The Sarchasm Interview “30 Minutes of Awkward”
The date and place was set! 1/14/2017, Silver Lake Meadow. But Sarchasm is nowhere to be found. There I was, pizza in hands, standing in the middle of the park looking lost (At this point it’s probably worth mentioning that I promised pizza as a form of payment [bribe] for the band). After wondering the park for a few minutes, and text messages, it was discovered that the band was on the other side of the lake. So We (Paco and Me) drive around to the other side of the lake.
Sarchasm was sitting at a picnic table under a tree. Perfect spot for pizza / interview. I open the pizza box only to discover there was a mistake made; one that I should have corrected at the pizza place: It was all pepperoni, and Sarchasm are vegetarians. Learning and growing!! Remember, kids, always check your pizza order before leaving the shop! Or more simply put, (to quote Yogurt from the film Spaceballs) “Open it before you eat it!”
Stevie: Our first time in LA was 2 years ago in 2015 over the summer. And then last year we came down here like 4 separate times. And that was really fun, we did a mini-tour Last January, then we came back here to go see The Matches and play a one-off show in Riverside; and then we came back here again with this band from the Bay Area called “Demi and the Gods”
100WW: Where did you get the name, Sarchasm?
Stevie: So, on our first day of rehearsal, we successfully played thru Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and decided we were going to be a band, and then we thought where better to find a band name than the internet? Then we discovered this Washington Post article with a bunch of made up words. You take a word, and you add or change a letter in it, and then make up a new definition. So one of the words was “sarchasm” which that took the word “sarcasm” and added an ‘h’. So the definition was like “The gulf between the…”
Mari: “… writer of ironic wit and the reader, who doesn’t get it.”
Alex: Yeah, I think we were all way younger at that point, and it was kind of really silly and stupid. It was between that and –
Alex: Anatidaephobia, which is “The fear that somewhere, somehow, a duck is always watching you.” So, I don’t know. Sarchasm just sounded really catchy and as we progressed as a band it’s worked really well because it’s also, I don’t know, it’s just a really well-rounded band name. It’s one word, it’s not “the” anything, it’s just really… good.
Mari: And it doesn’t call a name to any specific genre either. Like “The Dark Sorrows of Something-Something” but then they play like really happy Sunday music.
Stevie: I’d say also I felt like for a while part of a thing that we did… we were very much a band of friends who, sometimes we would do things musically that nobody understood, that were just inside jokes. Like in this one song, called “Song 101” we wrote. It was one of the first songs we wrote together. We have a section that quotes Veggie Tales. Like “everybody’s got a water-buffalo, yours is fast, mine is slow.” Just because it was something that we came up with, so the meaning of Sarchasm of we have this joke and there’s this space of me telling the joke and everyone else.
Alex: The audience who isn’t going to buy our merch or anything of our music because of our stupid jokes or anything like that. So there’s the gulf. The space between the stage and the audience that’s 10 feet back from us. So that’s why we’re called Sarchasm!
The friendship between these three is strong, and it really shows in their interactions with each other.
Mari: Mari, Guitar, Driving…
Stevie: You also sing.
Mari: I also sing, and I am the best cook.
Stevie: Stevie, I play drums, I also sing, and I am the intern of this band.
Alex: I’m Alex, I’m the bassist, and I also sing, and if something isn’t broken, I can change that.
[Mari and Stevie are laughing]
Stevie: He broke a towel rack today.
100WW: How do you describe your sound?
Mari: Ooooo! Ooooo!
Stevie: [over Mari] We could all do a good 30 seconds.
Mari: I don’t know, Indie Punk? Alternative? Really. Poppy. Something? [Stevie laughs] Should have been on Lookout Records! [Both Mari and Stevie laugh]
Stevie: Honestly I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable calling us a Pop-Punk band, once I admitted to myself that Green Day was a Pop Punk band. I was like OKAY! We’re not a bunch of frat-boys with snapbacks, singing about, like…
Stevie: Girls… Not really no. There is a Pop Punk that isn’t that. Like an older, nineties-y Pop Punk and I feel like we’re a little bit closer to that.
