A band breaking up and its members parting ways is a somewhat common theme in the music industry. However, American indie-rock band Cursive has chosen to rise above these phenomena for the sake of pursuing its passion for music.
On May 21, Cursive will be playing live at the Golden Pony in Downtown Harrisonburg.
Hailing from Omaha, Nebraska, Cursive members Tim Kasher, Matt Maginn, Ted Stevens, Cully Symington, Clint Schnase, Gretta Cohn and Steve Pedersen have branded their band as “emo-tinged post-hardcore.” Many of their instrumentals contain hard-hitting guitar and drum bases, while the vocals are much more laid back when compared to purely emo bands. Being inspired by acts such as Simon and Garfunkel, The Smiths and The Cure, Cursive’s sound is an extension of these groups’ sounds without appropriating them, which can be a challenge for a number of current bands.
Frontman Kasher has attributed the band’s longevity — roughly 24 years — to a combination of friendship and patience. This base-level of respect for each other has reunited the band and helped them through hiatuses and an early break-up in the past, and it’s also beneficial that egos aren’t an issue. The band’s shared love of music writing and performance is the cornerstone of its unity as a collective group of artists and friends.
Kasher said his favorite part of the music creation process is writing lyrics. He and Stevens have previously written compositions together to share with the other band members, which eventually became Cursive’s most notable lyrics on their projects.
“We write the compositions, run it by the other members, and it’s all ready to go by studio time,” Kasher said.
His admiration for creative writing has fueled his desire to write for his own projects.
When asked about the process of creating new bodies of work for the band, Stevens said in an email, “It’s a challenging but rewarding process.”
“I tend to come out of every experience with a little more knowledge of my instruments and myself,” Stevens said. “When the world comes off as too harsh or critical, I put my faith in the band and our group-vision, and after a couple years pass, I feel quite vindicated.”
Cursive’s long history naturally comes with a healthy amount of personal accomplishments and moments of pride. Aside from the critical success from the band’s 2003 album, “The Ugly Organ,” Kasher has cited the band opening for The Cure during its 2004 tour as one of Cursive’s highest points in its career.
“Definitely one of our top experiences as Cursive was getting to travel with a legendary group like the Cure,” Stevens said. “[It] made me feel like we finally ‘belonged’ in the world of music and that as outsiders, we were being invited in, in a way.”
When speaking about his experience opening for The Cure, Maginn felt a true sense of accomplishment achieving this feat.
“The experience opening for The Cure was pinnacle touring experience for us,” Maginn said in an email. “To hear them every night in an outside venue was transcendent. Having grown up loving their music and playing their songs, it really felt we achieved a dream. It was awesome.”
Along with this, the band’s performance on the David Letterman show in 2009 — where they played “From the Hips” off their album “Mama, I’m Swollen” — is another proud accomplishment for Cursive. For Kasher, it was the highlight for its career as a band.
Kasher also added that he truly doesn’t ever know if there will be another Cursive album.
This feeling of being unaware regarding the future for the band contributed to Cursive’s extensive history as a collective. Nothing ever grows stale when there’s always something on the horizon, and Cursive embraces this philosophy.
“We look forward to more performances, more opportunities and more projects in the future always,” Kasher said. “It’s fun to speculate about future projects with the other members.”
Contact Julian Denizard at email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.