In a word, the new Cursive album is magnificent; I’m going to save my full verdict for my review next week, but first things first: a couple of weeks ago, I was offered the chance to interview one of my favourite songwriters, the (in my opinion) legendary Tim Kasher, the Omaha band’s frontman. Emails were exchanged, and I got some pretty revealing insight into the creation of the new record (‘I Am Gemini’), as well as some info on what other plans Kasher has (hint: they are related to his second solo album), and even a little bit on why he prefers to be modest about his work.
Gareth O’Malley: Hello Tim! As I write this, it’s just under five weeks until the new
Cursive record comes out, so you’ll have been living with it for a
while at this point. How are you feeling about it now? Is there
anything about ‘I Am Gemini’ that you’re particularly proud of?
Tim Kasher: I like it. I currently like it. I really liked it a lot while
recording it, then hated it for awhile and refused to listen to it.
Just last week I put it on, and am relieved to announce I really like
it again. I think I needed to get away from it for a little while.
Proud? I don’t know, not very comfortable, proclaiming self pride to
strangers. I truly enjoyed piecing the music together with the other
musicians, coming up with some of the stranger sections of the album
as a band in the practice space. I always get a kick out of hearing
GO’M: Since ‘Domestica’ in 2000, you’ve released four albums with Cursive,
four with The Good Life, and a solo album, not to mention a few EPs as
well. Nice work ethic you’ve got there! Is it something that took a
while to become accustomed to, or are you constantly writing anyway?
TK: Well, if I’m not writing, not working on one thing or another, then I’m
likely just laying around in bed or having too much to drink some
place or other, so, I try to keep myself occupied. I really love to
write, so it’s a positive work ethic to have. Just so hard to drag
myself to do it, at times, when bed or bar are calling my name.
GO’M: A lot of the records you’ve been involved with could be called
‘concept’ albums, either written as such or exploring linked themes.
Does this come naturally to you? I’ve read that the music came first
for ‘I Am Gemini’; is that the way you’ve always done it?
TK: We have always done music first, and that’s likely how I’ll always go
about it. I’m not a poetry writer, not one to apply music to verses,
it’s always been the other way around. What you may have heard about
this latest record is that we sequenced the entire album before I
tackled the lyrics, which was a new process for us. It enabled me to
write the album as one story; I was able to write in a linear fashion.
GO’M: Going into my first listen of the new album, I’d heard a lot about it
being ‘the heaviest Cursive album in years’. You also worked with
ex-Minus the Bear member Matt Bayles, who’s produced records for
Russian Circles, Mastodon and Isis. Listening to ‘I Am Gemini’ is a
rather intense experience, so do you think he helped to bring out a
different side to the band?
TK: Absolutely, he’s very much a proponent of drums and bass; I think it’s
apparent in the mix. Early on, we thought it would be a good fit to
work with him, as we were writing some heavier stuff, and wanted to
represent it as such. Bayles produces some friends of ours, the band
Ladyfinger, NE, who I’m a big fan of, and a big fan of how their
GO’M: Which song on the new album are you most proud of, and why?
TK: That word again! Ah, geez, I don’t know. I like a few for a few
different reasons. The title track “Gemini” comes to mind, it’s just
kind of weird, oddly shaped, but still feels very straight forward to
me. Creepy, evil, stoner, 70’s rock?
GO’M: I’ve heard that there’s going to be a bonus 10″ with the deluxe
version of the album, with two b-sides on it. Do they fit in with the
concept, or are they meant to be seen as being ‘separate’ to it? Are
there any more songs that didn’t make the cut that you’re planning to
do something with?
TK: One of the songs, ‘Chemical Strain’, was originally on the album, but
got so chopped up into so many weird pieces that eventually we said,
“fuck it”, and tossed it off. The other one? Is just some weird rock
GO’M: Speaking of which, could you see yourself releasing, say, something
else with The Good Life, or perhaps another solo album, once the
touring side of ‘I Am Gemini’ has been finished with? Do you write
while on tour?
TK: I’m working on the next solo album, hoping to have it ready for
whenever the Gemini cycle winds down. No plans to do a Good Life
album, but we are all good buddies, we have never ruled it out. I
mostly stare on tour. And read a lot. Thanks!
‘I Am Gemini’ is released on February 21st in the US and February 27th in the UK through Saddle Creek; the UK LP release is through Big Scary Monsters.
Posted by Gareth O’Malley