Author: Kevin Coffey
When we called Tim Kasher last week to talk about his upcoming Cursive show at Maha Music Festival, we had a few other questions, too.Kasher's not only performing with Cursive, but recording an album with them, too. And he's also releasing a solo EP and going out on a solo tour.We spoke to Kasher about all of that as well as moving back to Nebraska, being a full-time musician and how he writes.Q. How is the recording of the Cursive album going?A. It's going really well. We're done with all of the basic tracking with drums and bass and my guitar and keys and various odds and ends. I'm working on vocals nightly and Teddy's working on guitar.Q. How about working with producer Matt Bayles? He's a pretty talented guy.A. I did have a really positive test run, except we don't need to test run with him because we love what he does. I did the "Bigamy" EP, and he mixed that. This is kind of my year of working with Matt Bayles.Q. Speaking of the "Bigamy" EP, is it leftover from your "Game Of Monogamy" album or are these new songs? They seem to be in the same vein.A. It's kind of an odds and ends EP. In a sense, that's kind of the way I put it together. one of the songs was an actual outtake from the Whitefish recordings ("Game of Monogamy" was recorded in Whitefish, Mont.). But all of them were written in that period.It's one of these things where I always end up with all these other extra songs and I daydream about releasing all those songs as well.This being a project I'm doing more or less on my own, I can do that. It's not like I couldn't in the past, but it's something that's kind of pleasant about working in this way is those decisions are easier to make.If you feel like it, do it.So, the songs were all written in that same house up there. Some of them are even a little bit older, written back in California. It was all over the same two years.Q. I really liked the cover of Azure Ray's "Trees Keep Growing." The original is very mellow and yours is loud and crashing, but still has the same sound and feels the same.A. Thanks. It's kind of exactly the way I hoped for it to be received. I recognize that it's a lot different sonically, but I didn't want the feel to be different.It fits into that kind of old adage or old music philosophy that a love song should be very simple. That song's really pure to me and I connected to it on that level. I recognized that they were keeping it so intentionally minimalistic. So, I wanted to do the same thing but with that other energy of love. instead of the passive energy, the aggressive one.Q. Have they heard it?A. I sent it to Orenda (Fink) upon getting it mixed. She seemed flattered and she appreciated it. It's kind of fun to hear your songs done in a different light.Q. Do you ever listen to your songs covered by other people? They're all over YouTube.A. I actually, honestly don't. Maybe I should or I could. The Internet is such a black hole. Such a trap. Having access to being online while you're trying to get anything done, I know it slows me down.I also get really queesy. Whenever I lean toward looking up anything self-referential to stuff I'm doing, I get a physical reaction of queesiness. And then i just stop. I don't want to open up that pandora's box. I close it again. It's weird.Q. Do you ever go back and listen to your old records?A. I guess I would give advice that if you're putting out a decent amount of records or developing a catalog, I think it's really healthy to keep an ear on what you've done and how you're doing it now.But foolishly, it's not advice that I take. It seems like such a smart idea, and whenever I sit down and try to do it, I get fidgety or think there's other music I could be learning from.I wish I did it because it seems vital. I have been starting encouraging myself to listen to stuff, for instance when Cursive did "Domestica" (live in its entirety at sevaral concerts). I did make a point to sit down and listen to it because my impression of "Domestica" and my version of it is completely different.They're hearing one that's more than 10 years old. My version is always keeping up with me. For example, my vocal inflections were different ? probably subtle things but stuff I noticed.Q. Now Cursive is living in Nebraska again. Is it easier to record that way?A. I remember living in Omaha for Happy Hollow. Then Mama, I'm Swollen was the album where we all flew to various locations to kind of work on it for a week at a time.In some ways, we still kind of have to do it that way. For one, with our touring schedules you still have to schedule and practice. I haven't had the experience of getting together and having a weekly band practice since "Help Wanted Nights," since The Good Life did that album. We still had the fun of all living in the same city and getting together and doing nothing but trying to get a record done.Q. So, you're still writing the album?A. It's three-quarters written. I'm taking this time on tour to kind of finish up the ideas and then I'll have time to finish it.Q. Will it be out this year?A. We have a goal to have it done by October and it's a goal that I think we can achieve.Q. How do you decide what's for Cursive and what's for your solo project?A. For the most part, I basically write just an album at a time. In saying that, that's the bulk fo the differentiation. It's a matter of tryign to stay focused on one thing. I don't know if I have a problem with focus, but I have a problem with putting 100 percent into something ? truly doing one thing at a time.That's mostly how I do it. I don't know what the difference of mindset is, but I know it's different. I work slowly on one thing at a time.This was all found by trial and error. I used to try to balance things a lot more, but I like this output a lot better.Q. Do you still write on other projects? You were working on a movie at one time and you had also once mentioned writing a book.A. I do. But that's kind of been part of my shift as well. Instead of balancing various writing projects, now I'm taking them on one at a time.In between each record, I'll write really furiously on like a script and it's kind of a nice breather I suppose. Shake Things up.Music really is my job, so I can't really just set it aside indefinitely. Not that I'd want to anyway. It's just one of those things that's a shame like in any of our lives, there are certain things that take precedent.Q. So, you still manage to make a living as a musician?A. Yeah. I'm not offering anything new by saying it's getting that much more difficult with the way the industry continues to change.But I do manage.I'm no stranger to people saying wow, you're really busy and your'e really hardworking. It's just that. I do manage, but it's a fulltime job.Q. People must think that since you're a musician, you can just sit back and let the checks roll in.A. (Laughs) No, not at all. If I did sit back, a check woudln't roll in.