Walla Finishing Solo CD While Death Cab Idles

While Death Cab For Cutie takes a break for the majority of 2007, guitarist Chris Walla is diving back into work on his first solo album, "It's Unsustainable."

While Death Cab For Cutie takes a break for the majority of 2007, guitarist Chris Walla is diving back into work on his first solo album, "It's Unsustainable." The artist tells Billboard.com he is hoping to finish the project in May and release it in the fall via Barsuk, to which Death Cab was signed before moving to Atlantic in 2005.

"In production and sound, it will be very similar to a Death Cab album," says Walla, who put the disc on hold last year while he finished building his own Alberta Court studio in Portland, Ore. "Two tracks stem from the writing session that spawned 'Brothers on a Hotel Bed' [from Death Cab's 2006 album 'Plans'] -- [frontman] Ben [Gibbard] didn't really know what to do with them. I've also written some new songs recently."

Walla plays all the instruments on "It's Unsustainable" save for drums, which were handled by past and present Death Cab drummers Nathan Good and Jason McGerr, respectively. Walla is also mulling a solo tour, which would return him to club-sized venues for the first time in several years. "One of the things I miss so much now that Death Cab is playing such big places is driving the van," he admits. "I was the driver on the last five tours before 'Plans' came out."

Death Cab, he says, is enjoying a much-deserved break after extensive touring in support of "Plans," which has sold 823,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. "We're all sort of feeling like we're a little bit sick of the name Death Cab For Cutie, and we're imagining that maybe the rest of the world is as well," Walla chuckles.

That said, the band is about to launch a fan club that will provide members with exclusive music, and is tentatively planning to regroup in October or November. "We'll probably be, at the very least, arranging and trading emails and songs [by then]," Walla says.

After losing out last year to White Stripes in the best alternative album category, Death Cab is nominated for two more awards this year: best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal for "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" and best long form music video for "Directions."

"I'm excited about the 'I Will Follow' nomination," Walla says. "It's really nice to me that a single microphone/single performance sort of recording can end up in a category like that."