They might have looked slightly out of place on the red carpet at Sunday's Grammy Awards, but it turns out that the guys in [artist id="710356"]Death Cab for Cutie[/artist] are old pros when it comes to one aspect of the step-and-repeat: the wearing of nebulous and indecipherable awareness ribbons.
As they tromped the carpet, they wore baby-blue ribbons pinned to their lapels, which — after a quick search — seemed to indicate their support of Canada's anti-tobacco, anti-second-hand-smoke campaign, or perhaps International No Diet Day. Neither of those things made much sense, so when we caught up with them, we decided to ask about the ribbons.
And, as it turns out, they symbolize a much nobler cause.
"We're here to raise awareness about Auto-Tuner abuse," DCFC frontman Ben Gibbard laughed. "I think over the last 10 years, we've seen a lot of good musicians being affected by this newfound digital manipulation of the human voice, and we feel enough is enough.
"Let's raise awareness," he continued. "Let's stop this, let's bring back the blue note, and let's really try to get music back to its roots of [having] actual people singing and sounding like human beings."
Kanye, T-Pain: He's talking to you. And while Gibbard didn't offer up any sort of plan to end Auto-Tune abuse, or mention any Web site where concerned music fans can go for more information (which sort of defeats the whole "raise awareness" bit), he and his bandmates are hoping that their baby-blue ribbons will help inspire all the A-T fiends out there to kick their habit. If not for them, well, then for the kids.
"Otherwise, musicians of tomorrow will never practice," Death Cab bassist Nick Harmer said. "They will never try to be good, because yeah, you can do it just on the computer."
"A little use is OK, but there is a difference between 'use' and 'abuse,' " Gibbard said. "And I feel we're getting to a point of abuse at this point."