(Interview for Gentle Magazine, image by Miriam Marlene Waldner)
Jarrod Mahon, better known as Emerson Snowe, once described his music as “Romantic Freak Pop” − a sound which is much needed especially during these times as it can make you dream of an alternate world. In celebration of his new song “Frankenstein”, we talked to him about the single, the moments in which he feels the most creative and, what he does to take care of his mental health.
Hi Jarrod, how are you feeling these days and where are you spending your time during lockdown?
Heya, I’m feeling pretty good at this moment. Maybe because I have a task to do – these questions – so it’s nice to have something to do. So Thanks! Other than that, I spend my time between my apartment in Berlin, Falkensee, and Bavaria.
I must say, I have been listening to a lot of your music during the past year – especially when I was feeling depressed or went through a difficult bpd phase. Your music always takes me to a different place, like another world. Do you create your music with an intention like that in mind?
That is very touching to hear. I’m glad that you found some kind of solace in my work. Actually, ‘work’ is a strong word for what I do. I don’t create my music with any intention in mind – only to get out whatever it is that is inside me at that moment. Almost everything you have probably heard from me has been created in under 30 minutes. So they are very much of that moment – so to read that it has meant so much to you is very beautiful actually.
People tend to say that they come up with the best ideas when they are feeling down – when do you feel the most creative?
Hmm. I used to think that was the case – but that was when I thought I had to try to be something. Now I create in any emotion. I create to create, I’m doing it all the time. Sometimes for weeks straight, each day doing 1 or 2 tracks fully written and recorded. Sometimes I will have a dry spell of almost nothing for a month – but it always comes back, almost all at once. It always comes back.
What do you do to take care of your mental health?
Music. I also reach out to people when I am feeling low. That is something I never did before – if I did I would feel absolutely stupid for reaching out to others and would feel like a massive burden. But when I was younger I would be totally open – then things changed and I went inside. But now I’m slowly opening up, learning to trust again.
And what or who inspires your work?
Places inspire my work, I guess. There is no doubt in my mind that sitting in a place holds an energy to it, I just channel it out into something. Melodies usually just come into my head and then I just do it.
Working as a professional musician comes with some risks (at least financial ones), when did you decide to just follow your dreams anyway?
When I was 16 I knew what I wanted. The next year I left my home town and moved to a city. Played in a band there for years, from 19 to 24 or something. Then I came to Europe. You have to do things for yourself.
Do you have any advice for people who still struggle to follow their dreams because they are too scared of failing and/or what other people might think about them?
This a touching question, and I’m not sure why. Maybe it is because I feel like I am talking to the 16-year olds that want to get out of their small town. I would say that those thoughts about what others think of you never really leave (IMO). But it’s about filling that time in-between the dark moments of self-hatred or self-doubt. It’s all in your head – understanding that these fears are actually something you have created – you can literally do anything you want to. If you are around people right now that you feel self-conscious around and feel like they are having some kind of toxic effect on you – it’s time to move forward for yourself. If you stick around those kinds of people then you’ll become one of them. And you’ll know that you could have changed it. Sometimes things just happen, and you aren’t able to just get up and do your thing. But if you believe in it, then you’ll do it for sure. Might not be your original end goal, but it’s gonna be something.
And what has been the biggest challenge during your career so far? How did you overcome it?
The question before this. I would also say having trust and belief that others have a genuine interest in my work. As said in previous questions – just outreaching to a close few people about it. I need to get out of my head a lot of the time and look at it from a new perspective. 8/10 times I’m usually over analyzing it. Not sure where that stems from, but maybe when we do another interview in 5 years it could be different.
During the pandemic, you have created your newest song „Frankenstein“ – was working on music any different during this weird time? If yes, how has the pandemic impacted your new work?
Frankenstein was written on the 24th of January 2019 – I know that because I’m looking at the original file for it now. Within that year I recorded 94 tracks. So that was just January of that year.
My partner and I were in LA at the start of the pandemic last year – of course, it was strange in the beginning, but we adapted and just did what we do. It didn’t make a difference to me much at all, I was used to it. Of course, the content seemed bland at some points, because you realize that humans NEED other contacts, so without that, it just seems like copy and pasting whole days, weeks, sometimes months. I do feel like I’m socially messed up from it now though, but I’m sure most people are in that now. Maybe.
Tell us a bit about „Frankenstein“ – what is the story behind the song and how does the final result make you feel?
The quick and genuine answer to this question is that Frankenstein was nothing else to me other than another track I did in one of my 30-minute writing intervals. I did it, sent it to my manager and some friends and the response was cool, so I just put it in a playlist and got others to decide if it should go anywhere. Looking back on the song now, it’s actually quite sad.
My ex-partner and I broke up 3 days before I was going to do some UK shows in December of 2018. I did too much coke those nights in London, showed up to meetings messed up – total loser move – but I can’t change that – I also can’t be upset at that guy I was back then, I was coping the only way I knew how to. Anyway, so January when I got back to Australia I did a heap of tracks, basically part 2 of “That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll”. That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll was like this beautiful thing, “hell yeah love rules” and then after the December experience, I was just burnt out and exhausted. So lyrically the tracks like Frankenstein and the others coming up are pretty fucking sad. Even though the music is joyful and almost euphoric. I seem to always have that contrast. Are these answers getting too long?
No, they are absolutely not − thank you for sharing the story, it means a lot! What would be the or your ideal situation to listen to „Frankenstein“?
My ideal situation has already happened, playing it live with friends on my UK/EURO tour in mid-2019. I want to do it again, but who knows when. That is upsetting.
How do you spend your time when you’re not doing music?
I play a lot of video games at the moment, to be honest – usually, I’ll do a few months of reading, and then a couple of months of playing video games. Obviously, I’m not talking 24/7 gaming, but something to pass the time I guess. Overnight my partner and I watch horror movies on our projector too.
(read the whole interview on Gentle Magazine)