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Standing at a modest and barely elevated platform at the lobby of Manila Bulletin’s building, cellist Anjo Incay, drummer Allen Calixto, bassist Jason Rondero and violinist Kim Mirandalla-Ng provided accompaniment weaving the ensemble that is called Silent Sanctuary.

Photo by Christian Carl Quides

The sound of their singles “Rebound,” “Kundiman,” “Bumalik Ka Na Sa’kin,” “Pasensya Ka Na,” and “Malayo Na Tayo” echoes through the space and through the offices while lead singer Raymund “Sarkie” Sarangay carefully strums the chords of his acoustic guitar that dons a single, striking sticker asking, “Will you be the next Schindler?”

It’s a simple yet profound question. To answer it, however, no one really needs to look far. The five-piece band’s presence in the local scene has provided OPM fans new and nostalgic music in signature style: romantic, beautiful, and heart breaking yet emotionally mending.

Much like Oskar Schindler, the German best remembered for saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust, the band remains relevant with both moving and chart-topping hits well-loved by enduring and adoring fans from way back when they started in 2002 to the younger ones who discovered them through their latest releases.

We caught up with Silent Sanctuary last November 17 before performing their songs for MB Life Live to know what the band has been up to as well as their future plans.

How’s the band? What’s been keeping you busy?

Sarkie: Okay naman. Medyo dumadami na ‘yung gigs namin, awa ng Diyos (laughs).

Let’s talk about your new single, “Malayo na Tayo.” Who wrote the song and what was the inspiration or the story behind it?

Sarkie: Ako ‘yung nagsulat ng “Malayo na Tayo.” Ginawa ko siya nung 2013. Dapat kasali siya sa album namin na Monodramatic tapos hindi siya naisali dahil puno na ‘yung line up ng mga kanta doon sa album. Actually pang-long distance relationship siya. Parang umalis ‘yung girl tapos doon ko nakuha ‘yung idea na isulat.

We read at the comment section of the music video for this song that you’re interpreting the song uniquely this time. Is that right?

Sarkie: Yes. Totoo naman kasi ‘yung thought kasi ng “Malayo Na Tayo” pwede siya sa maraming aspect ng relationships.

Jason: Although originally nga, long distance relationship (LDR) siya.

Sarkie: Habang sinusulat ko din ‘yun, naisip ko na pwede nga rin pala siya sa halimbawa, mga bagay na mahal na mahal mo na kailangan mo na siya i-let go or parang play station na gusto mong game na ‘yun na nga kailangan – well hindi naman kailangan pero eventually, mawawala rin sa’yo. May isang part doon sa kanta na, “Maaalis ka ba sa isip ko?” ‘Yun ang tanong doon na parang imposible mawala kasi nandoon na ‘yun at na-experience mo na ‘yun. Siguro doon namin nakuha ‘yung idea na pwede sa friendship o pwede sa mga bagay gaya doon sa video na ginawa namin para dito sa “Malayo Na Tayo.”

Speaking of “Malayo Na Tayo,” it’s no secret that you’ve been making music together as a band for more than 10 years already. What or who has kept you going?

Sarkie: Kaya kami nag-stay sa scene ay dahil sa mga kaibigan namin at sa mga fans na tumatangkilik sa amin. Kung wala kasi sila, hindi na kami aabante pa.

Jason: Self-motivation pero at the same time kung walang maniniwala, wala eh. Ganun pa man, kahit isa o dalawa lang ang followers mo, ia-appreciate mo ‘yun dahil kahit papaano, nai-share mo ‘yung music  mo, music namin. Kaya hanggang ngayon, ito pa rin ‘yung gusto naming gawin hangga’t kaya. Hangga’t kaya naming gumawa ng kanta.

You have a new single out now so will there be an upcoming album, too?

Sarkie: Yes. ‘Yan talaga ‘yung target namin. Basically, kaya kami gumagawa ng mga single release muna tapos mga 2 or 3 singles na nai-release, iko-compile namin ‘yun tapos maglalabas kami ng album, plus songs na maidadagdag namin. Sana mangyari pero ‘yun ang target namin pero hindi pa naman nangyayari so ginagawan namin ng paraan.

Any upcoming works or gigs that your fans can look forward to?

Sarkie: Sa ngayon, sa gigs kami tapos gumagawa na rin kami ng kanta tapos ‘yung single namin, nasa Spotify na rin.

Jason: So far, ‘yun pa lang ‘yung pino-promote namin, ‘yung current single namin na “Malayo na Tayo.” So in the works, gaya ng sabi ni Sarkie, mga bagong kanta pa. Actually, may mga recorded songs na.

Sarkie: Oo, pero siyempre namimili pa lang kasi hindi pa pumapasa.

Jason: Gusto namin ‘yung magandang kanta.

Sarkie: Ayaw din naming maglabas nung – ayaw din naming sigurong ma-disappoint ‘yung mga fans din the same way na kami, ayaw din naming ma-disappoint.

Jason: Kumbaga, gusto naming masasayahan ang mga tao sa mga kantang ilalabas namin kaya we’re taking our time pero we’re doing our best.

What’s your message to your fans?

Sarkie: Maraming salamat po sa pagtangkilik ulit ng OPM kasi lumalago na uli siya. Pati sa mga fans namin sa Silent Sanctuary, maraming-maraming salamat sa suporta dahil kung hindi dahil sa inyo, talagang namatay na siya matagal na. We will give our best and sana suportahan niyo hindi lang kami, pero lahat ng bands rin para mas healthy ‘yung music scene natin sa Pilipinas. Thank you so much.

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