My Jerusalem to rock Southwest
Austin four-piece scheduled to play Plush Tuesday night
Photo by Traver Rains / Courtesy of Chris Pacifico
A year after releasing its second record, Preachers, the Austin, Texas, five-piece My Jerusalem is on a U.S. tour, with a stop slated for tonight at Plush. The Daily Wildcat caught up with frontman Jeff Klein to talk about the band’s latest record and what it’s like touring close to home through the Southwest.
DW: Some people have said that the new record sounds a little bit darker than Gone For Good, your first LP. Was that something you did intentionally, or how did that come about?
Klein: I had some solo records a while back and they were a little bit darker, and when we did the first My Jerusalem record, I think we were trying to make it, I don’t know, maybe a little bit more of an upbeat record. I liked the first record, but it wasn’t an honest representation, and I feel like once we started making the second record, we wanted it to be a very honest record, and I think we just sort of leaned toward a darker mood when it comes to art and music.
You recorded at least a portion of Preachers on analog equipment. What was the idea behind that decision and what did you learn from that process?
It was about 90 percent on analog tape, and we made it with our friend Jim Eno from the band Spoon. Again, I think we wanted this record to be a very honest feeling and sounding record, and we wanted it to be very organic. I don’t think there’s anything more organic than plugging your guitar in, going into a microphone and hitting “tape.” There’s something that’s just very authentic about it. None of the recording takes were manipulated in any sense by cutting and pasting here and there, there’s no autotune. It was basically a snapshot photograph of a band, a moment in time, and that’s what is honestly represented on the record. It’s basically just all of us playing in a room together.
I’m not sure if Austin considers itself a “Southwestern” city per se, but it’s pretty close to Tucson compared to a lot of the tour stops you guys have made. How do you like playing shows around here?
I love playing shows in Tucson; I think Tucson is great. We haven’t had as easy a time in Phoenix; I think it might be a little bit harder for bands like us, but we’re still trying. But Tucson’s been great. I love all the people I’ve met there and we love hanging out there. There are some great bands from there, too — Calexico and Giant Sand. I think it definitely has, like, a smaller, Austin kind of vibe. It’s like a cool B-movie vibe to Tucson; I feel like I’m in, like, an awesome Jim Jarmusch movie when we’re there. It just definitely has its own unique, quirky kind of feel to it.
Can we go ahead and settle any question of whether you guys are a religious band? The name, along with lyrics about shaking the devil, might be kind of ambiguous.
[Laughs] Yeah, we’re definitely not in any sense whatsoever a religious band at all. I don’t think anyone really in the band is — I think we’re all kind of spiritual people. The name kind of came from when I was in another band at the time and we were actually in Israel playing, and that’s where the name came from. … “My Jerusalem” is more like our exotic, happy place, your utopia of sorts. But I’m probably one of the least religious people you’ll ever meet. And I just like the history and imagery of other cultures, and a lot of cultures involve religion and things like that. From a historical standpoint, I’m interested in things like that, but not from a secular standpoint at all.
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