(All SERPENT CROWN art done by Dara Santhai)

You may know Dara as an artist, the singer and guitarist of her band SERPENT CROWN, or as one of the awesome bartenders at Eli’s Mile High Club…This week we get to read about the origins of her creative success.

Born in the Philippines, Dara has traveled with her family all over the world. She spent time in Thailand, North Africa, Alaska and Indonesia to name a few of the places that have continued to inspire and shape her art work and view of the world and the infinite “Big Picture” we all live in. Dara comes from a long line of artists in her family and has an education in fine arts. An exhibiting artist who had work shown in galleries along the west coast in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, and Portland, AND appeared in Juxtapoz sponsored events! She was paid to do commissioned art and illustration, using her time and resources to continue honing her craft.

I would say my travels have always influenced my art as whole, maybe not so much my music. When I first moved out to SF, my focus was art. I wanted to be an artist. I was active in the scene and started booking art shows with live music. Many of them went down at what is now known as the “Submission gallery” (formerly the Balazzo).

I know I’ve said this before; but god damn, I wish I could’ve been around for the awesomeness that was the heavy music scene of SF and Oakland in the 90’s and early 2000’s. So many art shows that I’ve been two in the last couple years have been filled with people there for the free “two buck chuck” and PBR being offered. As many events and gallery openings as I’ve been to in the last few years, I personally feel a lot (not all) but most are missing focus on the actual art and the artists themselves. Personally I’d LOVE to see a revival of the local music scene paired with community artists, having a goodtime and supporting each other for the greater good the creative community at large.

Dara isn’t just a talented musician; she’s been contributing her creative prowess and making waves in the collective scene since she got here.

What transition started your journey from recognized bay area artist to fierce and well known vocalist and guitarist?

Well, one of my favorite memories was of an art show I curated that featured NOOTHGRUSH and LUDICRA. The success and good time from that show kind of started me booking strictly bands as well and putting shows together. I had quite frankly gotten tired of the “Art world” hustle. I started focusing more on shows and picked up the guitar. I started SERPENT CROWN sometime back. We’ve struggled a bit with a consistent line-up but things have been solid for a while now and *hopefully* we’ll be doing another recording next year.

Fuuuck, I hope that goes down! For those of you who haven’t experienced the awesomeness of SERPENT CROWN already, listen to this break down:

Serpent Crown is largely influenced by 80’s thrash metal, classic metal and sludge metal.”  YUUUUSSSSS! GET ON IT, FOLKS!

As most of you already know, Dara recently started playing guitar for LARVAE.

“LARVEA is a blackened death, crust, doom kinda sound. I’m always trying to branch out and explore. If you restrict yourself to one genre of music, you’re missing out on the bigger picture and ultimately amazing music. Personally I’m all for the learning process that comes with exposing yourself to unfamiliar music and life experiences, constantly pushing yourself to learn and be better for it.”

This bad ass is self-taught on guitar. *Chyeah! Right!* She grew up playing piano and is a classically trained musician. This brilliant, driven woman was already able to read sheet music and felt that having learned at such a young age and staying active as a musician gave her a foundation of knowledge to build from when learning to shred.

The most important message Dara has to share is one for the parents and guardians out there:

MAKE YOUR KIDS SUFFER THROUGH MUSIC LESSONS! Whether you (the parent) or the child ever have aspirations of becoming a musician or not, learning how to play an instrument and cultivating the growth of those brain functions at an early age reaps benefits found in ALL areas of life. Learning to read and play music at a young age will strengthen their basic motor skills and coordination. If they do end up picking up a guitar or drum sticks later on in life they will already be able to play without looking at their hands. They will gain that natural ear for harmony and grow in ways they may not have otherwise been able to.”

Fuckin’ A man. Cheers to that!

If you haven’t already experienced the epicness that is Dara playing live, you’re in luck! Be at “Elbo” in SF July 7th. She’ll be doing vocals and playing guitar with her band SERPENT CROWN. It should be known that this is also her BIRTHDAY SHOW! *Happy birthday, you Bad Ass, you!*

July 16th, Dara will be playing guitar with LARVAE at “Elbo” in SF

*Two shows to with two different bands in one month? You lucky ducks, you 😉


The art that is Dara: