ST Sessions: Feeling lighter after Darker Now

Dark and mysterious doesn't nearly begin to describe the sound and aesthetic of Tomgirl. The indie duo's mix of garage rock, heavily influenced by the soundtracks of B-movies and film noir, works to to create some of the sexiest tunes around.
Tomgirl comprise Cherie Ko and Ted Dore.
Tomgirl comprise Cherie Ko and Ted Dore.PHOTO: ST VIDEO

For home-grown indie pop duo Tomgirl, comprising Singaporean singer-songwriter Cherie Ko and Australia-based musician and songwriter Ted Dore, music is an avenue for purging negative thoughts and feelings.

Darker Now, the first tune they wrote together, which topped the iTunes rock charts in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, came from "a pretty desolate time in my life", says Dore, 29.

"It was the perfect vehicle to channel some of the negative energy, just like a catharsis."

Ko, 26, adds: "When I met Ted and we wrote Darker Now, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I felt there was this release and I suddenly knew where I was going. I didn't know where I would be, but I knew where I wanted to be. I'm pretty happy now."

They perform the tune in the sixth episode of the third season of ST Sessions, The Straits Times' online video series features rising talents in the home-grown music scene performing stripped-down live sets. The video can be viewed at

Ko and Dore also perform Walk All Over Me. Both songs are taken from their self-titled debut album, which was launched at the Esplanade's Mosaic Music Weekend last year. They released a follow-up remix EP, Heartbeats, last month.

Ko is a familiar face in the home- grown scene, having gigged and recorded with other acts, such as Obedient Wives Club, Pastelpower and Bored Spies.

She and Dore started making music together in 2014. While Ko is based here, Dore shuttles between Singapore and Melbourne. They work on their songs together online when they are apart.

Ko says in the video: "For my previous projects like Pastelpower, people only saw one side of me. I actually feel like I'm a Russian doll and there're many different layers to who I am. So I guess Tomgirl is an exaggeration of one aspect of who I am, which is that there is a bit of a rebel in me."

ST Sessions' third season is part of a series of digital video programmes under a partnership between the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore and Singapore Press Holdings.

The new season features eight acts, including singer-songwriters Shak'thiya Subramaniamm and indie quartet Take Two. A new episode is launched every other Friday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2017, with the headline 'Feeling lighter after Darker Now'. Subscribe