|Cursive on the cover of GO. Photo by Daniel Muller.|
I've interviewed Tim Kasher many times and I'm always grateful because he's open for anything. As raw and honest as his lyrics are, he doesn't shy away from talking about the subjects contained therein (emotions, divorce, relationships, etc.).
Anyway, I was glad to talk to him again before Cursive came to Omaha once again to perform at Slowdown. They take the stage on Saturday with new record "I Am Gemini," released last week on Saddle Creek Records, in tow.
I called Kasher while the band was in San Francisco to talk.
Q. The Omaha show is coming up. Does performing here with friends and family potentially in the crowd make it better or worse?
A. There is a different vibe for me. I'd classify it with a few of the cities where my self esteem is lowered slightly more. I'm maybe concerned about judgement or how we're doing. I suppose it all stems from respect of peers.
Q. On "I Am Gemini," you wrote the album from start to finish. Did you start with the lyrics or the music?
A. It started with the (music) first. I didn't know what I wanted to write about just yet, but I had that hunch that I wanted to be schizophrenic or deal with mulitple voices.
The songs took that direction with the intent that I would have those lyrics. I weant ahead and outlined the whole story. I outlined them with the songs in mind as a chapter or occurence to propel the story forward. That was the abridged version of how we did it. Then we sequenced the album before I wrote the lyrics.
Q. Could Cassius and Pollack in "I Am Gemini" be the voices battling it out in someone's head? It sounds like that often.
A. Yeah. That's kind of the idea in the largest scope of it. But the story itself got so fictionalized. It went in certain directions so it kind of became its own story, too. I guess that's where I wanted it to land. It can be seen in two diffeernt ways: It's a story quite literally on the surface or you can take it all for allegory.
Q. A lot of the music sounds like stuff from a rock musical.
A. I didn't have the story in mind yet, but I had the hunch that if it could pull it off, I wanted to do something like that - something that felt more like a musical.
I wanted to write music that could lend itself to these different voices, so some of it is intentionally dramatized to fulfill that. I've been doing different versions of that for years, but this time I worked up the courage to take it a few steps further.
Q. Did you ever think of making this into a full-on play production?
A. The playbill that we wrote out, that's the more edited, more refined version of the story that I outlined before. I had a lot of daydreams of it being a bigger production. I always have daydreams like that. But I set all of that aside. I didn't really want to get ahead of myself and wanted to make sure the album is functioning. I wanted the album to tell some sort of story.
Again, with my daydreaming i certialnly do see that. When I do envision it, I see a thousand different ways for it to be done poorly. (laughs) It would be real prickly for it to get done in a way that I thought that it was good. Maybe, there's no way.
Q. I really liked reading the playbill as I listened to the album. It gave it a depth and direction I wouldn't have thought of, but I also wondered about people who downloaded the album illegally wouldn't have this thing.
A. It's certainly been brought up. In this technological age that it's kind of for the label and for marketers. They'll say, "Let's make it interesting. Let's bring it back to the packaging."
But I don't think on those levels. I enjoy the naiveté of putting out an album and thinking everyone's going to the store and picking it up.
We are aware with the packaging that we do for albums, we're trying to make them as special as possible. For us, we want to do something a little more complete. Also, it's just making that available for anyone who likes that kind of thing. It comes fromt aht midwestern conservativism: "If you're going to be spending the money on it, we're going ot make sure it's chock full."
Q. "I Am Gemini" is another concept album. Is it a format you like or is it something you feel comfortable with?
A. I could maybe elaborate on what I was just saying. It's about making the album more complete. It's not necessary to write the songs in such a way, but in my head, I've always likeend an album to a book of short stories or, this time around, to just a book or just one story.
And my preference on a book of short stories is when they're threaded together on some common theme.
But it's taste. It's not necessary at all.
Q. On tour, are you guys playing the whole album from start-to-finish? With this album, I could see that but it would eat up the whole set.
A. We're not. We're kind of playing our catalog as we always have and just sprinkling them throughout.
Q. Do you have a favorite from these new ones?
A. It seems like it might be too early to tell, but i'd maybe say "Wowowow" is in the top five.
Q. You're not doing SXSW this year, are you?
A. No. We're playing Austin at a different date. It's a pretty fun thing to do, but there is a lot of stress involved, too. It is fun to get together and see a lot of people while you're down there.
Q. Are you feeling a little refreshed after having done a solo album? I hear that a lot from people who do solo records as a break from their regular band.
A. Yeah. And moreso than having another Good Life album because that kind of became an isnstituion in and off itself. So, absolutely.
It really reconfirmed for me that this is what I do and I'm comfortable with it in the sense that by doing that sort of record. Instead of going under the monikers that I've been working at - going under my own name - it was starting over. It was a really fun experience. The shows were a lot smaller. It was like doing another audience.
I also had the benefit of fans of Cursive or The Good Life checking it out. It is developing its own niche under the greater umbrella of what I do.
I also think that getting older, as I work on other forms of writing, I kind of just want to tie everything under one moniker, which is my name.
Q. So do you think you'll do another one?
A. Yeah, I'm working on one right now. Whenever the Cursive cycle kind of does it's thing, I'll have it ready.
Q. Are you still working on other types of writing?
A. Yeah, I have a lot of time for it. I try to treat what I do as a job as much as possible so I really put in hours. I try to do it daily of working on something that I can put out in the future.
But yeah, I kind of keep plugging away.
Q. Will we see any of that any time soon?
A. I always hope so. I officially call all of my other writing that's not songs "hobbies." I've only made very little amounts of money on them - as much as a hobbyist might.
But I'm working hard on them for a reason and I want to keep releasing any forms of writing.