Alex: That was all-encompassing, I think.
100WW: I listened to Challenger, and I was wondering: Why “Challenger”?
Mari: We had another EP written and recorded that was gonna come out in January of last year. January 13th or 14th last year. But some things shifted around and things changed, and we ended up pulling three songs from that EP and had to record some other songs and rework the whole EP. Alex came up with the idea of calling it Challenger, because we had this EP in the progress of being launched and then it… didn’t launch. So…
Alex: [interrupts] I think – I think part of it - I was inspired by the cover photograph that I found. I thought it was a really powerful image kind of showing the actual part of the shuttle. And I think part of the other thing is it was in another way Challenger just kind of in the sense of like it was a new challenge or any kind of situation of the new EP was kind of like a new challenger into I guess the Music Industry. The second effort of us bringing something in. Like we were defeated, and then we brought sort of a new force forward with it. And I think in a lot of ways the EP was definitely more cohesive because of that change. The six songs that are on it go together a little bit better than they might have originally. So in a way, it worked out pretty well I think.
100WW: Do you have jobs or what do you do outside of the band?
Mari: Kind of, I mean we all go to school. I go to City College in Berkeley, and I do freelance audio, and I’m trying to get hired by this café right now. I’ve probably done the most Odd-Jobs out of all of us
Stevie: yeah, I go to college in Philadelphia, which, People are always like “Why’d you go to Philadelphia?” I went there for the school, but retrospectively maybe it would have made more sense to NOT go to a school across the country when my band was here! I don’t know.
Mari: You could have gone to Pomona.
Stevie: Yeah, I could- well I don’t know if I’m smart enough for that. And then I work at the dining center there and I just got this job tutoring…
Mari: And you’re a Quaker Bouncer.
Stevie: Oh yeah, and I bounce parties, I go to a Quaker school and I’m called a “Quaker Bouncer” I go to parties and I make sure that no one collapses or anything.
Alex: Aren’t Quakers traditionally passive?
Stevie: Yeah, I just make sure they’re safe.
Alex: That’s a cushy job.
Stevie: It’s really cushy. I get paid hella bank.
Alex: I go to Lewis and Clark in Portland… Oh yeah, Stevie goes to Haverford in Philadelphia. I go to Lewis and Clark. That’s about all I do. I don’t have a job right now. Yeah. I should…I don’t. I should probably rectify that, but that’s the status at this time and place. I guess, my band, I’d like to call that a job, but I don’t –
Mari: It’s twice as much work –
Alex: It’s twice as much work and – no money.
100WW: Mari, did you say you have stories? Can you tell us one?
Mari: Ooohh yeaahhh…
Alex: Oh boy.
Stevie: Tell the Pee Story! Tell the Pee Story!
100WW: Tell the Pee Story.
Alex: Oh, God, I don’t even know what that is. And I don’t want to know what it is!
Mari: Ok so, I worked at this ice cream shop.
Alex: NO THIS ISN’T A BAND STORY!
Mari: Oh wait, you want a band story?
100WW: No, we’re interested now!
Stevie: We have good band stories.
Mari: We have a lot of good band stories.
Alex: You tell that and then well tell some band stories.
Mari: Okay, I was working at this ice cream shop. It was my first job when I moved back from going to school in Olympia. And for whatever reason, I was there by myself for like an hour. I think my coworker went out for a really extended smoke break. And this mom comes in with her kid, and they order ice cream, and I’m starting to serve them. The kid starts throwing a fit because she wants sprinkles. The mom’s like “No Honey, you can’t have sprinkles.” And the kid’s like “but I want them.” And I’m there, holding like two cones of ice cream like, “do you want sprinkles? I can give you sprinkles.” And the kid’s like “I want them!” and the mom’s like “NO!” and the kid’s like “FINE!” and drops her pants – and the kid is like 8 probably. A kid who knows better. But she drops her pants and just pees on the floor in front of the counter at this ice cream shop. I’m like, “…Ma’am…your child”. So I put their ice cream down and run and grab a mop. As I’m coming back out, the mom’s like “Aren’t you gonna serve us?” I’m like “Ma’am. Your child just peed in my ice cream shop!”
