Ben Gibbard gets personal ahead of Fox Theatre show


Death Cab for Cutie

8 p.m. April 27. $35-$41. Fox Theatre, 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-881-2100,

Ben Gibbard has dipped his toe far enough into the world of celebrities to know he has no interest in being one.

The Death Cab for Cutie frontman, who was famously married to — and then divorced from — TV and film actress Zooey Deschanel and also had a small role in the 2009 film “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men,” based on the David Foster Wallace novel, prefers that people focus on his music rather than his persona.

“I think we benefit from the fact that our band is successful, but we’re not very recognizable individuals,” Gibbard says. “I’m not Jack White, you know? The music is my way of drawing attention to myself, and in my brief foray into living a life where I was with somebody who was very recognizable, it wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed. I wasn’t interested in making that a part of my life going forward.”

He mined his failed relationship — and other major life events — while he was writing the band’s most recent album, “Kintsugi,” the first not to be produced by former Death Cab guitarist Chris Walla, who left the group in 2014 after 17 years.

The band — including its two new members, guitarist Dave Depper and keyboardist Zac Rae — will play selections from “Kintsugi” and their previous seven albums when they make a stop at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta on April 27.

Gibbard discussed the personal nature of songwriting and his running power songs in advance of the show.

Q: You have some new members. How has it been getting used to that?

A: It's really wonderful to kind of have new energy onstage and to have people who are truly excited to be there. So far, we've been having a blast. I really do believe that we sound better in this incarnation than we've ever sounded. And that's not a slight to Chris or anybody who's been in the band. We have an extra set of hands and we're able to cover a lot more of the sound that has been on the albums. I'm really excited to kick it out and share that with people.

Q: How autobiographical is the new album?

A: I'm not going to give you a road map, but every song that I write, there's a part of myself in it, and that varies from song to song. I've found it pointless to go down the list and to play lyrical battleship with anybody. But every record that we make, I put a large part of myself into it — they're my songs, you know?

Q: You’ve really gotten into running, with a few long-distance races under your belt. Do you like to run with music?

A: I run with music in a "in case of emergency, break glass" kind of thing. Like, if I'm running a 50-miler and I'm at mile 30 and I'm exhausted and I need a boost, I'll bust out a shuffle. But I tend to not listen to music when I run. I do mostly trail and mountain stuff, and that's a really amazing opportunity to enjoy silence. It's something that you get so infrequently in the modern age, and you really have to cherish that when you get a chance to experience it.

Q: Do you have a go-to power running song?

A: It kind of changes from time to time. Public Enemy's "Fear of a Black Planet," when that song comes on, I get really hyped. Anything on that record is pretty fantastic. Sometimes it'll be the most random song. You know that song, "Oh Sheila" by Ready for the World? That came on a shuffle at some point while I was running, and in the moment, it was the best song I had heard in my entire life. I was like, there is no better song in the world than "Oh Sheila" by Ready for the World. It was a pretty good song to begin with, but it came on and hit at the right moment. I was very euphoric, and anything I was listening to would have been a great song.

Q: You had a brief foray into acting. Do you think you’d try it again?

A: I was honored to be asked. Everybody was nice and it was a fun experience, but seeing behind the curtain made me realize, this is not something I'm particularly interested in. I got to check something off the life list. Like, I had a small part in a movie, OK, check. I feel like I just started to get a handle on the weird world of being a musician, I don't need to go into another world of narcissists and malcontents.