Cursive’s Tim Kasher on Touring, Going DIY, and Even Phoenix

Cursive will be at Crescent Ballroom next week.
Cursive will be at Crescent Ballroom next week. Courtesy of Cursive
The members of Cursive never seem to idle for long — if at all. The Omaha, Nebraska, early-emo post-hardcore band launched their own record label in 2017, released their eighth studio album Vitriola in 2018, and are starting 2019 with a 26-stop tour.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Tim Kasher, despite his years in the game, says a new album’s first tour can still be one of the more exciting yet anxiety-fueled spins around the country. There’s an excitement to just go out and play. He hopes people are receptive — and worries they won’t be.

“There can be the problem, especially with a band like us because we’ve been around for so long,” Kasher says by phone from the Vitriola tour’s first stop in Denver. “You worry that playing the new songs is kind of like the homework the crowd has to do, the vegetables they have to eat before they get to dessert.” He chuckles.
“But it’s been great,” he says, “I feel so confident playing the new songs because people are digging them so much. It’s a comfort.” Still, he confirms the band will be playing a long set, including “everything even back into the ’90s.”

Kasher, especially, seems busy. He also fronts The Good Life, releases solo work, and wrote, directed, and soundtracked the feature-length film No Resolution. There are more films on deck, too, and Kasher says he’s making a concerted effort to get a particular thriller made this year: “Fingers crossed.”

Heavy projects like that may lead mega-fans to nervously wonder if Kasher’s gunning to make the jump to film full time, but he says he can’t picture it.

“If film were to take off in such a way where I was in demand to produce things, that would organically happen, but it wouldn’t be an intentional thing,” he says. “I also don’t perceive that happening, so I’m not concerned about it.”

click to enlarge Cursive come to Phoenix with a new album and old memories. - COURTESY OF CURSIVE
Cursive come to Phoenix with a new album and old memories.
Courtesy of Cursive
And then there’s the new record label. Cursive started 15 Passenger in early 2017, but Kasher stresses they are still friends with their former label, Saddle Creek.

“[Saddle Creek] found great success and that’s awesome, but we recognized that we could do it ourselves and were like, ‘Well, why don’t we just do it ourselves?’” he says. “It’s just kind of a fun project. It’s nice to be on Saddle Creek, but it’s an even nicer feeling to know you really are owning your own stuff and making your own decisions. It’s subtle but it’s significant.” The label’s current lineup consists of Cursive, Kasher’s solo work, Campdoggz, and the duo of David Bazan and Sean Lane.

So that’s most everything — multiple music projects, tours, movies, record label management, and, you know, a personal life. But despite his signature floppy brown hair, Kasher seems unruffled.

“Where I am currently, it’s nice because we kind of run everything ourselves, so I just stay busy with what I feel like doing,” he says. “I suppose it’s frustrating to not feel comfortably funded all the time, but, whatever, isn’t that most of us?”

Even in the dawn of 2019, 2020 hits some landmarks on the Cursive timeline: the 20th anniversary of their third studio album, Domestica, and the 25th year of Cursive as a band. And among all the flurry, Kasher still recalls some of the many past stops in the Valley. He remembers an early show at a Chinese restaurant, and an especially earnest audience during an overcrowded show at The Modified.

“I’ll confess it’s a large amount of cities, but Phoenix is one of them that we felt buoyed by early on,” he says, “and that, always, will make it remain close to my heart.”

With Summer Cannibals and Campdogzz. 8 p.m. Tuesday, February 5, at Crescent Ballroom, 308 North Second Avenue; Tickets are $18 to $28 via Ticketfly.
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Lauren Cusimano is Phoenix New Times' food and drink editor. She is a journalist and food waste writer based in Tempe. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.
Contact: Lauren Cusimano