Alex: That has a lot to do with the band, you see, because…
Mari: Because that job funded part of Tides.
Alex: Yeah. Do you have a band story?
Stevie: A band story…
100WW: A touring story?
Stevie: Oooo! Okay! What’s a good touring story? Oh, yeah, wait! I’ve got a great touring story! So, on our very first tour, which by the way, I was like 15 I think, so we had to bring my parents thru the tour. Like –
Alex: Think carefully about whatever story you’re about to –
Stevie: No, we’re doing this story.
Alex: Oh yeah, oh [laughs]
Stevie: And so it was our last night, we were in Ashland. We just played at this bar kinda place. There were very few people. We were just ready to go home, and Alex and I were like “Let’s go to the store and find ourselves a board game!” cos, why not?
Mari: We were staying at this like motel next to an Albertsons in Ashland, OR.
Stevie: Yeah, and so we go to the general store and get completely distracted and decide instead of buying a board game – oh no, we did buy Chutes and Ladders, but we also bought a fake bow-and-arrow set and a plastic trumpet. Because we were like “This is what we need for the last night of tour.” So we bring them into the hotel and Mari’s like “What the fuck did you bring to us?” and we’re like “Mari can you open it?” Cos Mari always has a knife. Cos, what a badass. Everyone. [Pauses for effect] So anyhow, so Mari starts opening the fake bow-and-arrow thing.
Mari: Cutting the zip-ties.
Stevie: And then I think Alex –
Mari & Stevie: Said something.
Alex: DON’T PUSH THIS ON ME!
Mari: Someone called my name and I looked up and was like “What?” and I slipped and cut my hand open. I still have a scar, actually.
Alex: Oh, the irony!
Mari: Oh the irony.
Alex: Cutting your hand on a plastic weapon.
Mari: Yeah, I had to get five stitches.
Stevie: So we had to spend the last night of the tour in the ER, WITH MY DAD.
Alex: My memory is that Mari was bleeding and my big impulse was I was gonna go return the Motel 6 key card I had accidentally stolen the night before. So I was like “I’M GONNA GO DO THIS!” and run across the street and went to the Motel 6 and returned that while Mari was bleeding and not having a good time.
Mari: We didn’t go to the ER for like 2 hours. Cuz I just put a towel over and like “It’s fine!” I’m just gonna sleep it off, and if it’s still bad tomorrow we can go when we get back home. But then it didn’t stop bleeding and didn’t stop hurting. As it does, cos it was a deep cut. And, - I don’t know….
Stevie: There’s no excuse. It’s just…
Mari: There’s no excuse. This is just me being dumb, and you guys also being dumb.
Stevie: Well cos we were like “Yeah, no, Mari’s fine!” I think it was like one in the morning when you were like “Yeah guys, it’s still bleeding, and it kinda hurts.” And we were like “Oh Shit; let us go to the hospital.”
Alex: I’m trying to think of stories that are musically related, that involve music.
Stevie: There’s the second time we played at Gilman and they threw cones at us. Is that a story?
Mari: Traffic Cones.
Stevie: They also stole our duct tape and tapped this one guy to a rollie chair and just started pushing him around. This was at 924 Gilman, our second show, and we were not very good. I think we played like three Ramones covers or something. [Mari: We were a terrible band] But that’s no excuse to steal our tape and tape this poor guy to a chair and push him around. I was like, I don’t know what this means.
Alex: Yeah, and I was riding off the high of playing my second show ever at this cool punk venue. Me being this nerdy thirteen year old in a polo shirt. I was like “Thank you!” and then someone hurled – I just saw this traffic cone just come at me, and it was just like WHAM! But um yeah. You know. We’ve played like forty shows there now. Clearly that didn’t drive us away. I don’t think anything will.
100WW: I’m sorry they weren’t ice cream cones.
Alex: That would have been so much better.
Mari: They’re sharp, that would hurt.
Alex: Traffic cones have a lot more density to them though!
100WW: How is it like playing at Gilman? What’s it like there now?
