Ben Gibbard on Death Cab’s New Album & His Favorite Spots to Eat in Seattle

In the three years since Death Cab for Cutie released their last album, Narrow Stairs, all four of the indie-pop rockers have settled into adulthood. Lead singer Ben Gibbard (third from left) married actor Zooey Deschanel, bassist Nick Harmer (left) also tied the knot, drummer Jason McGerr (right) celebrated the birth of his second child, and guitarist Chris Walla made a permanent move to Seattle, the band’s unofficial base camp.

Death Cab’s new release, Codes and Keys, due out later this month, is a reflection of this newfound stability. “Everything I make is like a series of postcards from my life and the lives of those around me,” Gibbard says. “The tone of the album, which is very emotionally even, is a reflection of where we are in our lives. That’s something that infiltrates our entire process. For example, I enjoy playing live shows, but I’m less eager to be away from home than I’ve been in the past.” As for dining on the road, he says, “On tour I always end up eating some variation of the same thing every day. Playing shows kind of fucks up when you can eat dinner. If we’re playing at 9:30 we can’t have a proper dinner at 7, because it’ll still be in our stomachs, bouncing around two hours later. But by the time the show’s over, it’s already too late for dinner, so I usually end up eating on the bus. Maybe we’ll become so successful that restaurants will stay open late for us, but I don’t think so.”

Once a dedicated vegan, Gibbard is still a healthy eater, but he indulges in the odd french fry. “I just ran the Los Angeles Marathon and the best thing about the experience was being able to eat as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted. I love Maneki. I think it’s the oldest Japanese restaurant in Seattle. It’s a James Beard Foundation-honored place, but it’s also a little hole-in-the-wall—a locals-only kind of thing. When we’re in the city we usually end up going to Crepe Café, a bistro that serves a lot of small French plates. We live in LA, but we have a place in Seattle and we always look forward to going back to that little spot. We try to eat healthy because, well, gross foods make you feel gross.”