Omaha indie rockers Cursive are no strangers to making concept albums. From Domestica's tale of Sweetie and Pretty Baby to the religious town in Happy Hollow, each album has its own narrative thread. This is abundantly clear on the band's seventh album, I Am Gemini.
"I was writing really jerky songs that I imagined that I wanted to be about multiple personalities or these multiple voices, I wanted to have something that would reflect that kind of music," says singer/guitarist Tim Kasher on Gemini, "It just kept evolving from there to those quirky voices in your head. I couldn't think of a good way to write that without it being Megadeth or something."
We caught up with Kasher while the band was driving to Salt Lake City to discuss Cursive's decision to stay with Saddle Creek, the status of the Help Wanted Nights screenplay, and what the band would be called if it went metal.
See also: Cursive's Ted Stevens on I Am Gemini, Duality, and Line Up Changes See also: Minus the Bear's Cory Murchy, "It's Just 12 Years of Plugging Away and Learning" See also: Girl In a Coma's Jenn Alva On Working "Twice as Hard" as Other BandsUp on the Sun: How did this tour with Minus the Bear get set up?Tim Kasher:
This is actually the third time that I've done a tour with Minus the Bear, it's not uncommon that we're out together. We took them out in 2002 or 2003 or something like that, then they took out the solo band that I do a couple years ago. We first all met around 2003 and stayed friends.
You guys were in Phoenix earlier this year on a headlining tour. Aside from shortening your set, are there any changes you make when you're a supporting act? We get a chance to be more energetic because we know that we're playing only half as long. It's easier to find the energy. By the time you're exhausted, the show's over.
How do you come up with your sets when it comes to shows like these- do stick to newer material, or do you mix it up? Probably somewhere between that. There's the temptation when you're playing to new people and to just do a lot of new stuff. We recognize that there's those people coming out who want to hear different things off of different albums. It's hard with a shorter set, we certainly can't touch on as much older stuff as we'd like. But we still do, we do as many new songs as we do old songs.
How did you come up with the concept for I Am Gemini? Initially, I was writing really jerky songs that I imagined that I wanted to be about multiple personalities or these multiple voices, I wanted to have something that would reflect that kind of music. It just kept evolving from there to those quirky voices in your head. I couldn't think of a good way to write that without it being Megadeth or something. So they came up these physical characters, these twin brothers, that's the evolution of it.
So, you don't have a metal album coming out any time soon? We should, that'd be great. The other band name is Crucifix.
Why did you include a playbill with I Am Gemini? It's all of the lyrics with additional guide posts to explain the storyline, it's the setting and what not. After we've gone so far as writing this one story throughout the album, we just shrugged and said we might as well just write out the play, the opera itself.
After all this time, you guys are still on Saddle Creek. What has kept you with them? There's a lot of comfort. They're old friends. I have a lot of friends in the music community. I try to remember not to take for granted the fact that...I often forget to mention to them that I'm working on an album, I just know that they're going to release it. Just to have that kind of comfort is nice, so I'm glad that we've stuck it out with them for many reasons, and that's one good reason. Were you ever tempted to sign to a major label? We've been doing this for a long time, so we definitely had periods where we considered not necessarily a major, but just any kind of change just to shake things up including self releasing being an option as well, but we just never did.What inspired the song "Sierra"?
It's a fictional story, but it's based on an alternate universe or an alternate scenario. What if I would have made some different decisions early in my life and had that child.A lot of bands including your labelmates The Faint go on tours where they play an album in full. Is that something you ever considered doing? If so, which album would you pick?
It's something that we talk about sometimes, but we just never...we've playedDomestica
in Chicago, we've played it in Omaha, we played it up in Montreal just recently, I forgot about that. We've kept the same course as far as releasing new albums. I think if we were going to do an album back to back at this point, we'd probably prefer to doI Am Gemini
Do you have any plans to write more songs for The Good Life or your solo project? Yeah, I'm recording the next full record. It should be out in February.
How do you decide between what becomes a Cursive song or a solo song? I don't really have to make those decisions because I just write. I just write for an album, I write one album at a time, I sit down to write something for a specific goal. Since you said next February, I take it you already have some ideas going? It's pretty far along. I read that you had a Help Wanted Nights screenplay. What's the latest on that project? That was a few years ago now. I had gotten pretty far with getting that into production and then the bottom dropped out, so I switched gears back to music full time, at least for the time being. I still write scripts and I have another one that I'm currently working on getting in production. I still call it a hobby because I don't make any money off it or anything, but I love doing that stuff.
Are you still in Los Angeles? No, I've been moving around a lot and I'm currently in Chicago.
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What has kept Cursive together for all this time? The way we most feel about that is for one we're all friends, really old friends and we apply absolutely no pressure on each other, whatsoever. Each record we do, we come together and just make decision of 'do we feel like doing a record?' And if we feel like it, we do it. We also feel very much like we're independent from each other.
Cursive is scheduled to perform with Minus the Bear and Girl in a Coma at Marquee Theatre tonight.