The Game of Monogamy
So goes "There Must Be Something I Lost," a track off of Tim Kasher's newest venture, a debut solo album titled The Game of Monogamy.
People may recognize Kasher as the iconic voice behind Omaha's post-hardcore band Cursive and indie rock band The Good Life, but his recent solo output may surprise even the most dedicated Kasher fans. Whereas Cursive was sharp, angular and dissonant — "Lament of Pretty Baby" off of 2000's Domestica comes to mind — Kasher's solo work focuses on homey melodies and a refined sense of sonic pleasantry.
The Game of Monogamy, which was released earlier this month, is the first album Kasher has written, recorded and produced under his own name and, in true Kasher fashion, is a contemplative and sometimes bleak denunciation of life and love.
In anticipation of his first show in Austin under the new moniker, The Daily Texan spoke with Kasher about classic pop music, staying in touch with Conor Oberst and why he would choose to live in the year 1890.
The Daily Texan: Hi Tim, how are you doing?
Tim Kasher: I'm very good, thanks. I'm in San Francisco. We're touring with Minus the Bear, and that's really great.
DT: That's great, and I want to talk about that a little more in a bit, but my first question is about your first full-length album, The Game of Monogamy. I feel like it's a really refreshing step in a different direction than your previous work with Cursive. Can you tell me a little about what inspired you to go solo and why your sound has changed?
TK: I really love pop music, and with a band like Cursive, we tend to keep an eye on not making things too poppy. It just seems appropriate with that moniker; even with The Good Life, I'm a little more unabashed with pop songs. So going into my own thing, I felt my own freedom to explore that direction as much as I wanted to. There are some songs on there that I definitely had to consider whether it was too poppy. I wanted to be comfortable with it.
DT: What sort of pop music were you listening to around the time you were composing the album?
TK: I think pop writers like Elvis Costello or David Bowie are really great.
DT: Classic pop. Were there any modern influences that found their way into your work?
TK: You know, I think Phoenix would be a really great point of reference. They're amazing.
DT: Can you tell me about touring with Minus the Bear? You guys go far back, don't you?
TK: I've toured with them quite a bit over the years. They're one of the closest relationships I've made.
DT: And are you still friends with the older crowd on the Saddle Creek and Lumberjack labels?
TK: Absolutely! Yeah, I mean, I just moved back to Omaha a few months ago, and some of The Faint's guys are still running around and being at shows. And you know, we've always been good buddies with [Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk's] Conor Oberst and his family, and so we see each other often. There are a lot of musicians out there. Tilly and the Wall, too.
DT: OK, I have a few weird questions to ask you. If you had to live in any other decade besides this one right now, which would it be and why?
TK: Oh, man. Maybe I'd go for a total stretch and live in 1890. I would try to place it somewhere post-Civil War but pre-telephone, that would be nice. To just live in a village and kind of have that sort of livelihood with 50 or 100 people would be great. It'd be really, extremely different than what we're dealing with now and especially how our world has [simultaneously] expanded and shrunk right down, you know?
DT: What was the first album you ever purchased with your own money?
TK: Oh, that was a long time ago. I think I bought a vinyl record, it was Men Without Hats' album; I was really young and loved "Safety Dance." I think later the same year, I bought The Police's Synchronicity.
DT: How would you describe your perfect sandwich?
TK: [laughs] Hmm. Well, I don't like them to be dry, so a decent amount of a really great runny egg. An egg sandwich with some cheddar cheese on sourdough bread, grilled. Try it, it's delicious.
DT: Last question. What would be a perfect day for you?
TK: I definitely would go see a movie, and I would see it alone because it's one of my
favorite things to do. Preferably the opening of an Alexander Payne movie. I would probably revolve the entire day around that and eat so I'm not hungry in the theater.
DT: You should check out the Alamo Drafthouse in town if you get free time because then you can eat and drink while you're watching a movie.
TK: I've actually heard about the Drafthouse a lot. I've been to something similar before, but it isn't nowhere near as cool as the Drafthouse from what I've heard. [laughs]
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