Musicscan: With the record now being out for a few months, how did it feel like to release an album under your own name as opposed to working under the moniker Cursive or The Good Life? What were some of the most rewarding aspects of doing that?
Tim Kasher: I suppose I'm hoping the "rewards", so to speak, will be more long term; I have been daydreaming of doing albums of different styles/genres, with differing instrumentation - writing under my own name offers more flexibility to do so.
Musicscan: Did you approach this album any differently than your previous efforts?
Tim Kasher: Similar to the previous question, I enjoyed arranging the album without any parameters of a proper 4-piece band. Alas, I still used a lot of 4-piece rock band elements! I guess I'm a fan of rock and roll.
Musicscan: What were some of the hardest aspects about writing and recording this album?
Tim Kasher: Patrick Newbery (co-producer, co-arranger) and I missed a deadline: we wanted to finish recording before an upcoming Cursive tour. We continued recording on the bus, in hotel rooms, garages, and various studios we rented out. It was kind of fun, actually, having to play catch up while on tour.
Musicscan: In terms of the lyrics, is there a common theme among the songs that ties them together thematically or should they be considered as separate and fairly autonomous entities?
Tim Kasher: I think I'd leave that up to the listener. I write the lyrics, knowing they will be paired up with the other songs on the album, so I do tend to relate them. I also sequence them in a way that tells a story; though it's not necessary to follow, just available if one chooses to.
Musicscan: Since the lyrics are such a prominent aspect of your songwriting, I was wondering if the music or the lyrics usually come first. Do you think the lyrics could also stand on their own? What do you particularly pay attention to when aligning lyrics and music?
Tim Kasher: I always write music first and always remind myself that this is "music" being written, not a short story. I do get quite involved with lyric writing, and I considerate it every bit as important as the music itself, but I don't even bother with lyrics if I don't consider the song strong enough. As for aligning the two, there are clear parameters of melody and meter that need to be followed when fitting in the lyrics, but I encourage as much flexibility as needed to get out what I want to say. I also encourage it, as I don't prefer such rigid meter.
Musicscan: Do you think it still makes sense to talk about “high art” such as classical music and “popular culture” such as pop songs? It seems, especially with this record, that you are constantly transgressing these borders in your music.
Tim Kasher: I think that's up to the listener. This is pop culture; it's pop music. It's also an art form, even in its most rudimentary styles. So, to me, as a listener, pop music is both. Okay, perhaps it's not "high art", unless we are discussing Kate Bush! (laughs).
Musicscan: Sex and relationships have always been central aspects of your storytelling and they are also recurring themes on “The Game of Monogamy.” What led you to return to these issues again?
Tim Kasher: They are the core of the human condition! I attempt to cover other topics here and there, on certain albums, but these are truly my favorite topics to write about.
Musicscan: What makes for the perfect song in your opinion? Have you ever achieved something like a perfect song? How would you define a perfect song?
Tim Kasher: I kind of agree with the adage that a "perfect" song sounds familiar, the first time you hear it. Instantly relatable. I think they said something to that effect in "Crazyheart."
Musicscan: Is it necessary to create a certain distance between you and the music in order to get a better understanding of its inherent quality?
Tim Kasher: I guess I don't write or work in that way. I think a lot of writing is instinct; I would suggest not overthinking it too much, trust your personal taste, and hope that others can relate to it.
Musicscan: What is the difference between art and entertainment in your opinion?
Tim Kasher: Eh, similar to the discussion above... it's all expression, it's unfair to tell a stripper that she isn't creating something. Weird to put it in that context. But sports too, "the art of baseball". Art and entertainment are fairly hand in hand - I suppose entertainment is often when art becomes a commodity.
Musicscan: What can we expect from Tim Kasher in the near future? Any new releases or collaborations planned?
Tim Kasher: I am writing a Cursive record this winter and spring.