Death Cab For Cutie’s founding guitarist/keyboardist/producer, Chris Walla, will quit the long-running indie rock group following the remaining dates on their summer festival run. Walla had been with the band since its 1997 inception and produced all of their full-length releases; his last show with the group will be on Sept. 13 at the Rifflandia Festival in Victoria, B.C.
The split appears to be amicable: in a statement, Walla explains his departure with “I think I long for the unknown” and says he is “profoundly grateful” to fellow DCFC members Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer and Jason McGerr. The full statement can be read here.
“Deciding to leave the band was not, and is not, easy,” writes Walla. “It’s really, really sad. I love my bandmates, and I’m proud of what we’ve done, and mercifully, those things don’t change with my departure. Moving forward, my plans are simply to continue making music, producing records, and erring on the side of benevolence and beauty whenever possible. Darkness may find me, but I shall never choose it.”
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On the bright side, Death Cab will release its long-awaited follow-up to 2011’s Codes & Keys in “early 2015, with extensive touring to follow,” according to a press release. The upcoming album will be the band’s first with an outside producer, as Rich Costey (Interpol, Muse) filled in for the departing Walla.
Outside of his work with Death Cab For Cutie, the 38-year-old Walla has served as a producer for Tegan and Sara, the Decemberists and Nada Surf, among others. Since Death Cab For Cutie’s last album, frontman Ben Gibbard has released a debut solo album, 2012’s Former Lives, and toured as part of the reunited Postal Service.