Austin’s music scene is thriving, but it’s only thanks to those like Matt Muñoz who keep it alive.
Growing up, music was always a part of Muñoz’s life. At age 11, Muñoz developed an interest in percussion and began to play casually.
In college, Muñoz studied music and formed a band with friends called The Cleavers.
“It started out as us playing covers,” Muñoz said. “We ended up playing so well that we were writing a bunch of music and putting out a couple of little records.”
But things didn’t work out, and Muñoz began pursuing a career in the music industry outside of performing.
For three years, Muñoz worked for Arista Records in Austin. In 1998, he moved to Los Angeles where he lived for 10 years, working for Warner Bros. Records and Universal Music Group.
In 2010, the Cactus Cafe, a music venue located at UT, was on the verge of closing, and the University partnered with the KUT radio station to save it. After a job didn’t pan out, Muñoz found himself back in Austin applying and eventually landing the gig as the establishment’s booking agent.
“At that point I was thinking, ‘Is this it with music?’” Muñoz said. “I had just had my daughter, so there were a lot of things up in the air. Fortunately, this happened.”
Though he hopes to play drums again in the future, Muñoz is content with his job behind the scenes.
“It’s always been about the music,” Muñoz said. “The fun part of the Cactus job is turning the crowd onto somebody new and watching them grow. It’s kind of a trip meeting people you grew up listening to, and here you are putting on a show by them.”