Alex: I think that the mentality that a lot of bands eventually get is it becomes kind of like, I would say second home, but in a way that sounds too glorified. It’s a place we go and just kinds of hang out. You hang out there and after a while you know everyone and it becomes like a hangout space. It’s like a school: You learn things, you see the normal people. You see your friends there every day and you kinda [Stevie: you get yelled at.] Yeah. You get yelled at. You have your bad moments. You make bad decisions, and you do fun things.
Mari: I think being from the Bay Area, we take Gilman for granted a lot. [Alex: That’s what I was trying to say.] Yeah. We’re all volunteers there. I run sound, Stevie works the concession stand.
[Stevie: Have we mentioned our lovely photographer, Bailey? Who’s also here.] Bailey runs sound.
Alex is a booker, and used to be the groundskeeper. Stevie also used to be the groundskeeper.
Stevie: So we’ve been around. I’ve been going to Gilman’s since I was like twelve. Because I lived super close to there. [to Mari] How old are you now?
Mari: [scoffs] I’m twenty one. I’m gonna be twenty two in like three weeks. So, I don’t know. I know that a lot of people see “The Smell” as a really clique-y, volunteer-run space, but the people I’ve met there are all super tight-knit and they’re a really tight-knit community. [Alex: that’s a good tour story.] Oh that is a good tour story. You can tell that later. It’s the same with Gilman kind of. I mean all the volunteers. The regular volunteers that show up every weekend are pretty much all, if not friends, close. We all know each other by face and by name. And then we leave the Bay Area and go somewhere else and people are like “You play at Gilman!? What the fuck, that’s where Green Day’s from! Holy shit, that’s so cool!”
Stevie: unless it’s on the east coast, cos everyone on the east coast hates Green Day. [Laughs] That’s what I’ve learned.
Alex: On the east coast it’s the same mentality of like CBGB’s on the east coast. Like if you’ve played in New York and played at CBGB’s and went somewhere else you’d be like “Whoa, you played at…” Well not really, cos it’s a t-shirt shop now, [shots fired] but that kind of mentality; idea... Uh, [to Stevie] do you have more to add to Gilman?
Stevie: I would say playing at Gilman, has taught us everything we know about being a band and about getting shows and really, everything. Like Mari said, we came in very young. I think my first show there I was like eleven. So we’ve been playing there now for five or six years. We’ve gone through so many different levels. Like through teenage-hood and we’re still doing that. As much as it is legendary, it’s also just a part of our lives. As this this place that we have grown up.
Alex: Yeah, adding a little bit to what Stevie’s saying about kind of learning a lot by being part of Gilman. Since it’s a DIY space, and I’m sure this is the way with a lot of DIY spaces. It’s not easy to play shows there. You really have to put yourself on the bills and push for it. You have to load everything in. If something goes wrong with the gear or the sound stuff, people there have to fix it and you have to navigate your way through everything. Even if you don’t become Sound Engineer or become the Doorperson or volunteer, you kind of learn to do everything a little bit. I’m sure, I’ve not ever done sound, but you kind of get the concept of basic ideas of it through working and playing at Gilman. So I think it’s a really all-encompassing kind of learning community kind of space and that’s really awesome. [To Mari] Do you want to tell the story about the bees?
Mari: Maybe, if they want to hear it.
Of course we fucking do.
Of course we fucking do.
Mari: Last summer we’re on tour. We were gonna play two shows in LA, two shows in Berkeley in July. And we were bringing our friends band Demi and the Gods. Anyway, so we drove down like 4am and we were gonna play The Smell that night and as we were stuck in LA traffic going to The Smell, my booker friend calls me and says “Hey, we might have a problem.” [Alex: There’s bees.] There’s bees in the venue. [Alex: A lot of bees. They were everywhere.] Yeah, our show was cancelled because of bees.
Stevie: There’s not much to that story.
Alex: We’ll never get to play The Smell because of bees. Thanks, bees.
100WW: They were never explained?
Stevie: I think there might have been a nest or something. Or a [claps] what’s it called? [All: A hive?] Yeah, a hive. There was a hive hidden somewhere, so they were afraid to aggravate them.
