Emerson Snowe spent his life in motion.
Playing shows in the UK, the United States, and Japan as 2019 wound its course, he lived from a suitcase and wrote songs whenever he could.
But then came the pandemic. Pinned down in once place, Emerson Snowe decided to take a step back, honing his material while respecting its individuality.
New EP 'Emerson Snowe's Splatterpunk' is out now, a vivid ride through some unique ideas, a whirlwind of off piste melody and outstanding innovation.
In a press note, he comments: "In a lot of ways I can relate myself to Will Smith’s character in ‘Hitch’. The romance coach who is able to show others how to love each other but is unable to do so himself. I’m writing music that people can enjoy and be uplifted by, but most of the time I’m unable to take my own advice."
"I genuinely thought I was writing really uplifting music (when I made Splatterpunk), but I listen back now and realise I wasn’t doing so well emotionally, maybe even physically. I feel as an artist all I can do is show my bare bones and have the EP as a diary entry of my time here on earth. So that’s that. I hope you enjoy."
Clash sat down with Emerson Snowe to pin down a few of his key influences...
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Julian Cope - 'Head Hang Low'
A very close friend of mine made me a playlist and it included a lot of Gary Numan, Psychic TV, Chris and Cosey and Fad Gadget. This song was on it and for whatever reason really stuck to me. It sounded so simple and that’s all it needed, was just the simplicity.
I think if you can write a song with only a few elements and it sticks with someone 20+ years in the future, or across the world, that’s a special thing. My fascination with this track then led me to my love for Chris Spedding and Alan Vega’s solo work.
This kind of sound and simplicity is a recurring influence on my EP.
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Robert Wyatt - 'Shipbuilding'
I was watching ‘If It Ain’t Stiff’ a documentary on Stiff Records. It had Elvis Costello in it and other than my love for his songs from the Austin Powers movies (no shame at all in this, those songs are amazing) I had never really listened to him.
I was getting into him and then saw this song with Robert Wyatt. I love Robert Wyatt a lot because he doesn’t look like he would have such an earnest and vulnerable, sweet voice under that main and white beard. The lyrics were so open and literal they really reminded me of ‘Up The Junction’ by Squeeze.
R. Wyatt is a huge inspiration to me. This song influenced 'Home Sweet Home' from my EP.
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The Rebel - 'Hitlers And Churchills'
An amazing photographer friend based in Sydney, Jake Ollett, told me about Ben Wallers (The Rebel). I hadn’t heard of him before, I had only seen the live images that Jake had taken of him performing.
I looked him up and came across his ‘Prawns’ album and that was enough for me to get very very into his work. I really love the raw power in this track in particular. The use of the drum machine and strange background noises is all over the 'Splatterpunk' EP. It almost sounds nostalgic, but i’m unsure why.
This track influenced ‘Man It Don’t Matter (What They Say)’ and ‘Goodnight Sleepwalker’.
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Girl Ray - 'Stupid Things'
I had just arrived in London in December of 2018 for the First 50 show for The Great Escape and a small run of shows with YUNO. There was this gig happening with HINDS, Sports Team and Girl Ray.
I had never seen Girl Ray perform live before. I had just come out of a relationship a couple days before I had arrived in London, so my emotions were pretty raw. As I watched Girl Ray perform, they got a couple of songs in and played ‘Stupid Things’. It was so beautiful that I was overcome with emotion and had to leave.
I went back to where I was staying and wrote a demo called ‘I Owe It All To You’ which would later become ‘You’re My Boy, Baby!’.
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Lou Reed - 'Street Hassle'
On that exact night, my manager came home after the show and watched me write and record in our living room. Afterwards we sat together in the kitchen and were showing each other some of our favourite songs.
I remember playing Jonathan Richman’s title song from ‘There’s Something About Mary’ and him showing me his favourite Ramones songs. Eventually he put on ‘Street Hassle’.
How had I missed this? I adore Lou Reed but for one reason or another I just had never come across this track. - 'Street Hassle' went on to be a huge catalyst for ‘Emerson Snowe’s Splatterpunk’. The literal story line, the string arrangement and lyrics.
"Hey that cunt’s not breathing, I think she’s had too much - of something or other, you know what I mean?"
It wasn’t until a year or so later did I find out that it’s Bruce Springsteen who has the monologue in the end, and because he was under a contract he was unable to be credited. Because of his huge catalogue of songs, each time I go back to listen to Lou Reed I discover a new favourite track that I had never heard, and that’s a pretty beautiful thing to have.
Unknowingly, most of the artists in this list aren’t massive celebrity musicians in the normal sense. What they all have in common is a constant flow of art that they all need to get out with no sense of care for what others are doing, or what they will think. They do, and did, create for themselves and that’s why I love them all.
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'Emerson Snowe's Splatterpunk' is out now.