Posted Jul 15th, 2009 (1:54 pm) by Jessica Davis

After a night of humid weather, sweat-soaked shirts and loud music, I was able to talk with Tim Kasher, lead singer of Cursive. Back in March, Cursive released their new album Mama, I’m Swollen, and have been touring Europe, and the U.S. ever since. Their July 1st show in Salt Lake City was the last night of their tour with the Box Elders, and the start of a two-week break before heading back out on the road again. Read on for the interview, as well as a photoset from Cursive’s show at In the Venue.

InYourSpeakers: You have a couple weeks before you start another tour. How does the extensive touring affect you?

Tim: I try to travel less now. It’s hard work and quite taxing on the personal life. You kind of embellish everything you are. I toured constantly throughout my 20’s, which helped to bring me to where I am today; it’s all about working hard and trying to get lucky enough to make a living out of what you love. I’m glad I did as much touring as I did even though it was exhausting. Now I still tour a lot, but not as much as I used to. In the past, I played with two bands at once; now I concentrate on one band at a time.

IYS: Cursive, and?

Tim: The Good Life. It’s also based out of Omaha.

IYS: So, you took three years to release Mama, I’m Swollen. Any particular reason for the delay?

Tim: Generally we like to put a bit of time in between releases. During the interim, I put out a Good Life album out, and I worked on producing a film.

IYS: What’s your movie about?

Tim: It’s called Help Wanted Nights (also The Good Life’s album title). Basically, the plot revolves around the things a man experiences over the course of a week after his car breaks-down in a small town. There is a lot of focus on his involvement with people in the community.

IYS: So I guess the question must be asked: do you prefer the small town life?

Tim: A lot of people fantasize about New York or L.A. I, on the other hand, like small towns. I find them to be much more comfortable.

IYS: Now, back to your new album: what is it all about?

Tim: To summarize it loosely: We see the record as a person’s journey to abandon society and live outside the parameters of the “civilized” world. Ultimately, Mama, I’m Swollen culminates in the realization that human beings have advanced too far in their social structures for any single person to divorce themselves completely from the rest of society.

IYS: So, one thing that I’ve always noticed about your lyrics is that you refer to butchers quite often. Do you have a traumatic story about these cleavers of meat or something along those lines?

Tim: Well, I don’t have any traumatic stories about the butchers, [Laughs] but I like the concept of the butcher being a grotesque character. I tend to come back to this theme so much because it personifies what we do with our music. We start out with a fairly pretty melody or collection of chords and we go and butcher it.

IYS: That makes sense. So, Cursive seem to change its lineup a lot, huh?

Tim: Yes we’re quite the revolving door. [Laughs]

IYS: When you find that you need a new band member, how do you go about getting the goods?

Tim: We’ve taken references from musician friends that we really trust. We have some other friends who are really professional and have a pretty good handle on who is qualified and who isn’t.

IYS: Is it hard touring with new musicians on a relatively regular basis?

Tim: We’ve had a pretty good history of getting along with everyone. There have been moments here and there, but it’s really not that hard to get along with one another even when you’re with each other all the time. [Laughs] People kind of just keep to themselves.

IYS: As you tour you easily meet hundreds oh new people. Do you remember them all or do things tend to blur together as time goes on?

Tim: [Clears throat] Can you tell I’ve been singing the last couple weeks? [Laughs] Maybe a quarter of the people I meet, I actually remember; that’s pretty good for meeting and conversing with so many people from so many different places on a nightly basis. That said, in most towns I have friends or someone I’m looking forward to seeing.

IYS: So for a little history, did you grow up playing music?

Tim: I started playing when I was about 14.

IYS: Did you go to a lot of shows when you were younger?

Tim: Absolutely! Omaha didn’t have the greatest music scene when I was younger, so I wasn’t able to see all the bands I liked. Nonetheless, I still went out as much as possible.

IYS: Do you think you’ve had an effect on the amount of bands that have started coming to Omaha recently?

Tim: Omaha has worked really hard in growing its community of musicians. There is a huge amount of support for music there now. I’m sure that Cursive has had some effect on giving our city musical cred.

IYS: When you first started out, how did you get you music heard by people outside of your immediate area?

Tim: We started playing around town a lot. Of course, in Omaha, that didn’t really mean much; we were always playing for the same people. We just kept recording songs, and sending our music out to labels around the country like Matador and Sub Pop. I guess the real difference was, instead of waiting around for labels to take an interest in us, we started our own label, released our own material, and started touring like mad. It was tiring and a lot of hard work, but eventually started to snowball.

IYS: So, you’d consider yourself an independent success?

Tim: Yeah, I guess we’re part of the Omaha success story.

IYS: Now that you’ve had a chance to play both large and small venues along with the occasional festival, have you formed an opinion of which sort of show you like best?

Tim: We prefer playing in smaller places; ultimately, those shows tend to be more personal. On the other hand, bigger places are positive in the sense that it’s great to have a huge number of people coming out to see us. There is something lost when you’re not able to relate to the people in the back where the music is quiet enough for people to chitchat though.

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