Creatives on Q: A Little Sarkathm Goes A Long Way
Who would have thought that this duo, despite their own busy schedules amidst the current health crisis, said “Yes” to our two ultimate huge favors? One, an odd yet plausible photoshoot via Zoom and another, a video interview via Skype. A bit exhausting and time consuming for them if we’re being honest; especially if there are far more important things to be done.
Nevertheless, this was not the case for these up-and-coming indie artists who came from different backgrounds, the same artists who went to the virtual photoshoot and virtual interview – showing no signs of hesitation or backing out. Thus, making everything more of a random, fun photoshoot instead of serious work.
The duo are now slowly working their way up to make a name for themselves in the local music industry.
Them saying “yes” to this feature – which is a first for our magazine and them – simply shows this duo’s approach in life. By choosing to release their debut EP despite this very unprecedented situation, they become active agents in catapulting their music career to new heights. This capability to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes their way despite circumstances and their love of music makes them an act to look out for.
Sarah and Kathy, or relatively known as Sarkathm, both graduated from Silliman University in Dumaguete City. Sarah is a Bachelor of Music major in Music Education graduate while Kathy is a Bachelor of Science in Social Work graduate. Both have been the best of friends since college and both equally share an indomitable love and passion for music.
“In my third year [in college], I moved to Sarah’s boarding house and that’s when it started. We were just singing on the floor and that’s when we realized that we have so much in common. I found out that she sings and writes songs,” Kathy shared on how their musical journey as a duo began.
Kathy is a half-German and half-Filipino musician based in Cebu. She discovered her love for music when she was little, often singing her original compositions in front of a devoted crowd in their family church in Germany where his dad preaches. She also recalled writing her own songs as a way to deal with her teenage emotions.
“One day, Sarah was invited for a gig and she invited me to sing with her and from that moment on, it became a regular thing and we got invited to do more gigs together,” Kathy expressed. “Eventually, we wrote a song together. We didn’t think na we would publish it or something but a friend of ours helped us, and so we were able to release our first single, like, right after we graduated,” she later added.
Soon after they released their first single “Moving Out” last 2019; just like the title of the track, the duo moved out and went their separate ways. Sarah flew to Davao to stay with her family while Kath moved to Cebu. This circumstance, albeit a plane away from each other, only intensified their love for music as they still continued writing songs together or “LDR songwriting”, as the duo calls it.
“When I moved to Davao, naguol kaayo ko kay I had kind of my music career going for me in Dumaguete – with the band and all that. But we really had to go our separate ways. All these opportunities started to rise up here in Davao which I didn’t expect. Like MinPop (Mindanao Pop) and even before MinPop, people were inviting me for gigs,” Sarah said.
Sarah spent most of her childhood and high school life in the USA. By 2014, she migrated to the Philippines in Dumaguete and pursued music education in college. Sarah admitted that her college education had played such a pivotal role in her music career.
“[What] A lot of music majors go through is when your passion becomes your assignment; mandatory na sya nga maghimo ka og music, mag perform ka, it becomes just a chore. Mawala imong flame for doing creative things. It was only when I started singing in a band, in a jazz band in Dumaguete, when I kind of like ignited my creative side,” Sarah expressed. A smile formed in Kathy’s face as Sarah mentioned how Kathy was a huge part in reigniting her creative side; admitting she hasn’t mentioned this to Kathy before.
When asked how they came up with their name, Sarah was quick to share with the team the funny story which took a few years back. According to Sarah, it was a good friend of them who suggested over a casual conversation that they should be called “Sarkathm” – derived from their names out of a sarcastic remark; therefore, the name Sarkathm. They laughed it off at first and thought that the name was absurd.
Fast forward to the present, what used to be a running joke among their circle of friends, eventually became their official artist name. Even though they had around three to five names to consider, they simply opted to call themselves as such since the friend-suggested name later grew on them.
