Here's What Austin Bands Think of ACL

The Preservation played its first ACL show this year.
The Preservation played its first ACL show this year.
Katie Moulton

In Austin, where a "local" act's following often extends nationally, what does it mean for a band to play inside City Limits? We spoke with members of two Austin-based bands--Jeff Klein of My Jerusalem, and Mario and Cayce Matteoli of The Preservation--to find out what it means to be both insiders and first-timers at ACL.

My Jerusalem
My Jerusalem
Traver Rains

The Band: My Jerusalem (Saturday, October 12, 12:00pm, Austin Ventures Stage)

Background: Founded by Jeff Klein, formerly of the Twilight Singers and Gutter Twins, who decided to form a new band while on tour in Israel. According to Klein, it was his wish that the next band be as "intense a concept and experience" as walking through Jerusalem that day. "I just kept thinking, 'I want this to be our Jerusalem.'"

Happening now: Second album Preachers released in fall 2012, on tour most of last year, currently with Electric Six. The band "finally came together about a year and a half ago. I consider Preachers to be our first record. The first record was just a record, without the band," Klein says. Plans for the next record are already in the works for the end of the year.

Texas Connection: All band members live in Austin. Klein moved here ten years ago, and after a hiatus in New Orleans, he's back.

On the Austin music scene:

"There are a lot of shows, a lot of venues. But I'm a little bit of a recluse when I'm not on tour...Every scene is a little passive-aggressively competitive. Everybody wants to see people succeed. Everybody also likes to see them fail. But people do better in packs."

On ACL: While Klein has played ACL before as a solo artist and with the Honorary Title, it's the first time for this band together. "It's a benchmark of success, and it brings a lot of money into our community."

Extra pressure for this set? "We'll probably labor over the set list more. We won't want it to be all mid-tempo downer songs...which I sometimes tend towards."

Most excited to see: The Cure, Kendrick Lamar, HAIM and Reignwolf.

ACL compared to other festivals: My Jerusalem recently played some European festivals: "We rolled up to the Czech Republic to 4,000 twenty-five-year-olds all singing along. They have some rabid music fans there. I don't know how often bands are playing Slovenia..." so when there's a festival, the access to the experience of that music is consolidated. "We get spoiled over here," Klein says of the easy access to bands in the US and Austin specifically.

A conversation with The Preservation is on the next page.  

The Band:

The Preservation (played Friday, October 11, 11:20am)

Background: Formed in 2009 when husband-and-wife Mario and Cayce Matteoli were touring as a duo under his name, and they decided they needed a band. Or at least a drummer.

Texas Connection: Cayce is the only Austin native of the band, but all of the other band members moved here with music careers in mind. Originally from northern California, her husband Mario has lived here for thirteen years.

On the Austin music scene: "You can't start a bullshit band here," says Mario. "It's hard to get your band to stand out, and it's tough competition, but I think competition is healthy."

On ACL: "It's awesome as far as prestige goes," says Mario. "South By Southwest just destroys the town, people everywhere, but this is contained, and they actually pay bands here. Now that we've done it, we don't need to worry about getting more exposure. We've done it."

How was the show? "We caught about 200-300 people on their way in. I don't know if we won over a ton of people, but the crowd really wanted to hear."

Since Mario has played ACL several other times, solo and otherwise, I asked what was different about this year's festival: "You can't bring drinks on the golf carts! You have to either chug or walk."

For Cayce, the native Austinite and genuine first-time ACL virgin: A friend tailored her first planned stage "costume" for the occasion, and " I get to go backstage and watch all of these bands who really inspire me." Has she met any idols yet, now that she's in the ACL performers club? "No, not yet," she says, "I just love their music--I don't know what these people look like!"

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