Chris Walla – co-founder, multi-instrumentalist and producer for indie-rock act Death Cab for Cutie – has announced that he'll leave the band following their current run of festival dates, culminating with a headline performance at Rifflandia in Victoria, British Columbia. "I will miss being a quarter of this band and will support whatever course Death Cab for Cutie chooses from here," Walla said in a statement. "I am profoundly grateful to Ben, Nick and Jason for the experiences that define my adult life. Truly grateful, beyond words. Thank you."
The band is finishing work on their as-yet-untitled eighth studio album, produced by Rich Costey (Interpol, Franz Ferdinand) and recorded in Los Angeles. The LP is expected to be released in early 2015, with "extensive touring" to follow. Further information about the band's touring itinerary is available at the band's official website.
"We've had an incredible 17 years of making music with Chris and are very proud of what we've accomplished together, including our eighth studio album, which we have just put the finishing touches on," stated Walla's bandmates Ben Gibbard, Nick Harmer and Jason McGerr. "We will miss Chris and wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career. We're excited about sharing new music, and seeing all of you very soon."
Walla played an integral role in shaping the band's emotive and powerful sound, producing their first seven studio albums (including their most recent, 2011's Codes and Keys) and contributing a variety of instruments, including guitar and keyboards. In his full statement, Walla acknowledges his deep sadness in leaving the band but also admits that he "long(s) for the unknown."
"Deciding to leave the band was not, and is not, easy," he says. "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."