ON THEIR EP: “TURNING POINTS AND CROSSING SIGNS”
Much of the story of their musical journey as a duo and even as best friends could deliberately be encapsulated in their newly-released EP, “Turning Points and Crossing Signs”. The quadruple-track mini album written and produced by the duo themselves together with Cinedashery Studio & Muzic's Kool Recording Studio.
The name of the EP is derived from the first lyrics of their opening track “Falling Into Place”; which is a four-minute track enthused by the duo’s musings about how the plans we lay out for ourselves might not always be the best for us and that in the end, it’s God’s plan that will direct us to our destined paths.
“[Falling Into Place] is actually very significant for our journey as Sarkathm because everything for us as an artist, as a duo, as Sarkathm, we didn’t really have to chase after - things or opportunities just came for us as a duo. It’s kind of like things just fell into place for us,” Sarah stated. She continued, “Opportunities and things just fell into place for us and this EP is the fruit of that.”
The second track “Imprints” tells the story of the time the duo parted ways, probably the answer or epilogue of “Moving Out”. “I wish we didn’t have to say goodbye/But it’s part of life” the duo sings, nonchalantly accepting their current dilemma. Continuing this positivity as they declared at the latter part of this song, “True friendships survive time and space/And ours is etched onto our skin and hearts.”
The third track “Anomaly” is an ode to those who are struggling to fit in. The closing track “Prodigal” is dedicated to those whose profound sense of direction in life is at an inexplicable level of uncertainty. It finds the duo paying homage to one of their favorite international artists and lyricists, Tori Kelly.
Looking back, the duo couldn’t help but laugh and share with the team the good times they had spent together recording this EP. Saying that they owe all of these triumphs to those who invested in them and more importantly, believed in them as musicians.
“We owe that so much to the people that know us and have heard us sing together. That we can just be more than Sarah and Kathy. But we can actually write songs, record them, produce them and they’re actually worth sharing to the world and that was a big thing for us.”
Right now, the two are busy navigating their own separate, adult-ing lives; both of them working as online English tutor. Aside from teaching, Sarah is cooking and selling cookies and Kathy spends time attending online ballet lessons.
“Well, maybe you could audition now for an entertainment company in South Korea as a K-pop star since you can sing and dance,” our team joked which Kathy just dismissed with a chuckle.
If not working, this duo continues to write songs in preparation for their next records. Hopefully, a full-length debut album this time.
ASPIRE AND INSPIRE
Like any other musicians, they too also hope to be able to do music full time in the future. They’re not putting their first love, which is music, on hold because of the current situation. They will, as they said with much gusto, continue to write songs however they can and continue to inspire other budding musicians.
“Don’t let fear hold you back,” Kathy said. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes while trying to find your voice,” Sarah followed. Although easier said than done, it's the same advice that has fueled this duo to pursue their passion.
As we drew closer to the end of the interview, we can’t help but think that because of this duo – brimmed with immense love and absolute dedication for their craft – we were reminded of the quintessential importance of the why’s in life. Making art is a thankless job, yes, but why do we keep going? Why do we do what we do? Of all the other things we could be doing with our lives, why this?
Even though we’re looking at them through the screen, we can clearly see that this duo is truly their carefree, eloquent, genuine, and unapologetic selves. If there’s one thing that Sarkathm can be proud of, it’s their immense love and passion for music and their willingness to share it to everyone. This love brought them together and it’s because of this love that they’re brave enough to risk releasing an EP on their own during a pandemic.
If we were to put Sarkathm in the dictionary, we would define it as “brave love”; the ability to find bravery through love. Something everyone could use a bit of nowadays.
“Even if you don’t make any money out of it, and even though no one’s investing in it, it’s worth it because you love [doing] it.”
Maybe we could use a little bit of “Sarkathm” in our lives. Who knows? That little bit could go a long way.
Text by Real Jhon Castillon
Photographed by Maya Angelou Nievares
Art Directed by Neo Bryce Largo