Photo Credit: Erica Lauren
One has to wonder if our grandparents and parents felt the same way about aging as we do, or if the constant reminders of pop culture nostalgia and remnants on social media make it worse for us today. No matter what, getting older is never easy but talking it over can make it a little easier. So getting to exchange words with Tim Kasher was a pleasant experience that will sit within the confines of my heart forever, as we talked about the anxiety of aging, the denial of loss, and more including his new album, ‘Middling Age,’ out April 15th.
Kendra: Reading what you had to say about ‘Middling Age,’ I’m so excited for it because, well, let’s get to one reason – you mentioned it deals with the anxiety that comes with growing older. For me, it’s rooted in the fact that I watched so many sitcoms as a kid and saw people who were the age I am now with homes, careers, and children. I rent, freelance, and have a dog. In many ways, it’s made me feel like I’m aging…wrong, and that’s made me anxious. What about you? What caused some of the anxieties that then took the wheel when penning parts of your fourth solo album?
Tim Kasher: Ha, that’s great to reference our collective media growing up, and frankly, these misconceptions are still occurring today. The first one that pops into my mind is the gigantic warehouse space Jennifer Beals occupies in ‘Flashdance.’ Sure, they make it somewhat dingy, threadbare, but this young woman dwells in, like, a 2,000 square foot loft!! That’s a bit tangential, but also yes, TV and film have always presented us with social workers living in four-bedroom homes, a house full of children, and a loving spouse. Where did they find all that money?
For me, my anxiety stems from the feeling I’m running out of time. If I’m not careful, I can find myself counting how many remaining albums I can write before I pass away, or the finite amount of movies I could still potentially shoot if I could just get the ball rolling on filmmaking. The same goes for writing books, a thing I’ve yet to even start. The specter of death, of having my creative endeavors stamped out, can be paralyzing. But also, I’ve found myself so fully committed to my personal relationships, and the deeper we dive into one another, the scarier it can be to have that relationship stripped from us as we grow older and death comes-a-knocking.
Kendra: Sticking with the TV screen, the stagnancy you spoke about reminded me of the recent HBO series, ‘Somebody Somewhere.’ If you haven’t checked it out, it’s a must. It goes along with the idea of uncertainty at a particular age. Did the idea of being stuck as a musician resonate any when live music was pretty much one of the first things to go in 2020?
Tim Kasher: First off, thank you for the recommendation, I have not visited this series yet. Um, yes, having live music and touring not just taken away but also dangled as one of the last professions to ever return to post-pandemic society has been startling. It left me pondering new careers, absolutely. Alas, here we are, here I am still plugging away at it, haha.
Kendra: So let’s talk about “I Don’t Think About You,” which features Cursive’s Megan Siebe. Is there any difference felt when working with her on your solo material versus when you collaborate in Cursive?
Tim Kasher: Sure, the approach is different. Megan is currently part of the “team” as we work on a new Cursive album. She manages her own instrument and offers her own ideas for arrangements. For these solo albums I work on, I tend to write most of the music myself, thus the moniker of using my own name. That said, there are various elements throughout the album where musicians are asked to stretch out, improvise, to contribute more than just the sheet music offered. Jayson Gerycz played drums throughout the album and offered a bevy of his own ideas that greatly shaped some of the arrangements.
Kendra: There’s this sense of denial that I got from “I Don’t Think About You.” Do you think this feeling plays the biggest role when someone is no longer in our lives, be it because of a move, a breakup, or even a death?
Tim Kasher: Denial, yep, that seems to be the crux of the song’s conceit, though I hadn’t really thought of it in those terms until you mentioned it as such. Don’t mind me if I continue to use that explanation moving forward, haha. Thank you! Yes, it’s the coping mechanism we tend to use to help convince ourselves that things aren’t going so bad, we aren’t so terribly miserable. It’s a stage of grief, for crying out loud.
Kendra: You also worked with your nine-year-old niece on this record. What artist would you have wanted to work with when you were that age?
Tim Kasher: Yes, Natalie, she is a delightful young songwriter. Um, when I was 9? I probably would’ve been most excited to take Garfunkel’s old position, start-up Simon & Kasher.
Kendra: Speaking of being nine, Easter is right around the corner and it’s one of my favorites only because of the candy. Truly. Anyways, if you could have a holiday basket with your absolute favorite album and treat, what would this basket have in it?
Tim Kasher: Hmm, well, I’d prefer it to be a Halloween basket and I’d be pleased to find a Kate Bush record in there (‘Never For Ever’ would fit the Halloween theme), or perhaps the first Violent Femmes record, sitting in a bed of Reese’s Pieces and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with Reese’s Pieces in them. And peanut butter-covered pretzels. I like peanut butter.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Middling Age’ out on April 15th, what’s on the calendar now? Touring this summer?
Tim Kasher: A great tour with Laura Jane Grace and Anthony Green, touring the US in May. I’m ecstatic.