The frontman for the band Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service, Ben Gibbard is one of the most popular indie rockers of the past decades.
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With a knack for writing thoughtful, catchy songs, Gibbard writes music that is unique, interesting, and different. He also has great hair.
Here, though, we will dive into what Gibbard has to say about the world, about life and love and his craft, outside of the songs he sings.
Here, we will investigate the best 25 quotes from the 46-year-old, Bremerton, Washington-born Gibbard. Ready? Let’s go!
1. “People always talk about how time flies; it’s become sort of a colloquialism now. You don’t really understand it until you reach your late 30s and early 40s—and I’m sure time will move even faster as I get older.”
2. “If you’re going through a difficult time, and there’s a piece of music that speaks to you—be it musically or lyrically or both—you are almost always able to access that music. You’re always able to sit down with it.”
3. “When you connect as many memories to your geography as I have, and then you see that geography change around you, you’re forced to reckon with the passage of time.”
4. “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.”
5. “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.”
6. “I love bummer songs.”
7. “The second ‘Postal Service’ album is threatening to become the ‘Chinese Democracy’ of indie rock. It will come out eventually, or maybe it won’t.”
8. “As a songwriter, I’m not necessarily writing about myself or my life.”
9. “I know that the Seattle my parents knew is not the Seattle I know and that these things exist in a state of constant flux and change. The hope is that at least some of that change can be for the better.”
10. “When I’m old, I’d like to wake up in the morning and not really do anything—just be happy to exist. I’d like to look at my accomplishments and sit back and revel in my own achievement.”
11. “When I look back at 2003, it was the best year I’ve ever had creatively: having ‘Transatlanctism’ and ‘Give Up come’ out in the course of six months. I’ll never have another year like that.
12. “I would much rather hear a song that’s written from a fresh perspective, using ideas that have existed in rock & roll for 50 years, than something that is incredibly abrasive to my ears but is new.”
13. “I’ve written a lot of songs in the last couple of years, but writing a lot of songs doesn’t always mean writing good songs.”
14. “I think a lot of people who become music fans have that moment where they break from their parents’ music, they break from the radio and MTV—at least in my generation, they did, and MTV isn’t really a thing anymore. And you discover something that defines you, that is outside of the mainstream.”
15. “We tend to think of our idols as kind of superheroes; maybe less so today, given that people have a tendency to overshare on social media, but when I was growing up, all you knew about these people was what they allowed you to see—which was them doing superhuman things, up on stage in an arena with all these people going crazy.”
16. “We all pine for a time in life when things were simpler. Even when they weren’t necessarily simpler, hindsight makes them look a lot simpler. The reality of it was that it wasn’t.”
17. “To set the record straight, for God knows the millionth time, we certainly didn’t sign to Atlantic just for the money.
18. “Living this life in the same sorta way that Kerouac lived, you get to hang out at shows and drink and you’re able to not really face reality and adulthood the way most of my friends are.
19. “I’ve covered Avril Lavigne. I like good pop songs, and I don’t think there should be any kind of preconceptions about where good pop songs come from.”
20. “I was literally just going and applying for jobs, and I couldn’t get a job, and I was getting more and more broke, and you find yourself groveling for jobs you don’t even want.”
21. “My goal as a songwriter now is to simply write some memorable turns of phrase.”
22. “At some point, I thought that, as I got older, I’d come to terms with a lot of things. I’d solve some big problems, and eventually, I’d become content. It’s almost more depressing to think that the older you get, the more your problems multiply.”
23. “I always try to write the best song I can in the moment, and those songs are often going to end up on Death Cab for Cutie records. I don’t set out to write a solo song or write a band song. I just write, and where that song ends up is kind of TBD.”
24. “I don’t feel that all the great songs have been written. I do feel that where we are now, certainly with rock & roll music, is that so much of it is variations on themes. But I think that it’s one’s particular creativity and individuality that comes out within that variation on a particular theme that makes a song great.”
25. “I think that the wonderful thing about music and about songs is that you can listen to a three-minute song whenever you feel you need it.”