Catching up with Brief Inner Mission

The band of Trinity students who came together to cultivate their own sound

Brief Inner Mission is an ensemble of music-loving Trinity students that has been broadening the San Antonio music scene.

On their Soundcloud, the band describes themselves as a “vision of sonic versatility that is redrawing the boundaries between shoegaze, dream pop and psychedelic rock.” Their logo features their band title and a celestial rocket ship, driving home this sonic experience they want listeners to take away from their music, and highlighting their lighthearted manipulation of the phrase “Brief Intermission.”

The band was created by Ben Radigan, junior physics major, sometime around February. When catching up for a quick breakfast in Coates Student Center, Jack Vela, junior communications major, mentioned that he played a few instruments and Radigan suggested they start jamming together. Radigan had the band name and logo set from the get-go, all he needed was people to share the same desire to make and play music.

Vela has been playing ukulele since Feb. 2020.

“Right before the pandemic hit, I had a lot of time to practice … then I started learning bass this past May,” Vela said. He’s been able to collaborate with his bandmates through songwriting and enjoys playing a wide variety of music with close friends.

As time progressed, the band slowly began to solidify itself with members who shared the same creative vision. It took trial and error to find the right members to ensure that there was chemistry between the entire ensemble.

“March is when the sort of the core group started to form,” Vela said. “The core roster that we have to this day was established.”

The band includes around eight members, all junior Trinity students, with the exception of one sophomore. The first three to join were founder Radigan (guitar), Carter Nicol (guitar) and Vela (electric ukulele, bass). Members who have joined more recently include Jacob Iverson (bass) and Jacob Scott (trumpet) along with three singers, Claire Kirk, Lily Price and Claire Sammons.*

Having such a large number of members also allows the band to switch out instruments, which contributes to a different sound for each individual piece. Though it took some time to create a concrete group, Brief Inner Mission allows all members to cultivate a unique sound.

Carter Nicol, sophomore geoscience major and guitar player for Brief Inner Mission, says that the band is a great outlet for relieving stress.

“Music has an incredible connection to emotion,” Nicol said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a stressful day, and after meeting with the band, the stress just melts away.”

The transition into the new school year has made it a bit challenging for the band to find time to practice. Despite having to adjust to new living situations and schedules, Brief Inner Mission is growing closer to finding a good balance between being Trinity students and staying committed to the band.

Nicol says that although a few challenges have been thrown their way, the group is eager to jam together.

“Last semester we all lived in dorms,” Nicol said. “Finding a place and time to practice when we wouldn’t bother anyone was hard.”

He hopes that the new City Vista apartment situation will allow for Brief Inner Mission to play as loud as they want without disrupting their neighbors too much.

Prioritizing school, scheduling practice and brainstorming sessions may seem overwhelming, but the band hopes to find space to return to working together and hearing the perspectives of all members.

Brief Inner Mission tries not to limit itself to any specific style. Each member has their own taste in music ranging across genres, creating a unique blend of styles that Vela believes gives their sound a unique flair.

“Everyone kind of has their own niche,” Vela said. “We think melding that in an actual performance has really added a lot.”

If they had to give a more specific definition to their sound, the band feels that they fit into the alternative rock and indie rock space. They also enjoy implementing pop-punk elements in a few songs, resembling garage rock anthems and post-punk songs of the early 2000s.

The band currently produces rougher demos that they publish on Soundcloud, One of their songs, titled “Space Angel Overdose,” gives Nicol a sentimental feeling.

“This song holds a special place in my heart,” Nicol said. “It was pretty much the first thing we composed together as a band.” The song marks the beginning of the band, as it was the first established song that Brief Inner Mission produced together.

There is a plan to gather equipment to produce more refined songs. A few members are communication majors, including Vela, who plans on getting the band signed off as a personal project so that equipment can be rented. This would allow the band to expand their set list and create more opportunities to perform live.

For those who wish to support Brief Inner Mission, their primary social media platforms are Instagram (@briefinnermission) and Soundcloud. They have a few studio takes and songs on their Soundcloud, but listeners can also expect a Spotify account to be up and running later this semester. There is also talk of the band performing on TigerTV, an opportunity that the band is excited to plan and will share with followers once details are finalized.

*Claire Sammons is a photographer for the Trinitonian.