to do this for me.

It’s a pleasure. Thank you for taking an interest in what we are doing.

How’s life treating you at this moment in time?

Very well thank you! I’m grateful to be out on tour again after so much time being unable to do so.

You quite obviously put lockdown to good use?

I like to think so! I had to stay busy and running helped. As you may know my band mate Ben Gibbard and I share a passion for running. In fact, we run between six and twelve miles before each show.

How difficult was it trying to record your album Asphalt Meadows whilst not being together in the studio, having to rely solely upon files being sent here, there and everywhere?

Well, with this record we kind of had the best of both worlds; we were able to write and arrange much of the album remotely, which kind of led to some unexpected creative roads that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. And when it came time to record it, it was safe enough to do it in person at a proper studio with John Congleton.

I love the full-band version of the album; and I think that it is a great piece of work. Having said that, I have to say that the acoustic version of the album simply blew me away. I feel that it takes the songs to another level.

Well, thanks, that’s very kind! It was a great lockdown project and helped to keep us all sane.

Are you happy with it?

We absolutely love it.

A lot of the fans are saying that it is your best work to date. Would you agree with that?

I don’t think it’s for me to judge. That said, I’m very proud of it, and the fact that it’s resonating with fans so powerfully is deeply rewarding.

I currently have three go to tracks; they are Here To Forever, I Miss Strangers and Wheat Like Waves. Do you have a favourite track on the album?

It’s hard to choose a favourite because you get fond of all of them. But as you have put me on the spot I would say it is probably Rand McNally.

Where is the landscape used on the cover of the album?

That was all Ben’s doing. He was out running in San Francisco and took a photo of the view.

As a record collector of many years it’s great to see that you have released the album on vinyl.

I’m a fan of vinyl as well so it was a no brainer.

How are the new songs being received?

As far as I can tell, people seem to be enjoying them. They are sitting comfortably next to the classics in the set list and I don’t seem to notice too many people leaving to buy pints when we play them (laughter).

You have done a few dates in Europe. How many of the new songs have made it onto the current tour set-list?

We’ve played all of them at this point. Most nights we play seven or eight of them in the set, and they have been very well received thankfully (laughter).

The tour starts here in Nottingham at Rock City on 18th March, what can we expect?

Some old songs, new songs, lots of energy, and us giving you one hundred percent. Hopefully it will be a great night.

You have now been in DCFC for seven years. Do the rest of the guys still treat you as the new kid on the block?

It’s eight years, actually! And yes, they are constantly shoving me into my locker and taking my lunch money (laughter).

Were you a fan of the band before joining them?

I was a huge fan! I had been following them for a while.

When you were offered the chance, how long did it take you to say yes?

Ben asked me over dinner, and I’m sure I said yes before the entrees arrived (laughter).

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I’ve had too many incredible experiences in my career to really choose from. I’m very grateful for all of it. But playing with Death Cab is certainly a dream come true.

Writing, recording, and performing; if I pushed you, in which order would you say that they would fall. Which gives you the most satisfaction?

If I had to choose, I really love recording the most. It’s very satisfying to create something out of nothing and have it last forever. But playing live is viscerally satisfying in a way that’s undeniable.

Do the British audiences treat you well and respect what you are doing?

British audiences are always great and they do get what we are about. They are very vocal and they like a good sing along (laughter)

Do you enjoy your time spent here in the UK?

Of course!

Have you had the time to have a walk around our fair city?

I have, it’s lovely. Where I live, in Oregon, we are not surrounded by the past so viscerally, and I always appreciate visiting places where there’s such a contrast between the modern and the ancient.

Testing your memory now, what was the first record that you bought?

With my own money? I’m sure that it was REM’s Out Of Time.

Who did you first see performing live?

My parents tell me it was the Beach Boys on the National Mall in Washington DC.

What was the last song or piece of music to make you cry?

We’re in Berlin currently and last night I stood outside Hansa Studios listening to David Bowie’s Heroes, which was recorded there. I had a bit of a moment.

What is currently on Dave Depper’s rider?

I’m easy; green juice, kombucha, and pita chips.

Once again Dave many thanks for agreeing to do this. Stay safe and I hope to see you here in Nottingham.

Thank you Kevin, it’s been good. I hope to see you in Nottingham.