HomeInterviewsTim Kasher on Cursive's New Album & the 15th Anniversary of The...

Tim Kasher on Cursive’s New Album & the 15th Anniversary of The Ugly Organ

Photo Credit: Tony Bonacci

During my final year or so of college, the record everybody was talking about was the 2003 album, The Ugly Organ, from the Nebraska indie rock outfit, Cursive. It was a work that the hip music heads were into, and by year’s end it was the essential record in any music worth their salt’s collection.

15 years later, Cursive is hot off the heels of their latest, self-released album (Vitriola), and returning to the road for a nationwide tour. We caught up with the band’s singer Tim Kasher about the new album, self-releasing the record, and the 15 year anniversary of their landmark album.

Vitriola was released in early October. How do you feel this record stands out from the rest of your catalog?

hat may be a better question for long time listeners to decide, but we would like to think our years of working on this catalog have informed Vitriola. Bringing Clint back has been significant, I wonder if it doesn’t sound like a blend of “I Am Gemini” and “Mama, I’m Swollen” meets “Happy Hollow” and “The Ugly Organ.” (Laughs) Probably not. I’m not entirely sure what it sounds like, but I’ve been getting feedback that it sounds like a modern version of older cursive, which is technically accurate.

Can you talk about the story behind the name of this record?

We tried to find an “umbrella” title, something we feel can encapsulate the record as a whole. “Vitriola” popped in my head as a play on the Victrola record player, but with vitriol pouring out from it. Upon researching the etymology of the word ‘vitriola,’ we found it to be an appropriate title, as it has alchemical origins (music could be considered a form of alchemy?) and is a poison, which oddly seemed appropriate as well.

You brought a cellist in to perform on this record — the first time you’ve done this since The Ugly Organ. Why after all these years did you decide to bring a cello back to your sound?

We started touring with Megan Siebe after revisiting ‘The Ugly Organ’ for a tour, so with her already on board, it only seemed fitting to include cello on the record. I love writing for strings, and though we took many years off from the instrument, it felt somehow permissible to include it again.

Clint Schnase returned to the band to record for the first time since 2006? How’d it feel to have him back in the fold and in the studio with you guys?

It was great. Clint has amazing instincts and plays an important role in the composition process. His beats shape the music quite a bit. And as an old friend, it was so nice to find a reason to spend more time together.

You released this on your own label. Can you talk about the experience of self-releasing a record? Also, is 15 Passenger releasing other projects in the near future?

Self-releasing is definitely a different feel, as much of the responsibility of the record’s success falls on your lap, from both the artist and business perspective. We certainly plan on releasing more records, though not more than a few releases a year. The process is not only time consuming, but we also want to ensure each release is done well.

The Ugly Organ came out 15 years ago. People love this record. How do you guys view this record after all these years?

It’s great to see it resonate with people so well, and to witness its continued life with new audiences. What a wild thing, to write a record that reaches so many people!

What are you looking forward to the most for the rest of 2018, early 2019?

I’d like to see If Beale Street Could Talk. I suppose there’s another Star Wars movie coming out next year? I’ll just keep doing my thing, writing records, trying to make movies and keeping my head just barely above those economic waters.

Cursive performs at The Stone Pony on Sunday November 4. Click here for tickets.

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.

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