UT student Samuel Varga reemerges onto music scene with KaraKara

Abigail Zeitler

After the former members of alternative rock band Scarlet Smile took a hiatus, they decided music wasn’t just a pastime — it was plan A. Now, under their new moniker KaraKara, the foursome plans to reemerge into the music scene with a new EP.

“Plan A is to do music,” Samuel Varga, advertising and psychology senior and KaraKara’s lead vocalist, said. “Even when we were separated, we were still finding ways to do music together, and now our goal is to start playing for bigger and bigger crowds.”

Back in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, Varga, Jacob Hollenbach, Nick Conroy and Cameron Murphy were the original members of the band Scarlet Smile. Their hit single “Between You and Me” garnered over 14,000 views on YouTube, and they’ve opened for artists including as Asher Roth.

After attending college in different states forced them to take a hiatus, they reunited during winter break to form KaraKara. The new band recently signed a recording contract with Butler University’s recording industry studies program and plan to release an EP early next year.

“Over break, thought we should record a song,” Varga said. “We ended up recording two songs in the studio, and one was a song I wrote for a buddy that went through a breakup and put in my back pocket after freshman year.”

The band ended up releasing their song “As She Goes,” which inspired them to create more music. They recently finished an acoustic video for their song “Another of You” and will begin working on ten more songs.

Butler’s recording industry studies program gives Butler students the opportunity to record, produce and mix a project for a band of their choice that has signed to record and publish for a year. One song can cost up to $5,000 to produce at traditional studios, but KaraKara will record ten songs for free through Butler’s record label and publishing entity.

“The students and I like their energy, enthusiasm and talent,” Cutler Armstrong, creative media and entertainment lecturer at Butler University, said. “KaraKara also being based primarily in Louisville, two hours from Indianapolis, gives us the opportunity to promote the band in two decent-sized markets right from the start.”

During their second semester, the students work to book their bands and promote what they created in hopes of getting songs licensed.

“The great thing about this project is that everyone wins,” Armstrong said. “KaraKara will come away with a very professional sounding and looking product. The students will have an intense, immersive experience recording, mixing and producing a working band.”

With their upcoming release, Varga said the band will explore country and pop sounds while retaining their original pop-rock vibe. He said the band is excited to experiment with new genres.

“I’m ready to play more live shows,” Varga said. “One story I remember is when a guy walked up to me after a show and told me that he played one of our songs to a girl he was interested in. Now they are married. It’s all about the crowd, and I am ready to see KaraKara be known nationally for it’s songwriting.”