UT student musicians discuss experiences pursuing their passion in Austin

Darren Puccala, Life & Arts Reporter

Late on a Friday night, a crowd begins to form in anticipation of the main act. Right then and there, the future of the Austin music scene begins to cultivate on stage, and the next big artist might just be UT’s very own. 

Cameron Wesley, design freshman

The guitarist and songwriter for Sadder Days, an atmospheric metal band that utilizes fantasy aspects and dream sounds, Cameron Wesley only began his musical journey in the Austin scene this year. Nevertheless, he said he dedicates himself to getting his name out there with his bandmate Grant Celestine, a student at Texas State University. 

“When I’m making a song, I’m looking at it as a blank canvas,” Wesley said.  “I have an overall image when I start, but I fill out the painting as I go.” 

When he and his bandmate produced their first single, Red Light Lips, last year, Wesley said his inexperience heavily affected the process, leading to decisions he would now like to change. He recommended beginner musicians ask more questions and take more time on their early songs. 

“Define yourself on an instrument,” Wesley said. “If you’re playing music for fun or for serious, understanding how you play and why you play is very important.”  

Koby Rodriguez, radio-television-film junior

Born and raised in Austin, Koby Rodriguez, known on stage as Kyaru, started performing live in 2015. Now a part of an international group called CANCEL CULTURE, Kyaru said he primarily makes anti-pop, a genre that has seen similar growth to hyper pop and other alternative genres. 

”In a city as weird as Austin, you get a lot of people who are a little bit more adventurous with their music taste,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said he always prioritizes his own sound over a live venue experience. He suggested if other students want to succeed in the Austin music scene, they should do the same.

“I know that music right now seems like a quantity versus quality race, but what I always tell people is that quality is going to get them so much (further) in their career,” Rodriguez said. “I wouldn’t have gotten signed if I wasn’t making decent music.”

Angel Quinn, history sophomore

Known musically as Seraphim, Angel Quinn described their hyperpop sound as a mix of electronic, emo, glitchy, pop and rap.

Despite the genre’s novelty in Austin, Quinn said the community welcomes the new beat with support from a strong emo rap and rave scene. Seraphim performed for the first time ever last month.

“I was nervous going into it because I had never performed in front of anybody in my whole life, but I got in front of everyone and people liked it,” Quinn said. “It felt freeing.”

While it can be difficult to get past the mental block of beginning, Quinn said wholeheartedly committing to the artistic process helps immensely.

“At first, it’s scary, ” Quinn said. “You don’t know how people will perceive it, and I’ve had my share of people hate me. It’s not fun. But if you can get past that aspect and put out your art, someone is there to perceive it.”

Quinn encouraged hesitant new musicians at UT to get into the scene, let loose and make art.

“If you’re not doing it because you love it, people will be able to tell,” Quinn said. “Just do what you love.”