Here's my interview with Cursive guitarist Ted Stevens. After my initial questions, I let the recorder keep going and Ted and I talked a bit about the future of this industry. Maybe it's relevant, or maybe we were just having a simple conversation.
Anyway, I have my interview with Tim Kasher tomorrow coming at you, and my interview with Jacob Bannon of Converge for you on Thursday. That said, join me this weekend for some snidbits of the post-interview conversation with Mr. Stevens.
Tim Kasher makes Omaha, Nebraska seem like it's the biggest place to lose your mind in, or the most relaxing place to sit and create. Either way, the man has written some pretty tall tales in the form of four boisterous albums in the past decade, all holding their own worth musically and lyrically, crammed into part of the fifteen years of the band's creation.
Sure, there are those still yearning for The Ugly Organ Part Two, but it's not going to happen, and if those naysayers saw Kasher yelling "Lord, let us go!" at the end of "Retreat!" or the stunning closer of "What Have I Done?" then maybe certain moods and animosity would be indifferent and incline to change face.
Cursive's set tonight was a spanning hymnal of what the band has put together over the past ten years. From the opening "The Martyr" to the encore filled with tracks from Domestica to Mama, I'm Swollen, ending the night with "Big Bang" - larger than life, larger than the stage - the band still have it intact.
I didn't see one patron of the crowd not immersed in what was going on in front of them - many singing along to every word, hanging on to every ounce of sweat.
To the naysayers that have rejected Cursive's progression from what they still once loved, I say this: Go see the band live. Return to the albums you've scoffed over. Realize that good art shouldn't be stagnant. Good art will move itself forward, and the artist will show their true colors in public through their ever evolving projects.
Cursive showed this tonight. I only hope, and have come to hear, that it's like that every night.
Kevin Devine is hands down the best interview I have ever done in my short career thus far. He was well spoken, had a lot to say and when all was said and done, I think it's definitely one of the best articles I have written.
Devine is in fact not a large scale household name, but has quite a cult following across the United States. His music is real, simple and heartfelt. He's told me Elliott Smith is one of his favorite artists, and I think that the late Smith would be proud.
Devine now suffers the dreaded leak, and two months at that. His blog yesterday is one that looks at every angle of the problem-- its pros and cons-- and an honest, but saddening take on what has occurred. In essence, we feel bad for Devine, but for those who want to give, we can't for two months. Sympathy and outreach without an end.
Sunday, a new model was introduced (that I know of being the first time) to the distribution model. Saddle Creek, and I guess the band in agreement, released Cursive's new album, Mama, I'm Swollen, for digital download for $1. The idea of the model is that the price would go up everyday by a dollar until the album's official shelf date on March 10. The idea, get it early, get it cheap, financially support the band in some way.
By the looks of the front page, it seems people were taking advantage of the deal. Cursive fan or not, people were simply buying based on the low end price. Now for those of you wondering about the album's share, imagine the swagger of Happy Hollow meets the bleak story line of The Ugly Organ. It's another great record by a great band.
By using this model, there are set-backs. By releasing the album at a deal early, the label has to be aware that it will hit torrents and file hosting sites quickly, because hey, why pay for what we can sneak out the back door for free? Though to combat the leaks, I think people will embrace the deal they're getting and give some kind of monetary value back to the band and label. Finance through gratitude I guess.
But labels and bands still have to make money. Artists like Devine and Cursive understand that the distribution model has changed for either better or worse. While artists understand the Web allows them more chances to get heard, it also opens a sliding hand to take money out their back pocket. Sure, we can download early, and pay late, but there will occur some sort of dent in the meantime.
A reverse way for the Saddle Creek model is to fully charge for the record early. I'd be willing to pay $10-$15 for the new Manchester Orchestra record. Hell, I'll give a $20-$30 for the new Glassjaw, and you can send me a shitty CD copy this time next year. (If I'm paying $30, I expect a damn vinyl though.)
I think it comes down to what we are willing to pay as opposed to what we have to pay. This is the downfall to being a fan in a flooded market, and brings up the idea of saturation. It seems that the supply has outweighed the fiscal demand. But if we bank our money into those deserving creative artists, then maybe we can evaporate much of the muck-- only hoping that the mass market isn't consuming said muck and instead those creative artists
With that being said, I ask that you financially support those artists like Devine and Cursive so that they may continue to create solid music. We're all human, and we all want to be entertained-- but even the dollar menu isn't free-- I mean, it's a freaking dollar!
This is pretty fucking brilliant. I have an idea to reverse this, but I'll save it for my industry blog later this week.
I'll make this entry short though. Cursive is a great band that continues to release great music. If the actual record that is downloading on my computer right now is anything like the trailer for the album, I'm sure I won't be disappointed. Though I didn't enjoy Happy Hollow as much as The Ugly Organ or Domestica, they continue to change things up, and do it well.
Kudos to the band. But even more kudos for the idea that is presented here today.
I gave my dollar, and if this record is as good as it seems like it is going to be, then I'll fork out the $15 dollars for the wax.