Interview: Tim Kasher

Tim Kasher - Photo courtesy of Tim Kasher

Tim Kasher – Photo courtesy of Tim Kasher

The way Tim Kasher tells it, he doesn’t necessarily like to stay in one place too long; though he was born in Nebraska, Kasher has lived all over, including some time spent in California and Montana. For the past two years, however, he’s hung his hat in Illinois.

“I’ve been moving around a lot, mostly just for the adventure of it. I moved to a lot of places not with the plan of staying…but instead just knowing that it was an experience to have,” he shared. “[But] it’s likely I’ll stay in Chicago for awhile.”

That sentiment is also reflected in how Kasher used to feel when he wasn’t on the road touring solo, with The Good Life, or with Cursive.

“I used to get pretty restless when I got back home,” he said, noting that it happened a lot when he only had a short break between legs of tours. “I would rather just get back on the road and just kind of keep doing it.”

Be that as it may, Kasher seems to be settling down, if only a little bit. However, if he stays put, he needs to keep busy, whether that’s working on new music or picking up a different skill-set.

“I bought a drum set recently, so I’m looking forward to setting that up and playing,” he said with a laugh. “I can maintain a beat and that’s about it.”

In October of last year, Kasher came out with solo album “Adult Film.” He didn’t liken his music to children; instead, Kasher unabashedly insisted the album is his favorite work of his at the moment, while simultaneously admitting that it’s somewhat trite to say.

“The children cliche is really pretty dull and people say that all the time, but I’m gonna say another cliche that’s really dull. It’s not even a cliche, it’s just dull: when I read…about songwriters and they just are really excited about their new album, their latest album…it’s so dull, you know? It’s not about that. I’m not really interested in picking my best records,” he said. “But it is about being mostly excited about what you’re currently working on.”

That said, Kasher doesn’t have any negative feelings toward his older music either. This is largely due to his sitting down around the time he started Cursive and identifying the parts of his songwriting he didn’t like or was embarrassed by, and then making an active effort to not repeat them.

“You need to look at all the ways you write that you end up disliking and you need to stop doing that,” Kasher said. “[And] it’s nice to say that, forgiving a song here and there, like throughout the last 20 years, for the most part I can look at all the records [and be OK with them].”

Part of Kasher’s comfort with the writing process likely has to do with the fact that he both reads—he cited F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway as beloved authors—and writes regularly.

“I’m a believer in the process of writing as a practice,” he said, noting that it’s important to get bad ideas out and keep writing beyond them to the good stuff.

For Kasher, a large amount of his lyrics in Cursive tend to be more fictional, while his solo work is more autobiographical, and The Good Life is somewhere in between.

“It is kind of accurate that Cursive would be less autobiographical, but it’s mostly because of my relationship with that band. It’s easiest for me to be the most candid on the solo side, because the people in Cursive and the people in the Good Life, sometimes there’s a little bit of a discomfort for me,” Kasher explained. “[But] there’s fiction in autobiography, and…I like to keep it all blurred. I think it’s just kind of safer and it’s also more liberating as a writer, ’cause then you don’t have to worry about any set parameters.”

Though he will turn 40 this year, Kasher has no plans for stopping, though he noted that it can definitely be a struggle to do what he does as he ages and the music industry evolves.

“I spent the first part of my musical life, you know, working crazy hours to make enough money to get out on the road so I could lose it all. It was always this uphill climb, but I wasn’t even climbing. It was just a constant struggle. And then I got these lucky breaks where everyone kind of like turned and noticed what I was doing and so I had like a small window…of a few years where everything was just cool and everything was fine and we were just professional musicians,” he said. “And that lasted for about a few years before I started wondering: ‘When is the other shoe gonna drop?’ And that’s the perseverance thing. It’s like every record I do, it’s like, ‘fuck man, I hope I get to do another one.’ And I keep managing to do that…”

But if it somehow gets to the point where Kasher can’t make a living writing and performing music?

“I’d always planned on doing grad work in English and becoming a professor and so I suppose I could maybe do that? I mean, actually, I would like to do that,” he said, before also toying around with the idea of doing something music related, like booking or promoting shows.

“It’s always like this life of possibility,” he said, “and there’s always potential.”

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