2016 Artist Survey: Tim Kasher of Cursive
Kasher on 2016's Best Albums, Trump and the Election, Stranger Things, Friends, Obama, and Scary Movies
Feb 02, 2017
Photography by Shervin Lainez Issue # 59 - 15th Anniversary
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For Under the Radar's 14th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2016. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2016 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions. Here are some answers from Tim Kasher of Cursive. Kasher is also in The Good Life and is releasing his third solo album, No Resolution, on March 3 via 15 Passenger, a new label owned and run by Cursive.
For our annual Artist Surveys we emailed the same set of questions to musicians about Trump and the election, 2016's deaths, self-driving cars, Stranger Things, first kisses, scary movies they shouldn't have seen as a child, which Friends character they are most like, and much more.
Pick up or download Under the Radar's Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue for Artist Survey interviews with Amber Arcades, Austra, Faris Badwan of Cat's Eyes and The Horrors, Boxed In, Caveman, The Charlatans, Cursive, Lucy Dacus, The Dears, C Duncan, Sadie Dupuis of Sad13 and Speedy Ortiz, Dutch Uncles, Ezra Furman, Robyn Hitchcock, The Invisible, Justin Lockey of Editors and Minor Victories, Lost Under Heaven (LUH), Lush, Midlake, Phantogram, The Range, Springtime Carnivore, Sunflower Bean, Surfer Blood, TEEN, The Thermals, Nick Valensi of CRX and The Strokes, Jenn Wasner of Flock of Dimes and Wye Oak, and Yuck.
A shorter version of Kasher's survey appeared in the print version of Under the Radar's Best of 2016 / 15th Anniversary Issue, this is the full unedited version.
Top 10 Albums of 2016
1. Angel Olsen: MY WOMAN—Such a big fan of her, so this was a highly anticipated record this year. It exceeded expectations, my new favorite album of hers. It's as if she plucked the best aspects from her previous two albums to make a greater whole.
2. TW Walsh: Fruitless Research—Man, really fell in love with this record this year. Was sent, as what I am assuming was a gift from Graveface Records, along with a couple other albums I had purchased from them. If they had a hunch I would like this record, they were right on.
3. Conor Oberst: Ruminations—My old bud wrote one of his best records in many years. Nice to hear it stripped down to just the essentials, his great songwriting.
4. Cymbals Eat Guitars: Pretty Years—This record surprised me with its strength of songwriting and stayed in heavy rotation as I kept finding something new to appreciate in the music upon every listen.
5. David Bazan: Blanco—A real long time fan of Bazan, it's so nice to have yet another ambitious album from him. Feels like an important departure from his catalog, which, in turn, strengthens the catalog.
6. Beach Slang: A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings—A lot like a continuation of last year's The Things We Do to Find People Who Feel Like Us, this is another album's worth of exciting rock and roll that feels both familiar yet new.
7. Springtime Carnivore: Midnight Room—I met Greta Morgan this year and became interested in what she was working on. This album feels very much in my wheelhouse; I could tell I would like it upon first listen, which always feels good.
8. David Bowie: Blackstar—I imagine this will be on many, many top 10 lists this year, and for good reason. It's not just about the record; it's about his career and his ability to innovate, even upon his dying breath.
9. Summer Cannibals: Full of It—Has to be the coolest record I heard this year, and perhaps the toughest. Saw them live, opening for The Thermals, and was truly taken aback.
10. AJJ: The Bible 2—These guys are infectiously clever, and their anxious characters feel authentic.
2016 was regarded by many as a fairly tough and negative year. Was it also a hard year for you personally? If so, how? And also what were the high points for you?
It's been a fairly down year, for sure, though my reasons are shared with everyone: upsetting deaths, upsetting social injustices, and upsetting politics.
What are your thoughts on how the U.S. presidential election played out?
It's left me paranoid, and more conspiratorial than ever. I have grown a fond distaste for media; I feel like all news has been subjugated by capitalism and the best way to make a buck is to divide us.
Let's discuss Donald Trump. What does the rise of Trump tell you about America in 2016? What concerns you most about a Trump presidency? How do you think his presidency might personally change your life? What message do you have for those who voted for Trump? What actions will you take over the course of the next four years to either protest a Trump presidency or support it?
Wow, lots of questions in this question. For starters, we've elected a tabloid celebrity, so that's fairly unusual, yeah? Not unreasonable for Paris Hilton to run, at this point. I'm hoping Trump's presidency won't effect our day-to-day too much, and there's a possibility it won't. There's also a possibility we will be diving head first into war profiteering, which will send a ripple across this country. Who knows. I'm trying to abstain from doomsday scenarios, as it makes me feel as though Trump is winning all over again, getting into my head and ruining my day.
What reality TV star would you have rather been elected president?
Ha, I should have read ahead before making my "Paris Hilton" comment! So, Paris For President!
If you were president, what would you try to accomplish in your first 100 days in office?
I lean pretty far left, but if I were actually assigned the task of governing this country, I would attempt to be more moderate as a means to assuage all sides. What an impossible task. I'd go after assault rifles, though I would allow leniency in reasonable gun ownership (I'd prefer a gun ban!). I don't think I could become moderate on women's rights though; I can't stand pro-life sentiment when opposed to a woman's right to make her own decisions concerning her body. I'd DEFINITELY TAX THE FUCK OUT OF THE RICH.
What are your thoughts on Brexit and the future of the European Union? To what extent do you think the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump were motivated by the same factors?
I think it was a huge factor. It was Bannon, pulling strings in both instances, and he's likely heading to France and Germany next. Nationalism is awful, scary stuff, and makes it feel as though our generation hasn't learned a thing from history.
We lost three highly influential music icons in 2016. What are your thoughts on the passing of David Bowie, Prince, and Leonard Cohen? And what are your favorite albums by each artist?
It's bittersweet, losing these icons, and a heavy reminder that we are all getting older! The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Purple Rain, and New Skin for the Old Ceremony.
Which Friends character are you most like?
Ha. What's the monkey's name? Just kidding, Chandler Bong.
What scary movie did you see way too young as a child, how'd you end up seeing it, and does it still scare you now?
The Shining—I was about 6 years old, watching in the afternoon with my older siblings, hiding under a blanket. The only thing scarier than the movie was when our dad caught us watching it.
Are you ready for self-driving cars and a more automated future?
Nah. We don't need self-driving cars, we already have BUSES AND TRAINS, PEOPLE!!!
Which Stranger Things character do you most relate with? Why?
Dustin. Okay, I can't really relate to him, I just wish I was him.
What are your thoughts on President Barack Obama now that he's leaving office?
Like many of us, I'm very hopeful that his greatest work is yet to come, once he's out of office and doesn't have to placate to politics so much.
What do you miss most and least about the touring lifestyle when you're not on the road?
I like the distraction of the road, and some days, at home, I feel I could use it.
What's usually the biggest stumbling block to your happiness?
Huh. At risk of getting a bit heavy here, it might be that there is a part of me that doesn't really want it, that feels I don't deserve it. Sorry, should have saved that for therapy.
What band, besides your own, has the best name?
Is it okay that I like the name Diarrhea Planet a lot?
What VHS tape or DVD did you wear out growing up?
Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Grease.
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