Last fall, while trying to book gigs for his nameless band and juggle hours of practice at the Butler School of Music, music business sophomore Josh Delgado gave what seemed to be a harmless answer to the man recording their demo, who asked what the band’s name was.
“Oh, it’s in the works,” Delgado said. At his answer, the man immediately declared, “That’s it,” and In The Works was born.
With more than 700 likes on Facebook and a South By Southwest performance under their belt, it seems the man might have been on to something. This month, In The Works released their second single titled “Lately, Maybe” and announced summer plans to travel to Nashville to meet music industry executives and sell their music.
The alternative pop and soul band is made up of five men, three of whom attend UT, and includes Delgado on drums; former UT student Austin Alexander as front man and vocalist; music business junior Cameron Pessarra on piano; microbiology sophomore Hayden Thomas on electric guitar and Hay High School student Augie Gmitter on bass.
“Setting ourselves apart will be the biggest challenge this next few months,” Alexander said. “Everyone wants to be the next Justin Bieber. We’re saying, ‘Hey look at us, we’re different.’ None of us are looking for fame or wealth.”
In The Works first gained recognition in March after they won the “My Band Rocks Fox” contest, a competition between local bands with members 21 and under put on by Fox 7. The prize: a chance to play at SXSW and have a single produced by renowned label Broadcast Music, Inc.
Alexander said he, Delgado and Pessarra came together their first semester at UT in fall 2010. After six months of knowing each other, the group decided to form “The Austin Yount Band,” featuring Alexander. A few months later, the trio added Thomas and Gmitter to the mix and rethought their name to reflect all the band’s members.
Pessarra said when the band first began playing together, they were scared to tell people they were in a band without a classical focus since he, Delgado and Alexander were all in the music school. Alexander has since decided to take a semester off to focus on the band. When they finally told their professors, Pessarra and Delgado said many were supportive of their endeavors. Alexander said it has depended on the professor.
“For every person that’s said, ‘You need to stop and doing that and focus on your studies,’ there’s been 10 people to say, ‘Focus on your dreams for the future,” Alexander said.
Clint Tuttle, a risk and operations management professor, said Delgado is one of his 700 students and has reached out to him about how to apply concepts learned in class to music. Tuttle said Delgado approached him the first week of class to tell him about the band and told him they were entering the Fox competition.
“I have a lot of different kinds of musicians in my class,” Tuttle said. “Josh is really eager. He’s interested in class because he wants to work together and [learn] how he can make [those concepts] work for his band.”
Pessarra said balancing school and the band can be a nightmare at times for everyone involved, especially because of the demands that come with being a music student, like practicing multiple pieces to achieve perfect proficiency. While Alexander is not currently a student, the rest of In The Works is still in school.
“It’s a different kind of hard,” Pessarra said. “Sitting in a practice room for three hours practicing the same piece over and over can wear on you. At times, you have to take a choice between one or the other.”
Environmental sciences junior Lauren Tien lived on the same floor as Alexander in 2010 and said she remembered the band got really serious after they changed their name. Tien said it’s difficult for members to schedule time to practice because some they have other priorities in addition to the band.
“Their biggest challenge is the next step and how to preserve all the people in the band,” Tien said. “It’s going to be a big step because it’s going to match up with a lot of their timeline. Austin is the only one not held down by school so if someone asked him to move to Nashville, he’s available.”
Brenda Yount, Alexander’s mother, said the members get along really well and support one another in any way they can, from stepping back for a member’s solo in a show to offering comfort during rough times. For instance, Yount said Delgado’s mother has cancer and Alexander and Pessarra shaved their head to support the family.
“It’s nothing about the music, but it shows how close they are and what character they all have,” Yount said.
Until they hit Nashville in June, In The Works will continue to sharpen their skills in the practice rooms of the Butler School of Music. Regarding what they would tell people about In The Works if given the chance, Alexander said they just want a chance.
“We’re a group of guys who are driven and passionate about music and we are willing to do anything and everything to bring our music to everyone,” Alexander said.
Printed on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 as: Good things are 'in the works' for local, ambitious band