Saddle Creek | Cursive | Reviews


8 Teeth to Eat You

06/04/2002 | Skratch | Feature
Even at its beginning in 1995, Cursive has been one of those seminal bands that every indie music fan recognizes as progenitor of a distinct sound and style. Cursive's first release, 1997's SUCH BLINDING LIGHT FOR STARVING EYES, set the standard for the band's jangly, emotionally-charged rock songs. After breakng up for a year in late 1998, the band reformed and released DOMESTICA in 2000, the album that confirmed the band's popularity and refined its sound.
Cursive released its newest EP, BURST AND BLOOM, in 2001but was dealt a setback earlier this year when singer Tim Kasher suffered a collapsed lung at the outset of the band's tour with Eastern Youth. Soon after his recovery, Cursive entered the studio to record the band's first full-length album since DOMESTICA, entitled THE UGLY ORGAN. The album will be released on Saddle Creek Records in early 2003.
This interview was conducted via telephone with Matt Maginn, who plays bass for Cursive.
SKRATCH: You guys just played at CMJ, right? How'd you like it?
Matt: It was fun. We had a good time, saw a lot of friends.
SKRATCH: I know you guys tour a lot, and earlier this year you were on tour with Eastern Youth. EY is really popular in Japan, but it doesn't get much notice in the U.S. How did it come about that Cursive recorded and toured with EY?
Matt: It came around because we had a mutual friend in Kenji, who runs Five One Inc. Records, the label that co-released the record. He had worked for a label (Toy Factory) that had put out Eastern Youth. He thought it would be a cool idea to put the two bands together, so we did it. We weere going to play here with them, then we were going to go there and play with them, but we had to cancel. They're very sweet guys. They're so good live.
SKRATCH: You guys came off the Plea for Peace/Take Action Tour. How did Cursive get involved with that tour?
Matt: We've been wanting to get onto Plea for Peace [...] We tried to get on last year, too. This one kind of came to pass in a roundabout way because we had made plans to go out on tour with Thursday, and they were going to go out on Plea for Peace [...]. We toured together...I think we played five or six shows with them; and then we both joined up with Plea for Peace.
SKRATCH: Did you enjoy it?
Matt: Yeah, it was a blast. All the bands [on it] are great people.
SKRATCH: Cursive recently acquired a cello player (Gretta Cohn) before BURST AND BLOOM. Was she an addition just for that release, or is she a permanent member of the band now?
Matt: Yeah, she's a permanent member. She's been with us for about a year-and-a-half now.
SKRACTH: I've missed all the tour dates you've had in L.A.-or else i would have known that!
Matt: [Laughs] That's quite alright.
SKRATCH: Why did you guys decide to add a cello player to the band?
Matt: Why? Uh...that's a good question. [Laughs] I was going to say I don't know," but that's not really true. I mean, we were just looking for another instrument, something to complement the sound, and we chose the cello just because of the range that it plays in and its nice sound, work well with the other instruments. That's kind of how we did it, I guess. So we started looking for a cello player. That was interesting. We actually lucked out and found Gretta rather quickly. We got in touch with her, and she came and met us. She's from Brooklyn--no, from Long Island, originally.
SKRATCH: Is she still there, or did she move to Omaha?
Matt: Yeah, she moved out here. We met her when we played New York--hung out that night, had a good time. She said yes," and then she just packed up and came. It was amazing. It's great. She's a hard worker.
SKRATCH: How do you guys divide the songwriting responsibilities?
Matt: It's actually mainly Tim. He comes in with the main plan, and then we all sort of meld and work together. Well, he and Ted (Stevens--guitar): Ted also writes. But it's probably...oh, 80% Tim. Sometimes it changes. It varies from record to record. We work it out.
SKRATCH: You're releasing a full-length (The Ugly Organ) early next year. Do you guys have any more big plans, or are you just chillin' and going where it goes?
Matt: That's probably our biggest plan. [Laughs] This is gonna be our first full-length in two...about two-and-a-half years, so we're gonna do a full U.S. tour in January, and then a full U.S. tour in April or late March. It'll be busy. And then I think we're going to try and go to Europe this summer.
SKRATCH: You guys tour a LOT.
Matt: Yeah, Tim--our singer--tours about double what we do. When he comes home with us, he goes out with his other band. It's insane.
SKRATCH: Do you guys really like touring? Is that why you go out all the time? Or is that just the way it works out?
Matt: Um, yeah, I think we like it. It has its pluses and minuses. I mean, no privacy and everybody has loved ones back home they don't want to be away from. Personal space is a big thing; but we get used to it.
SKRATCH: What do you like best about being a musician and being in Cursive?
Matt: I just like the outlet for playing music, really. We had broken up for, like, a year before, and it wasn't very fun, not playing and not having songs to write. People need that kind of release, letting my mind go. One way or another, I'll probably always be playing.
SKRATCH: You work at Saddle Creek Records. Have you always been involved with the label from that side of things?
Matt: I have only officially been working here since...February. All the bands have been involved with the label throughout, but not in the day-to-day work. Robb [Nansel], who owns it now, did most of the day-to-day work; but it's sort of a community-run business.
SKRATCH: From everything I've read, all the bands in Omaha that are involved with Saddle Creek have always been kind of a tight group.
Matt: Yeah. We get together and talk about what we release, what we do, and where we're going.
SKRATCH: Do you play together with other bands from Omaha?
Matt: Um, Bright Eyes is the only other one that I play with. I used to travel with them, but I'm pretty much just recording now.
SKRATCH: Is there anything else you want to say about Cursive--or about anything in general?
Matt: Just that the new record is coming out. That's about it. There will be a single--not like a radio single, but a seven-inch.
SKRATCH: That's almost the equivalent of a radio single--in its own way.
Matt: Yeah, if radio stations still had 45 [rpm] players. [Laughs] But [...] it'll be a busy year for us. Thank you guys for doing an interview.