Mama, I'm Swollen
Through invisible telephone wires, I was given the chance to sit down with Matt Maginn, the bass player for Cursive, and throw some questions at him about life, music, and "Jurassic Park."
The Vanguard, Kris Skoda: Did you always know music was what you wanted to do career-wise with your life?
Matt Maginn: I wouldn't say [that] actually. We were raised in the Midwest, so we got into music hoping that we could have it as a really fun hobby. The idea of having a career as a musician seemed far-fetched, at least in our upbringing. So, I guess we never really thought we could make it a career. We wanted to do it just 'cause we loved it.
V: As a band that has never played in Mobile before, do you have any expectations for your show at the Alabama Music Box Dec 3.?
M: Not really. We've been playing a lot this year, so we're pretty well-oiled. We just plan to put on a good show and have a good time. We'll probably be playing a set of all kinds of stuff from our catalog from the last nine years or so.
V: How did you first meet bandmates Tim Kasher, Ted Stevens, Cully Symington, and Patrick Newberry?
M: Tim and I met actually when were about 2 years old. We lived about a block from each other and our parents were friends. We've been friends pretty much our whole lives. We met Ted in high school. I met him skateboarding in the parking lot of a school. It was a number of years before Ted hooked up musically with us though. Patrick and Cully we met about three years ago.
V: How much has music changed since your Slowdown Virginia [the band that was Cursive's predecessor] days?
M: [Laughs] That's like a thesis. I could talk for hours on that. Music isn't really the same at all, in terms of availability of music, ability to record music, or ability to get music out there, which of course is largely due to the Internet.
V: In a world where mostly terrible music prevails on the radio and on TV, does it make it that much easier to write good music?
M: [Laughs] Well I would say that there's always good music out there, along with the bad, and the Internet just makes it easier to find either.
As far as Cursive goes, we just get in the mindset every time that we want to go in and do something different than last time.
V: Speaking of difference, I tend to think that all Cursive's albums sound completely different stylistically, but all somehow still sound like Cursive. Your latest album, "Mama, I'm Swollen" sounds closer to "Storms of Early Summer" [one of Cursive's first CDs] than anything else you've made since. Do you agree, and if so, was this deliberate?
M: I definitely do agree, and it was a sort of deliberate choice on our part. We were trying to get a more melancholy, weird sound. I don't know that it really turned out quite the way we wanted or envisioned it. We're going to try to go even weirder on the next one.
V: The face of Saddle Creek Records has changed a lot in the past few years; does it feel odd to be the "salty old dogs" of the label with most of the bands being a bit younger and new to the label?
M: You know, it kind of does. It's just not quite the same dynamic as it was nine years ago, not to say that there's anything wrong with the label now or the bands on it, just that it was different back then.
V: OK, last question, and this is the hard one: Which character from "Jurassic Park" do you think you're most like?
M: Oh, wow. [Laughs] It's been a while since I've seen that one. Wasn't Jeff Goldblum in it?
V: He was.
M: Then definitely Jeff Goldblum.
V: Well played, sir. Well played.
LP / CD / MP3
LP / CD / MP3
LP / CD / MP3