Dave Depper, of Death Cab For Cutie fame, is an extremely talented musician and well-known multi-instrumentalist. He also happens to be coming to South Africa in a few days time, to play a few shows and we were lucky enough to get to ask him a few questions.


You’ve played and recorded with a wide variety of artists and bands throughout your career. How do you think these have influenced your style as an artist?

I’ve definitely learned something from everybody I’ve collaborated with! It would be hard to give a comprehensive list of what that might mean, but everything from my approach to songwriting to my abilities on guitar, bass, and keyboards, to my knowledge around programming computers and synthesizers have all directly stemmed from these experiences. I also am an expert in constructing gourmet sandwiches from discarded rider components in the van.

Last year you released your debut album “Emotional Freedom Technique” which you wrote and recorded yourself; you also chose to play all your own instruments while recording, why?

It ended up that way for several reasons. First of all, it was a fun challenge to see if I could handle everything myself in the studio I’ve put together at home. Second, it ended up being such a personal record that I felt that it was important to be responsible for all aspects of its musical expression. It felt more “me” that way.

When it came to writing, recording and releasing your own album, you had complete creative control over what you made; is there anything unusual or unique that you do when writing and recording that helps you with your creative process?

Well, this album had a unique genesis in that it began when I took part in an extreme songwriting exercise called the 20 Song Game. Basically, some friends and I challenged each other to individually write and record 20 entire songs in 12 hours. It was an insane undertaking, and most of what I came up with that day was garbage, but the seeds of the record were planted that day (and a couple of songs made it from there onto the album, with a few tweaks).

How do you balance your own solo career and your time with Death Cab For Cutie?

Well, happily, Death Cab’s schedule is a cyclical thing, and I knew quite a while in advance when things would be winding down after the last round of touring with them. So it was an opportune window in which to release and promote the record, and served as a nice deadline for actually finishing it.

You’re a well-known multi-instrumentalist, is there any instrument you can’t play that you wish you could?

I am basically competent (strong emphasis on “basic”) at the drums, but nobody would ever see me flailing away and remark “hey, that guy is a really good drummer!” So, I really wish that I was more shredding at the drum kit. I keep telling myself that I’m going to take lessons…

Is this your first time coming to South Africa? What are you most looking forward to seeing/doing?

Amazingly, no it isn’t! I had the opportunity to visit your beautiful country back in 2012 when I was playing with a wonderful songwriter and friend named Laura Gibson. We hung out in Cape Town and Johannesburg for a few weeks and even had the opportunity to go on a safari up in Kruger. It was an unforgettable experience that I’ve thought about often since. I never thought I’ve have the chance to come back, and I’m honored and thrilled that this is so. I’m looking forward to exploring the Garden Route, seeing some local SA bands that are playing the festivals with us, and in general just getting a chance to have another pop around the fascinating places I’ve seen before. I can’t wait!


If, like me, you’re breaking into a cold sweat from excitement and you literally can’t wait to see him live, here’s where you can watch him (and a stellar array of artists) play. If you aren’t that excited you’re wrong and you should still definitely go watch him play.


Dave Depper, Kyp Malone & Laura Burhenn – One Night Only in Johannesburg:

Date: Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Time: Doors Open at 7pm

Venue: Barnyard Theatre, Weltevreden Road, Cresta, Randburg

Tickets: www.barnyardtheatres.co.za

  • Early Bird tickets SOLD OUT
  • General Access @ R320.00 – On Sale Now

LUSH – A Festival In Clarens – presented by OFM and KykNET

29 March to 2 April 2018

Gates open 1pm Thursday March 29th for camping

Address: Linwood Farm, R711, Clarens, Free State

Tickets on sale from http://lush.nutickets.co.za/lush2018

Budweiser is a proud sponsor of LUSH Festival 2018

Introducing Garden State – Cape Town:

Date: Saturday, 7 April 2018

Time: Doors Open at 2pm

Venue: Centre for the Book, 62 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town

Tickets: https://gardenstate.nutickets.co.za  

  • Phase 1 & 2 Early Bird tickets SOLD OUT
  • Final Phase – General Access R590.00

Introducing Garden State – Cape Town:

Date: Saturday, 7 April 2018

Time: Doors Open at 2pm

Venue: Centre for the Book, 62 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town

Tickets: https://gardenstate.nutickets.co.za

  • Phase 1 & 2 Early Bird tickets SOLD OUT
  • Final Phase – General Access R590.00

On Sale from Tuesday 20 March

  • VIP Packages Are On Sale Now – Extremely Limited (for the Ultimate Fan)Includes a mystery meet & greet with international acts and access to our VIP area at the show with complimentary welcome drink & canapés.

Connect with Garden State:

Website – www.gardenstate.live

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/beinthegardenstate

Facebook Event – https://www.facebook.com/events/165602980758755/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/gardenstatelive

Instagram –  https://www.instagram.com/be.in.the.garden.state

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