Cursive

Silent Uproar: All right, well I'll just start out; does it bother you that a lot of the press refers to your music as EMO?

Ted: No

Greta: No. It's just a label, and maybe it can explain something to the people that need a label. It isn't bothersome though.

Ted: I don't find it confining at all.

SU: And then I had perhaps a better opening question. Do you like cheese?

Ted: Cheese, oh yeah, yeah...

SU: Because you always try to come up with a question, but you don't want to really get to into things yet…

Ted: (Laughing) Don't get me started on cheese.

SU: Since you've kind of reformed and come back with Domestica and then put out the Burst and Bloom EP and the split with Eastern Youth, it seems that you continue to experiment and push your music forward. Is that something you continued with the new album?

Ted: Yeah definitely. We were not trying to break new ground, but just to mix it up a little bit. We were trying to write some songs and play some riffs that were un-Cursive or just different.

SU: Just not doing the same old thing over and over.

Ted: Yeah exactly, just not boring. We try and keep it interesting.

SU: Of the songs on the new album, what was the hardest song to record? Like just to get it down like you wanted it to sound?

Ted: That's probably a bad question because we recorded everything so far in advance and we demoed it so long, and we had been touring, so by the time we got to the studio we pretty much banged through it.

Greta: We've played through the songs so many times…

Ted: Yeah the recording was pretty painless. Just one or two takes and it was there. Then of course it is difficult when you start doing vocals and overdubs and all that. We probably all had different songs we got trapped on. I can't remember one that was really difficult though.

SU: Do you ever have problems getting back out on the road and trying to make the stuff you laid down in the studio sound right live?

Ted: Yeah, definitely. That's a better question to ask. Yeah, we couldn't play the robot song, what's that called?

Greta: I don't know the name, we just call it the robot song.

Ted: We don't know the name, but we couldn't do it. It just didn't jive with the band, so we just had to drop it last minute.

Greta: Of course, like all these multiple overdubs and things like that you can't replicate, so you do your best to work around it and choose the most important part.

SU: Does it factor into things when making the set list for a show? Do you try to do songs that are maybe a little bit easier to pull off live, or do you just play the songs you want to play?

Greta: Both.

Ted: Yeah. We're getting better at replicating some of the studio tricks. I was thinking about that today. When you make a record there are always production tricks, especially Pro Tools tricks, that are tricky. To make the sounds live you have to replicate it somehow using something different. We now have these drum triggers which I think has made a big difference in our sound. Now the drums sound a lot bigger and there is a lot more room for Clint to individually change each drum sound while he's playing. That fills in for the lack of studio tricks on stage.

SU: It gives you a little more flexibility.

Ted: Yeah. Or you consolidate parts you write. Greta did some songs that she wrote for the record, and then live she plays a consolidated version of two parts of four parts, right?

Greta: Yeah.

SU: How do you feel about the new album? Are you really happy with the sound?

Ted & Greta: Yeah, definitely. I think Mike did a great job.

SU: I read an article where Matt was saying that he thinks the new album is the best work he's done to date. Is that a sentiment you all share?

Ted: Yeah, we've kind of felt like that every step of the way. I listened to the first one today, and I still like that a lot. I didn't play on it and Great didn't play on it, but I still think the first records a decent record to say the least. The second and third efforts were equally as good. I think the removal of us, as far as players on those records, gives a little more incite into the value of those early records.

SU: Right, I would think it would be easier to appreciate it when you're not a direct part of it.

Greta: What we've done is actually reworked the whole songs and changed them slightly, it re-imagines old Cursive in the new format.

Ted: Plus we have all the new tricks, rhythm or whatever that…I don't know, just new tricks.

SU: Cool. I kind of felt that on the Burst and Bloom EP it almost seems that some of the cello parts were added in on top of what was already there.

Greta: Yeah, they definitely were.

SU: Then with the Eastern Youth it was a little more integrated into the songs.

Greta: Yeah, with Burst and Bloom I had flown out to Omaha and the songs were already written and recorded and I just added on. But then starting with the Eastern Youth split, we were writing songs together.

SU: It's really cool to see the progression of it, kind of like the slow integration of Greta. She's here, she's playing on top of the music and now she's part of the song, she's in the mix and it sounds like it's supposed to be there. It's a really good fit.

SU: Who would win in a wrestling match, Gary Coleman or Emanuel Lewis?

Ted: Gary Coleman probably. I've seen him jump off the high ropes before. He's a little bigger too.

SU: I assume you've been playing some new material live. How's that been going? How are people reacting to it?

Ted: I think onstage it's explosive, like that's when we really get into the set. You'll notice that tonight we'll come out and play a new one right away, but it's a difficult one to get all crazy about, it's kind of slow. As soon as the energy picks up on stage, it picks up with the addition of new songs. That is when it gets jumping.

SU: It seems that as a band it would be more rewarding, or more exciting to play the newer stuff as opposed to the stuff you've been playing for a while.

Ted: Definitely.

Greta: Actually, it's kind of exciting to think for the next tour we'll be adding songs that we haven't been playing live at all.

SU: I know you've only played a couple of shows, how's it going with Nev Denova.

Greta: It's going good.

Greta: Great

SU: I know tonight Fing Fang Foom and Dresden are both playing with you as well…

Ted: Yeah, it's going to be a big party.

