Dave Depper never really planned to release his own music. For years, he’s spent time as a multi-talented touring and studio musician for the likes of Menomena, Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker, Robyn Hitchcock, Ray LaMontagne, and Fruit Bats, and recently joined Death Cab For Cutie after the departure of guitarist Chris Walla. It wasn’t until Depper was challenged to the “20 Song Game,” which sees four musicians attempting to write and record twenty songs in twelve hours, that he realized that he had a knack for songwriting.
“There were some joke-y country songs and there were bad Elliott Smith rip-off songs, but a couple of the songs were these really intriguing synth pop things that happened,” Depper told me over the phone. “And when we were all listening back to each other’s stuff, everyone kind of seized on those and were like, ‘Dude, you should follow that thread.'”
In that moment, Emotional Freedom Technique was born, though it would take nearly five years to complete. It’s a record about love, though Depper attempts throughout to grapple with the confusion and longing that comes with the lifestyle of being a touring musician that renders every relationship effectively long-distance. The thesis of the whole record comes with album-opener and lead single “Do You Want Love,” which tells the story of a breakup after extended time apart. “I was breaking up with somebody and she actually asked me, ‘What is it that you want? Do you want love?’ and I actually said, ‘I don’t know what that means anymore.’ And that’s what that song came out of.”