ACL Music Fest Sunday Interview

Don't drink the Kool-Aid

ACL Music Fest Sunday Interview

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

5pm, Zync Card stage

When they take the stage, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros cast an air of postmodern folk-pop carousel. Arrayed throughout the 10-plus-member group is a motley crew of hipsters, hippies, freaks, and geeks that would seem incongruous were it not for the genuine appeal of their unironic exuberance, all led by the mad, charismatic whirl of frontman Alex Ebert.

"The only thing was that we wanted to pull this off playing as many live instruments as possible," offers guitarist Christian Letts from the band's home base in Los Angeles. "No aesthetic was ever planned. I think it all ties into the idea that we don't even know what we're going to open with until we're walking out on stage."

Touring behind last year's debut, Up From Below (Rough Trade), Sharpe & the Zeros have become a live force drawing its audiences into an infectious fold like a ragtag Polyphonic Spree. Like the Spree, there's a reactionary force to the band's music and show, a determined eschewal of the contemporary scene's aloofness.

"It was great for me just being in a band where we were having fun. We could smile!" laughs Letts. "Being positive is definitely a huge thing – love and honesty and truth. As cheesy as all those words sound, they're very contagious and necessary. And it's not all happy. The songs are heavy and beautiful, and there's an acknowledging of the darkness but persevering through and finding salvation.

"This whole experience has been a real example to me of everything that you go through in your life leads up to certain moments, and not regretting any of the past or pain or anything, because it's all got you exactly where you're supposed to be. That's how I feel with this."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Doug Freeman
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

Jan. 22, 2021

Old Austin Magic: Uncle Walt’s Band Live
Old Austin Magic: Uncle Walt’s Band Live
Performance archive reissued with bonus tracks

Jan. 18, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Edward Sharpe

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle