Reviews

Mama, I'm Swollen

Author: Robert Ham
05/06/2009 | Magnet | www.magnetmagazine.com | Feature
Your music video may have only played once or twice on MTV, but it's on permanent rotation on YouTube. We watch videos and TV performances—the good, the bad, the hilariously dated and the brand new—with musicians to find out what they were thinking. MAGNET's Robert Ham discusses Cursive's new video "From The Hips"—a sort of dating-meets-flash-mob plot starring members of L.A. comedy troupes—with frontman Tim Kasher.
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Any band willing to name its album Mama, I'm Swollen indicates at least some sense of humor. Cursive amplifies that notion via this hilarious video that brings to visual life the health-class maxim: "When you sleep with someone, you're sleeping with everyone they've slept with, too." Kasher tells MAGNET how this ridiculous tale is the result of his band finally embracing the idea of making videos on its own terms.

Kasher: In the past, we haven't been as hands on when it came to our videos, so we wanted to make sure that we liked our videos more and wanted to play more of a role in them. Thankfully, we had the time to do it. It's a pretty basic idea that when men and women go out on dates, they take their baggage with them from all their exes. So I set up a scenario where that was actually happening. Then it got a lot more absurd from there. Mostly, I had the idea of we even when you're dating living in small town like Omaha, everyone kind of dates in the same dating pool. I was kind of commenting that we all end up having sex with each other, so maybe we should capture that on video somehow.

Michael Grodner, the director, had the idea to go to comedy troupes in L.A. to cast the video. It ended up working out really well. The main guy, David Neher is from the Honor Student comedy troupe and we also got people from the Groundlings and people from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in L.A. It was fun to watch them try and lip synch along to my song. I was often right behind the camera helping them when they were having trouble remembering the words, helping sing along with them.

We pulled it together pretty quick, actually, around the beginning of February. We got the treatment to the director, and he was really responsive, so we were able to shoot it later that month. We did it over two days in Los Angeles. We had a great time. It was great to be hanging out with a lot of new people. And they're all funny people, so we just got to hang out, have some drinks and have a lot of fun.

Making videos was more of a self-conscious thing for us in the past. We always wondered, "Why is a band at our level making videos, anyway?" So instead, we just embraced it, figuring we could do videos very affordably, write them ourselves and surround ourselves with people who could get them made. Mostly we convinced ourselves that we've got to open ourselves up to the benefits of the Internet. A band with just about any measure of success can do a video and it'll end up being shown somewhere. At least on someone's MySpace page or something.
Mama, I'm Swollen

Mama, I'm Swollen

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