For Merry Jane and the Fondas members Serenity Autumn, Ally Brown, John Young and Abhi Velaga, Austin’s do-it-yourself music community has been nothing but supportive as the band grows.
For the band members — all in their early 20s and balancing school with a music career — the Austin music scene has been invaluable in the creative process as well as the business side of music, Young said. With their EP Pulls You Under released on Spotify March 30, the band is full steam ahead as Brown continues to work on new music.
Brown, arts and entertainment technologies junior as well as band guitarist and vocalist, said passionate pursuit of music is key to being successful.
“I used to read a lot of biographies about musicians because I wanted to see how they did it,” Brown said. “The thing that was repeated over and over was people working hard. The big names we remember are the people that pushed on and didn’t stop. Passion is a big part of that.”
Brown is also co-founder of Porchfire Records, which represents Merry Jane and the Fondas as well as other Austin favorites like Spirit Ghost and TC Superstar.
“Porchfire is an incredibly supportive community,” Brown said. “Everyone that’s involved is rooting for each other. We figure out the technical things as we go along. It’s trial and error, too. Connections make it easier. We know the people at 21st Street Co-op pretty well now, so playing there is great.”
Young, a St. Edward’s University senior and bassist, said he agrees that enjoying the process is a major component of success.
“I do this because I love it,” Young said. “Sure, there are some nights we have a late show and I’m tired, but the bad never outweighs the good. Being a musician is such a constant high, which I love. We get paid to party with our art.”
Despite the reality of late night shows and weekend parties, Young said the band still takes their craft seriously and strives to be better with each performance.
For Velaga, a computer science junior and drummer, music has been part of his life since a young age but was only something he thought of pursuing seriously recently.
“I was very into music for a bit and then sort of got away from it because it just didn’t seem like a feasible goal,” Velaga said. “But Ally posted on Facebook that she was looking for a drummer, and once I got in with them I started thinking about this as something I could pursue seriously again. They reenergized me.”
As for the future, the band hopes to pick up steam as they release music, but above all they hope to keep working.
“As long as I can do something in music, I really don’t care,” Brown sa. I’d love to be able to play, but I love the production, too,” Brown said. “I think we’re like everyone and just want to be able to make a living without giving up what we care about.”
Merry Jane and the Fonda’s EP Pulls You Under can be heard live and in action, along with their other works, in the campus area, including this Friday at Eden Co-op.