You have to buy this lasest album from Cursive with all the orchestral unorthodoxy and instrumental irreverence you want to piss your parents off with.
Free Tracks From Tim Kasher
Tim Kasher is reppin’ 35-year-olds everywhere. The frontman of both The Good Life and Cursive, Kasher is another mover and shaker out of Omaha. A product of the Midwest indie scene, Kasher has branched out from music and has made his first venture in film – both writing and directing. He currently calls Whitefish, Montana home (srsly), is still friends with Conor Oberst, and applauds the fan turnover rate for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And if he’s not busy enough writing, directing, and touring with his current two bands, he’s also working on a solo project. This man sounds like the Ryan Seacrest of music – oh God, I’m sorry. Anyway, Tim carved out a block of time to sit down with FUN Artists and discuss all his projects and philosophies.
FUN Artists: Was this Cursive/Alkaline Trio tour put together on the friend level or was it done by the-powers-that-be?
Tim Kasher: I’d say it was a little bit of both. I’ve met Matt [Skiba] a couple times over the years and we have mutual friends. He’s an awfully nice guy and I’ve wanted to do this tour for a while. And we are friends with their manager, so we had a hunch that he came up with idea. So ‘the-powers-that-be’ being our friends is probably the right answer.
FUN Artists: You moved to Los Angeles and then you left, did this town run you off?
Tim Kasher: Well, I came on a whim, I mean I don’t know what you’ve read but, I was planning on moving to New York and it really just came to down to the fact that a rental place really didn’t present itself the weekend I was there. I just said screw it and was like “well, how about LA?”, and so I came out here—it just worked out better, and my brother lives here so that helps. I moved here with the plan that I would like to stay at least a year, and I made it two and a half years, so it was longer than I expected.
By the time I moved, I wasn’t planning on staying. So I don’t know, I think it was fine, but I depend too much on the kind of drinking culture, and it’s just very difficult … I always lived on the outskirts. I lived in Eagle Rock and Santa Monica—Santa Monica ended up being great cause I could stay on my bicycle, but I only had like one friend, cause everyone I knew lived in Silverlake. So it’s kind of difficult versus Omaha or like Whitefish [Montana] where I live now.
FUN Artists: What something notable you did while in LA that you feel really couldn’t be reproduced anywhere else?
Tim Kasher: The film stuff. I definitely recognized all the benefits of moving out here and being more available. I ended up doing a score cause I was out here, so that was nice, and that was work I probably wouldn’t have gotten in Omaha.
FUN Artists: What was the name of the film?
Tim Kasher: It’s called My Suicide. I ended up having a relationship with the producer of that film, and now they are working with my film. So yeah … although I’d like to stress that I was never out at parties hobnobbing [as he motions a sort of “rubbing elbows”].
FUN Artists: What is your involvement in the film?
Tim Kasher: I’m supposed to be the director … I’ve talked to a few directors and I’m saying, ‘This is preposterous right?’ and every director I’ve talked to said ‘Oh yeah, just do it.”… I’ve had a lot of positive – optimistic attitudes? – just surround yourself with people who know what they are doing.
FUN Artists: I’ve been hearing about “Tim Kasher’s film” for awhile and it’s a bit of a mystery to me. What kind of stuff can we expect? When does it come out, where can I see it? Is it going be at Sundance or at my AMC?
Tim Kasher: He he, the AMC seems incredibly unlikely, and Sundance would be a long shot. I go through good days and bad days when I feel like we are going to hit our shooting date, and other days when I’m like… It’s proving to be more like the music business has been for me, where you’re really just doing it for yourself. And that’s the other advice I can give: it’s not like there’s a bunch of producers that are at my doorstep saying ‘I really want to make your movie!’ Instead it’s more like you have to run around and be like ‘I want to make a movie,’ and you have to constantly remind people, ‘I’m doing this; I can’t do it alone.’ So yeah, it’s very reminiscent of being 18 and trying to find people to help with my music.
FUN Artists: Is it a big part of your day attempting to get the movie rolling?
Tim Kasher: I’d say every week.
FUN Artists: Is it cast properly where you think ‘that guy is gonna be perfect; that girl was meant for the role’ or, actually you probably wouldn’t tell us that would you?
Tim Kasher: [Laughs] I will say that I’ve been lucky in that it reads well, and people respond to it well, and especially the actors respond to it well because they don’t have to sink money into it; they just see it as – it’s all dialogue – so it’s an actor’s piece. It’s easier to get them to trust it, but there’s this woman I love, Molly Parker, and she was one of the first people I wanted. It’s strategic because she’s not as well known, and I think she’s amazing.
FUN Artists: Will you be making a cameo in this film?
Tim Kasher: I hope not.
FUN Artists: Oh come on, they’ll want you in there!
Tim Kasher: I think there are some people who have said that they want me to do that, but I’m not interested in that.
FUN Artists: So what was it about Montana that beckoned to you as a new place to live, and what was the backup plan?
Tim Kasher: I had the thought of moving to a really big city or a really small town, so I chose LA. That was one of the main thoughts, I was like ‘Well, I’m gonna go to a small town.’ I’m really just floating around trying to take in a lot of different experiences I guess, and there’s a studio up there called Snow Ghost that I got in touch with the proprietor, and he’s a good guy and said ‘Life is really great; you should come up.’
FUN Artists: Did you have friends up there?
Tim Kasher: I made friends up there.
FUN Artists: Are you friends with them because you share the same geography or with guys that have beards and would drink whiskey with you?
Tim Kasher: There’s a really big bar culture there, which is nice. The good bars have people there every night…
FUN Artists: Do they know the reputation preceding you, “Hey that’s Tim Kasher!” Or are you a full on outsider that small town guys want to fight?