SU: When Tim had his accident with this lung, had you guys already written the new record, or was that before?

Greta: It was half recorded.

Ted: That's an interesting question too because the music was all recorded, but not the vocals. He wrote those after recovery.

SU: So he pretty much came right back from that and finished up the record?

Ted: Yeah, the ideas were in place lyrically, but I think he wrote a lot of that in recovery. Which I think is significant too. If you look at the lyrics perhaps.

SU: Well I guess it would be a better question for Tim, but I was going to ask him now that this has happened a second time to him if he takes it a little more easy. Is he a little easier on himself and does he step back sometimes and say, alright I need to take it easier. Or does he just treat it like a fluke and not think about it.

Ted: I don't think he thinks about it. He is one of the hardest working people in the music business, he has to be, and he is just nonstop.

SU: Well it's good to see him come back from this so quickly and be able to get right back out there and finish up the record and go out on tour.

Ted: We're on tour for three, four months straight, and he is gonna be on tour for another four, five months straight as a singer every night, and that is impressive.

SU: How did you hook up with Eastern Youth for the split? Is that something the label put together?

Ted: We have a friend named Kimji who is a mutual friend I guess. He runs a label called 5-1 Records out of LA and I think he has some connections in Japan too, distribution wise. He is just a real nice guy. We met him on the coast and he asked us to work with the band and thought we'd sound good together. He tried to orchestrate a tour but that was the tour that Tim got sick on. Well not got sick, but you know what I mean. They ended up doing the tour by themselves.

Greta: Yeah, they did the whole tour themselves.

SU: I always thought that EP was great. You want to sing along but you don't know Japanese, so you just kind of hum along.

Ted: Yeah (laughing) it's really cool.

SU: I also thought it fit really well with your music, despite the language barrier.

Ted: It's funny stuff. I can hear a lot of American Influence in that music too.

Greta: Yeah we are going to try and tour with them again in the fall or something of next year.

SU: Well how do you feel about all of the attention Saddle Creek is getting right now? Really the whole Omaha scene has a big spotlight on it.

Ted: Yeah I was really kind of, I feel lousy for saying it, but I was a bit jealous. But now that it has turned on Cursive, I have had enough. I'm kinda tired of talking about the record.

Greta: I don't know, I'd say it's really exciting. It will be interesting to see how things pan out. How the record is received and how the next few tours go. It's just a matter of letting something happen and seeing what it is.

Ted: Yeah, it's going to be an amazing trip. I feel like a path is cut out ahead of us and we know that the show tonight is going to be great and that people are liking the new stuff. The wheels are in motion. We've spent a lot of time with promotions and publicity and stuff like that and we're kind of expecting a successful record. It's strange to go into it and put in all the effort in and then years later we'll finally be like, holy shit this record might take off, it might get a lot more attention than the previous records. And that's the way we all feel and I know Saddle Creek feels that way too. Especially for Matt and Tim I think it's been a long road, I've seen them play together since they were 13 or 14 years old, and it's nice to get some attention.

SU: I think it's pretty good timing for you guys too, as far as the spotlight being over there, and the stuff coming out of Saddle Creek. Especially with that last Bright Eyes record getting so much attention and then it went from stories on Bright Eyes to stories on Saddle Creek and the Omaha scene. And especially since the next big thing coming out is your record, it's perfect timing for Cursive.

Ted: Yeah I want Saddle Creek to hire more people and make some more records.

SU: Yeah, but there's something good about the smallness of it all. You know a lot of labels will start out with a small roster and keep it pretty tight. Then they start signing more and more bands and they lose that feel. While they could stand to grow a little bit, I'd still like to see them stay relatively small.

Ted: Yeah. I know what is like to be a fan, to have the band as your little secret; I had a lot of bands like that. But you want the best for them too.

SU: True. Well, along the same line, if you got approached by a major, is that something you would consider?

Ted: Uh, no.

SU: You're happy with where you're at?

Ted: Yep. Like I said, our path is cut out ahead of us. We feel like we're responsible for that, so we are going to try and roll with it.

SU: What about the music industry right now? I know a lot of people are saying there's not a lot of good music coming out lately. Is that something you tend to agree with?

Ted: You know I think we all go back and forth with how much we care about contemporary music. We get really into the bands that we tour with and the bands that we see live, but I don't think anyone in the band is really spending a lot of money at the record store or keeping with what is released. It seems like we are all pretty reserved in that department. When we buy new records and listen to them, it's kind of a big deal. I've been spending a lot lately, but I buy old shit. I just bought Ice T and The Flashdance Soundtrack. (laughing) I'm into older music.

SU: Is the "ugly organ" really a veiled reference to male genitalia?

Ted: Sure...We don't really know what he's getting at.

Greta: Well it seems to me like sort of an enigmatic term that can apply to whatever you might imagine it to be. But I am sure there were several things in mind when it was chosen to be used as the record title. I guess my first reaction is that it was referring to Tim's lung, but it could also be used to describe some of the sort of obscene piano sounds on the record. There are a lot of different levels that it can be used for.

SU: And that was kind of the joking question.

Ted: And that's the joke, that's how it works. It is the fact that you take it on all those levels.

SU: That's it from me, any comments, or things you want to say.

Ted: We're really glad to be here. This place is always really nice to us, great shows and great people. Thanks.

Jan 14 2003