Best seen live

Jaton Zulueta (The Philippine Star) - March 7, 2014 - 12:00am

As the country’s representative to South by Southwest, the largest music and film convention in the world, Turbo Goth is more than ready to make it big.

MANILA, Philippines - You never forget the first time you see certain bands. Our thoughts when we saw Turbo Goth for the first time: Are they models? Doesn’t he know how dangerous it is to jump that high? And how can that big a sound come from only two people?

We’ve learned to quiet our minds from these distractions, and sometime since they were founded in 2008, they became arguably one of the best live rock acts in the country.

Turbo Goth is composed of Sarah Gaugler (vocals) and Paolo Peralta (guitars/ electronic samples). Impeccably dressed and oozing with charisma, this two-piece electronic rock duo’s 2011 debut album “Destroy Us All” has shades of White Stripes, Mars Volta and Mew.

What’s original has always been their commanding stage presence. Gaugler’s serene vocals and Peralta’s aggressive guitar sound, coupled with her stoic delivery and his energetic rock star posturing, make for good musical theater.

Next week, Turbo Goth is representing the Philippines in South by Southwest (SXSW), the largest music and film convention in the world. With only a chosen few international acts being invited from all over the world, the importance of the festival isn’t lost on Peralta, who we caught up with over the phone, in the middle of his preparations for the big trip.

“We’re very excited because it gives us an opportunity to really showcase our stuff,” he says, his band being only the second Filipino act (after Taken by Cars) to have been invited to the festival. “Ang daming manonood. We really want to get noticed globally. It’s an opportunity to bring our music to the next level.”

That they got on the bill as an international band, without a major label, is a testament to their talent and work ethic. “When we were starting out as a band, I think our biggest struggle was finding our own sound and identity,” Peralta says. “We got over this problem through rigorous playing in various venues.”

Turbo Goth has been relentless on the gig circuit, playing in independent venues and corporate events nonstop. Peralta says that this has helped them improve a lot; the sound is much cleaner, and they are much tighter musically.

A real-life couple offstage, the band manages and promotes their own musical careers. On top of that, Gaugler is an illustrator and a model, while Peralta is a chef. They are also the artists and owners of Snow Tattoo, a specialty tattoo place on the second floor of SaGuijo.

“We just keep seizing opportunities, and always keep our minds open to new things,” Peralta says. “I feel like we have come a long way since we started, and the enthusiasm and excitement keeps on increasing as the years go by.”

In preparation for their SXSW gig, the band held a fundraiser and invited all their fans through Facebook. The event was packed. “Masaya kasi parang reunion. There were people from way back when we first started,” he says. “It’s nice, we appreciate the appreciation.” 

After SXSW, they plan on shooting more videos and working on the new album. A video for Fandalla Vendetta, a crowd favorite, will be released sometime this year. Peralta concludes, “It’s part of the sound. It’s fun. We just want to put out quality optimum entertainment. In everything that we do, we want to put out a show na hindi talaga makakalimutan.”

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with