A little over a week ago we featured the fantastic Austin, TX based My Jerusalem in the SIMGE Spotlight. We recently got founder/singer Jeff Klein to tell us all about the band’s process in recording their latest LP Preachers, and to quell any possible break up rumors that may have started in a poor choice of sentence structure. Be sure to check out My Jerusalem’s web site and stream Preachers below.
You just put out your new album Preachers. What’s the response been so far?
So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. People seem to really be connecting to the songs. The same goes for the live show. It’s always interesting to see how people will react to your new art, but we couldn’t be happier.
How have things changed for My Jerusalem from when the band first broke up until the release of your second full length?
Did we break up and nobody told me? Yikes! Do you mean since we started? If so, basically everything. We went through a lot of personnel changes in the beginning because it started as more of a collective of friends. The music has changed a lot too. We focused on using more space instead of beating the listener over with horns and strings like we did early on.
The tone on Preachers comes across as darker than Gone For Good. Did any experiences outside of life as a band bring about this shift?
Well, yeah definitely. After making the last record, I left New Orleans and moved back to Austin, TX, leaving behind a pretty poisonous relationship. I was also coping with my mother passing away. But out of these events also grew a lot of positivity. Ive always naturally leaned toward the darker stuff. I think on our first album I was trying deliberately to keep things light, but I wanted this album to be more honest.
Preachers was produced by Jim Eno of Spoon fame. What was the recording process like working with him?
Jim is the best. He insisted that we track most of it live to analog tape. I can’t stress enough how much of the albums vibe benefits from that. Jim also got some of the best drum sounds we ever heard. And the rhythm is the backbone to most songs. But the best part of working with Jim was how much he really cared about what we were making. He was like an extra member and gave a lot of great feedback and helped us meet our vision.
Your sound has been self-described as “Post-Modern Southern Gothic Soul”. Where do your influences come from and how much did it inform the material on your latest album?
My brain is a big sponge. I occupy most of my time reading, watching movies, listening to music, drawing, painting, observing people. Living in cities like Austin and NOLA, you really soak up a lot of your surroundings. There is also something haunting in general about the south. Plus, I guess I listen to an equal amount of Stax records as I do stuff like Sisters of Mercy. I just love music that creates a mood whether its sexy or sad..
How much of Preachers was worked out through live road testing?
I would say about half of it. Some of these songs sounded very different in the beginning. But we kept jumping on local shows to try and work out new material. In the past, our live versions of songs were always more enjoyable than their studio counterparts. So we figured if we started them as live songs they would stay more true to that version.
Cinematic is a descriptor often attached to My Jerusalem. Do you ever write a song with a visual idea to be set to music?
Sometimes when im writing I definitely replay scenes of life in my head like a movie projector. All music is a soundtrack to our lives.
What can we expect from My Jerusalem the rest of this year and into 2013?
Hopefully a steady stream of touring. I’d also like to start working on the next record. We are at a strong point in our live show where we all really musically communicate well. Makes It seem like the perfect time to start writing.