Tim Kasher: Whitefish is a pretty nice place, but it’d be closer to the latter. I think I’ve gotten a little bit of that ‘Oh what, this guy is a professional musician? Fuck him.’ But there has only been a little of that.
FUN Artists: What does a day look life for you over in Whitefish? Working on music for your solo project or…?
Tim Kasher: Yeah, I was working pretty hard on that.
FUN Artists: So what’s your goal in terms of working by yourself, to put out a “Tik Masher and the Purple Nurples” record out?
Tim Kasher: The idea is … well, it’s mostly recorded and it’s gonna get mixed next month. I think the most common question will be, ‘Why isn’t it The Good Life?’ and the reason is that over the years The Good Life became a band—became kind of constant members, it didn’t start that way. I just wasn’t interested in doing an album that was like ‘Well, what’s the drummer gonna do? And what’s the bass player gonna do, and what’s the second guitarist gonna do…?’ I just wanted it to be more open. Actually the score that I did inspired me a lot because I was doing it on my own. I thought, ‘I’d like to have a violin here, and an oboe here.’ It would be more interesting to apply that to pop music, and that’s exactly what it is, it’s probably ‘poppier’ than either band.
FUN Artists: When you are writing these songs do you have to dictate in your mind which project they best fit? ‘Oh, this should be a Cursive song’ or ‘I’ll keep this one for the solo repertoire’ or are you just keeping them all for yourself right now, which is fine?
Tim Kasher: In the past I have kind of written for both, I mean a long time back when I was working really hard on both bands, I was kind of writing albums simultaneously. Now I just write one album at a time and it’s a much better method because, in my opinion, trying to write your best stuff seems like a much better method. Always try and write your best stuff. I have a hunch that there are these people out there who have this impression that there might be a hierarchy, but it’s probably just their preference. Some people just like Cursive more and some people prefer The Good Life. People who like Cursive more, I think they might sometimes think ‘His lesser material he gives to The Good Life’ or something like that. So now it’d be like ‘Oh, his real lesser material he does on his own,’ and I think that’s all total bologna. I don’t hold any songs back is what I’m saying; I write one album at a time.
FUN Artists: So The Good Life is beyond hiatus?
Tim Kasher: Well, we still play shows. We just don’t have plans on doing an album.
FUN Artists: But you will tour solo?
Tim Kasher: Yeah.
FUN Artists: Saddle Creek Records?
Tim Kasher: Yeah, it will probably be on Saddle Creek.
FUN Artists: It seems that the Saddle Creek crew were all friends since high school. Are you guys still running around together? Are you still texting Conor Oberst and stopping by your mom’s house at Christmas?
Tim Kasher: Yeah, I think what’s too bad that is that I’m only in closer touch with a few of them now. Whereas it use to be where, well you know, when you guys are in high school and you use to run around with this group. Basically the earliest version of Saddle Creek was: we all lived in Omaha and there was probably what 30, 40, maybe more musicians all running around at the same house parties and playing the same shows. And a lot of those people I’m not—I’m just out of contact with. And it’s not like I don’t know what they are doing; I just don’t talk to them as much and don’t see them as much. That’s just all of us getting older. But yeah, people like Conor and Todd from The Faint – we’re still good friends.
FUN Artists: So for now your gonna just finish writing the album in Montana, and then move on or what? Any ideas for your next living arrangements?
Tim Kasher: I’ve been thinking Chicago lately … I often say things like this and end up in Alabama or something.
FUN Artists: What are you? Are you a songwriter, a writer in general, a screenplay writer…?
Tim Kasher: Writing is what I love the most in reference to songwriting. But it’s easier on your passport to just say musician. That’s my job; I’m a musician.
FUN Artists: If you your film made you a shit-ton of money, would you call it quits on writing songs and focus on film?
Tim Kasher: No, I would never. It’s what I do. If I were ever to be lucky enough in the film world to be busy – it will never happen – I’m not even necessarily busy in the music word; I’m only busy with music because I make myself busy doing two bands for instance. That’s my choice. It’s not like there is a demand and people are like ‘We need to hear more, another side of Tim!’ I mean, that was just my decision because I had time on my hands to do another. I actually subject myself onto people. So film, if I were ever to actually find any success with it, I would feel like a huge asshole to stop writing songs or release an album. Yeah, why would you? I mean, it feels dirty to me – was music just a vehicle to get somewhere else?
FUN Artists: I feel like I’m on the “second wave” of your music. I’m not sure what wave these kids at the show here tonight are on. Do you feel like you are on the seventh or eighth wave of Cursive/The Good Life fans? Further, do you want to play to old balding guys like myself and my friends, or do you want to play to the youngsters? Feel any disconnect as the years go on?
Tim Kasher: There’s two answers I think, and I think us, the guys in Cursive, have learned this. I think you often hear ‘O you play to such a young audience, its so annoying.’ What we’ve learned is that – and yes, I do want to play to – I’m 35 and where are all my 35 year olds at? Because you know, I was playing to them when I was 20, and where are they at? So yeah, you do wish that your audience rose with you, and you wonder ‘Are we doing something wrong?’ and you think about that for a long time, but ultimately your not going to get any real answer. So yeah that’s nice, but also what’s nice is, you don’t turn away from a really young audience that becomes turned onto you. I’ve often made fun of the Chili Peppers; it seems like they have this rotation of complete fan turnover, but hey they must be really good at what they do because they do have a full turnover of fans. I love the Chili Peppers; I love Mother’s Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik, so that was my age. And guys older than me loved the albums before that. So everyone has their Chili Peppers era, but then you put it behind you.
FUN Artists: Well Tim Kasher you are a sweetheart, thank you.
Tim Kasher: Yeah guys, cheers.