Alex: I mean, I don’t know if The Smell was being heavily inspected and was red-tagged and was gonna be demolished and stuff like that. And I don’t think because of that they really had the ability to have any sort of person come out and look at anything during that time. They couldn’t call an inspector cos there were all these other problems with the—
Mari: No it’s not that they couldn’t call an inspector, it’s that they didn’t know until midday so they couldn’t call an inspector until the next day.
Alex: What I mean is there’s a lot of stuff they’re going through with this. It’s hard for them to be as careful about it and – you know, stuff happens. Bees show up sometimes. Bees go where bees please.
100WW: Gotta be prepared for bees, I guess. All disasters. Gotta be ready. So….what does Sarchasm do for fun?
Alex: Me first? OH GOD! That’s tough. That’s hard, because we’re all each other’s best friends. Kind of, only friends. And what we do with this band is what we do for fun. But we really like going to clothing stores and wandering around and staring and doing things.
Stevie: Remember that one time we were in Target until closing time?
Alex: Oh yeah, we’ll like go hang out in Target till eleven pm and kind of rifle through all the greeting cards and plates and stuff. We’re like – without being destructive – as annoying as possible without destroying anything.
Mari: I work in customer service and I hate them both.
Alex: Yeah. [Long pause] I’m sorry.
Stevie: We started work on this label called Taco Truck Records. Mari and Alex book for it. And just put together this big Lookout Records reunion festival that was like four nights of reuniting bands that used to play on Lookout Records. Hopefully we’ll be putting out some cool bands in 2017. So we do that. But we kinda just go on friend adventures, watch weird Spongebob movies, go to record stores… I don’t know, I take them with me when I want to buy socks. But I have cool socks, so it’s ok. Stuff like that.
Alex: You can’t hear it, but Stevie is wearing some very cool socks.
Stevie: What do you mean you can’t hear it?
Alex: It’s an audio recording!
Mari: I don’t know. Alex and I took Stevie to prom, and we listen to a lot of music together, we judge a lot of music together.
Stevie: “We talk shit” it what you’re saying. We talk a lot of shit.
Alex: We’re kind of like an entourage of – if one of us is there, it’s likely the other two are and we just kind of do whatever the other two people are doing. Like if someone needs to go to the grocery store and is bored, we’ll probably go…. I don’t want to say we make our own fun, but… We make our own fun. I think the band is the main thing we all devote most of our lives to, and I think it’s the thing we have the most fun doing. Anything we do outside of that tends to just be like “between band practices” and with the band and stuff. I would say it’s all music related.
Mari: Our parents also live within a mile of each other. So when everyone’s home for the summer it’s “hey, let’s go to Alex’s” or “Alex is coming over, we’re making him do the dishes.” Stuff like that.
Stevie: We cook a lot together.
Mari: Yeah, we do cook a lot together. We’re a clique, kinda.
100WW: Would you say the band that eats together stays together?
Alex: Depends who’s making the food. If I was making the food, NO! When Mari makes the food, very much so.
Mari: When Stevie makes the food…
Stevie: I’m a good cook, don’t even talk shit.
Mari: You don’t know how to make beans.
Stevie: I can make a good stir-fry, no one’s ever complained.
Mari: The answer is yes.
Alex: I think one of our best moments as a band was like we practiced and then made like group pizza. That was really good.
Alex: Yes. #SooooPopPunk cos it’s pizza.
Mari: Like four Os
Alex: Four Os.
Alex: Pop Punk. Because we made pizza. Except it was whole wheat crust. I don’t know if that’s super pop punk. I don’t know.
100WW: You’ve survived thirty minutes with us, you can plug things. I didn’t even have to work hard. You guys just… WENT with it!
Mari: Keep an eye on Taco Truck Records. There is some cool stuff happening. We might release something this year – it’s a surprise.
Alex: We’re playing 924 Gilman on March 11th.
Mari: And we’re doing a US National in June.
Stevie: Buy our stuff so we don’t starve.
Mari: The End.
Sarchasm is also on iTunes and Spotify for your listening enjoyment. (We recommend Marionette)