George Sarah

by Bret Miller

George Sarah is an accomplished musician. Residing in the San Fernando Valley, George has previously gone by the band name T.H.C. and was a hard dance music producer. That has changed in the last four or so years, he now splits his time between orchestrated ambient pieces and more dance floor oriented material. Both styles of music contain piano by Sarah and strings played by local professionals. Why isn’t George Sarah signed? After hearing his 1997 produced and 1999 released indie CD Adagio, you will wonder the same thing.

What is your earliest memory about music and how do you think this might have guided you to where you are today?

Well I would have to say my parents played me the soundtrack to The Sound Of Music and I wasn't into it at all, I was about four or five. Then when I was about six years old they took me to the Hollywood bowl to see and hear Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops and I was totally blown away! I just remember thinking, OK this is it, and then a few months later I heard the Beatles and knew I was going to be enveloped with music.

Who are a few of your favorite artists regardless of genre, art, pop, books, movies, culture etc.... Why?

Aphex Twin, because of his ability to keep up the quality with quantity. That goes the same with all the artists like Bjork, E.E. Cummings, Beethoven, Dali, Woody Allen, Richard Foreman, Stereolab, Steve Reich, Roni Size, Grantby, DJ Shadow and John Williams to name a few. Even local unsigned artists like Lexaunculpt.

Who have you collaborated with over the years and what about them made you click?

Well I have to say that a lot of my collaborations that end up creatively rewarding do not always end with personal relationships like longevity in friendships and such, some do but it is hard when two people are so passionate about there art it sometimes does not leave room for compromise. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Q aka Uberzone, I recorded about nine or ten tracks with him but he's one passive aggressive. Lately I've been collaborating a lot with Lili Haydn, and I must say not only is she one of the most genuine people I've met but is also a truly brilliant artist. One of the best collaborations I did was when I was chosen to be part of a composer/playwright workshop by the A.S.K. Theater projects at the Skirball Cultural center and that was unbelievably great, in a vulnerable/spiritual sense.

Where can we find your music?

The T.H.C. stuff is available at some record stores, it is distributed through RED Distribution and my 12 inch single on F-111/Warner Bros. (Under George Sarah) is available on-line at places like CDNow, Amazon and Kabang. My new songs are available only at my shows and through personal email and Rhino in Westwood.

Are you happy about the exposure you have received in movies and TV? Did you enjoy performing on stage on Buffy (and with a werewolf singer to boot)?

It's a bit ironic; a lot of the film and TV people seem to be more passionate about music than the music biz guys. It seems when a music supervisor uses a song it's because they truly love a piece as oppose to trying to make or break their film/TV show cause of the song or source music and yes performing on Buffy The Vampire Slayer was really a lot of fun. (George later mentioned that the part of the werewolf singer and probably that episode’s storyline were inspired by his music and the song performed on the show.)

What instruments are you trained on, and what are some of your cherished electronic machines.

When I was 11 I started piano lessons and then at 12 I switched to bass and at 19 back to keyboards. The electronic instrument I cherish the most is my SY85 keyboard; I never leave home without it.

Can you tell us a little about how you put together a song?

It's always composed on my grand piano. Then I start writing the beats on my sampler, an Emu ESI 32. Then I layer it with older keyboards like a JX 8P, or a Juno 106 along with some added piano and synthetic violin/cello sounds. Lately I've been experimenting with slide guitar.

What is your favorite song of all time?

That's a real tuff one because it changes from time to time, but I would say right now it would have to be Samuel Barber's Adagio For Strings. I truly believe it is being performed and composed throughout the universe.

Who or what do you find most inspiring in life? Does this affect your music and how?

Yes, I think when you’re true to yourself and absorb all that is around you that will have an effect. Just like how you treat other people will have an affect on you. I think I do have a tendency to have a minor key introspective on things so my music may sound a bit more melancholy then it's supposed to. However, I find that everything in life is significant, everyone you ever meet to the food you choose to eat to whether or not you smile at a stranger. I've written a lot of pieces that were inspired by the solitude I experience so inspiration can also mean your ability to stay focused.

Can we find out about your upcoming projects and concerts? Is there a way to contact you for the latest info?

I've been nominated for my first award by the L.A. Weekly Music Awards in the category of “Best Dance Artist” and recently I was number one at KCRW, both on their play list and number one on their RPM list. I've never been number one on anything ever before. You can email me at and you will be added to my email list that goes out about once a week.

Do you have any messages for your fans in L.A. and abroad?

Don't ever let go of the child in you and stay true to what you believe in, don't let go of something because someone else say's so, especially in the arts and imagination. I know that might sound cornball but it's true. I know a lot of composers who aren't even creating the shit they want to because they believe it's not commercial enough or they assume they won't make a living when all they’re really doing is cutting themselves short of what could potentially be the most important thing in their life. There is a quote by Einstein that I go to from time to time and he said "People with great and enduring visions will always face great oppositions from mediocre minds.

George Sarah has recently performed a live show at the Knitting factory opening for Canadian band Stars. The place was standing room only (thanks to the many people sitting at the foot of the stage) with quite a few people swaying to Sarah's peppier tunes. Sarah played songs from his early days as T.H.C. such as "Girlflesh" and many more from his demos and his excellent Opus Eleven album. The string trio took over at one point in the show and played a classical song with audience members calling out the composer and name of the piece. The strings filled in for the vocals heard on some of the studio tracks as Sarah triggered beats and played keyboards. You can find his demos on sale at these shows. He'll be playing at the Knitting Factory again in March so be sure to go!

Music for Elevators is out now on B.I.A.B.D., a collaboration with Anthony Stuart Head of Buffy the Vampire Stayer. Give it a listen.


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