Student musicians reflect on making music, performing at co-ops

Sebastian Barajas, Life & Arts Reporter

People often think of music as an escape because the medium allows artists to share their ideas in a more emotional context than written words. Punk rock bands, such as Mishi Mishi, Sludge and Lady Pearl exist in a musically inclined, student influenced community. These student-led groups shine brightest when performing at university student cooperative living apartments (co-ops) and other local venues, surrounded by those with a similar passion for rock, punk and grunge.

The Daily Texan sat down with these student-led bands to discuss music’s impact on them, performing in front of crowds and balancing school with their bands.

 

Mishi Mishi
Composed of five UT students, garage punk rock band Mishi Mishi routinely performs covers and original songs throughout West Campus. They often frequent the House of Commons Co-op at 26th and Rio Grande and have an upcoming performance at the Carousel Lounge on 52nd Street on April 30.

Elizabeth Casarez, anthropology and English freshman and guitarist, said performing for other Longhorns creates better memories than performing for strangers.

“Performing in front of students is 10 times more fun,” Casarez said. “UT students are more energized, and they’re not judging you. You’re there to entertain them.”

Enrico Leite, geoscience freshman and bassist, said the connection between him and his bandmates during performances is why he loves music.

“When I get in the groove, it’s such an insane feeling, and it’s why I love music so much, especially jamming with people,” Leite said. “It’s euphoric in a way.”

 

Lady Pearl
Though they only began live performances together this semester, Lady Pearl has curated a strong group dynamic and fierce sound. The self described “rock and roll five piece” performed alongside Mishi Mishi at a multi-set concert at the Pearl Street Co-op on March 26.

Alex Murphy, a music and math sophomore and keyboardist for Lady Pearl, said while jamming brings lots of fun, he loves performing live in front of a student-packed crowd. Murphy said he enjoys the connection between him and his bandmates on stage.

“We get to a point where we’re playing a lot of times where there’s a sense of unity. It’s as if we’re one instrument,” Murphy said. “That sense of moving from five people playing to a single piece of music that’s being created feels really satisfying. I really like to bask in the satisfaction of that moment.”

 

Sludge
Since forming in the summer of 2021, Sludge quickly made a name for themselves among the Austin indie-music scene with their intense punk rock sound.

With only a few months under their belt, Sludge has performed at the well known Hole in the Wall, a long-standing karaoke bar on Guadalupe, as well as co-ops, such as the House of Commons.

Additionally, Sludge attended the UT Battle of the Bands competition on March 9 and will perform at the Sunflower Fest, a free music event to celebrate the end of the semester at St. Edwards, on April 30.

Molly Masson, acting sophomore and vocalist, said although creating music invokes a sense of purpose in these musicians, balancing school with band practices and performances can be challenging.

“Balancing (school and music) along with learning how to be an adult is a really interesting thing to navigate,” Masson said. “Making music forces me to get everything else done, so I can truly enjoy it and give (music) my full attention.”