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Chris Walla has announced his first release since his departure from Death Cab For Cutie last year. It’s a full-length instrumental album called Tape Loops, and it’s his first solo material since his 2008 debut Field Manual. Walla’s deft touch was always a highlight on his old band’s records — not to mention all the albums he’s produced over the years — and that attention to detail carries over to the placid “Kanta’s Theme,” the opening track to the record. In a talk with Sara Quin (of Tegan And Sara fame — he produced their recordsThe Con and Sainthood) on Interview, Walla discusses his recent move to Norway with his family, putting together IKEA furniture, and the thought process behind the new album. Here’s a little bit about the last part:
After three weeks of being in the producer seat for the Death Cab for Cutie album number eight, I decided that I shouldn’t be producing that record. Right at that moment, I started working on Tape Loops. [Kintsugi] was the first record I made with that band that I hadn’t produced and that was a huge shift in my identity. It was long before I decided I was going to leave the band, but it was at this moment where I was feeling like the record wasn’t sticking and the ideas weren’t totally blooming like they should. At that moment, it wasn’t very satisfying. It was a big decision that I didn’t want that job. I sort of felt like, “Shit, if I’m not doing this then what will I do? What do I do? Who am I? What if I do something creative that’s satisfying? What is it? What comes out of me?”
I started plugging in tape machines and fiddling around with razor blades, slicing tapes, and I started making loops. When I came to the studio in the morning, instead of putting on a record to listen to when I was returning emails, I would just make a loop. Some of them were terrible—they made me angry and I took them off—but then a couple of them felt really nice and continued to feel nice after they were on for 20 minutes, or after an hour, or after couple hours. I started dumping those onto the multi-track deck and embellishing them. The fun thing was snapping into and out of a pointed, direct consciousness when I was working on it.
There’s a lot more where that came from — read their full conversation here, and listen to the new track below.