SOLO PROJECT OF SNL LEAD GUITARIST JARED SCHARFF
SHARES INTOXICATING MUSIC VIDEO FOR CINEMATIC TRACK
FROM DARK EP
EXCLUSIVELY PREMIERED WITH STEREOGUM
“…Pearl Lion, an instrumental project that brings the guitar into the twenty-first century with modern pop.” FORBES
“Lately, [Jared] Scharff has also sunk his time and resources into an artist project dubbed Pearl Lion (see the trailer in link below). “The goal is to be someone who’s creating, pushing boundaries, and doing interesting things that are still accessible.” Pearl Lion checks all those boxes, with the guitarist crafting original instrumental tracks.”
– VIDEO TRAILER PREMIERE VIA BILLBOARD
(NEW YORK, NEW YORK) – Today, Jared Scharff, lead guitarist of Saturday Night Live, releases the fast-paced official music video for his energetic instrumental track aptly titled, “NYC” under the moniker, Pearl Lion. “NYC” is off of Pearl Lion’s Dark EP. His double EP is comprised of two halves entitled Light and Dark to be released later this year. The music video features Playboy model Ashley Smith and was directed by Falling Awake Films.
Watch “NYC” Here.
Pearl Lion says of “NYC”: “It started out like many do, picking up the guitar, throwing on a fuzz pedal and out came the opening riff. Early on, after having the riff on a demo where it was just the guitars, I would listen to the track on the subway, or walking around the city, and it just felt like the perfect backdrop. That amped-up, high-intensity that only New York has. When the drum kicks in, it reminds me of the NYC mid-day grind with gridlock, people fighting to get around, the stench of garbage in the air, the sun beating off the pavement. The guitar solo with it’s stutter, glitchyness is like the frantic and scattered ideas one has when living here. The moment the intensity dies and it goes to the ambient, atmospheric section, is like when the city finally starts to fall asleep. For one instant. And then picks back up again.”
Falling Awake Films says of the video: “The concept behind “NYC” video was to explore how the city is a living organism. There are moments of purity and clarity and also moments of cynicism and anger. Casting Ashley Smith to embody the strength and vulnerability that it takes to survive in this city was very deliberate. It was very important to me to work in places that are significant to Jared’s life and his relationship to New York. We shot in Rockefeller Center, a nod to his work life at Saturday Night Live, an ice skating rink to symbolize his passion for learning to play ice hockey, and Chinatown to explore his love of traveling, food and Asian culture.”
Pearl Lion’s double EP explores Scharff’s complex and awe-inspiring guitar work. “The Light EP takes you through melody, emotion and atmosphere in the spirit of Bon Iver, Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros and Daniel Lanois, shares Scharff.” “And, the Dark EP is an onslaught of crushing riffs and modern beats, a la Justice, Rattatat and Jack White.”
Scharff’s decision to name the project Pearl Lion comes from an equally meaningful and thought-provoking place as the music does. Scharff explains, “When my grandmother was in hospice many years ago, I was able to say my last goodbye the day before she passed. She was in and out of consciousness and we knew the end was soon. The day before I left, I made her a promise that I would carry her positivity and spirit with me. Her name was Pearl. The ‘Lion’ part is a bit trickier. I met a cranial sacral massage therapist one night at a round table dinner type event. I was having issues with my shoulder and booked an appointment with her. Once I was there, I started having visions of a lion laying in a field of grass. We spoke about it and she explained that the visions were related to protecting the heart. At the time, I wasn’t creating my art and had been conflicted about that both emotionally and physically. The lion signified, to me, getting back in touch with my heart and making sure I made music I believed in.”
Born in New York City, Scharff began playing drums at an early age, honing his chops in his school’s jazz and marching bands. Scharff, of course, eventually picked up the guitar, and blossomed into a virtuosic multi-instrumentalist.
“With Pearl Lion, I am realizing my dream of making modern, emotional, guitar-focused instrumental music for the masses,” explains Scharff. “I want people to sing and feel melodies, even with the absence of vocals.”
Scharff’s influences are wide-ranging and, yet, they’ve all played a role in shaping his refreshingly unique sound. Growing up, Scharff went from being a “die-hard Metallica head,” to a devoted follower of Pearl Jam and the grunge scene, to a flailing freak for jam bands like Phish and the Dead. And, once he began writing his own music, Scharff paid special attention to distinguished singer/songwriters like Tom Petty, Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan. This eventually gave way to an obsession with pop music production and artists like Kanye, Hudson Mohawke and others. “It might be cliché so say this, but everything influences me,” offers Scharff. “I listen to everything, all the time. And, I check out Spotify’s New Music Friday every week.”
Aside from his ongoing stint as Saturday Night Live’s lead guitarist, Scharff is a member of the Sting and Trudie Rainforst Band, where he has shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, James Taylor and other industry giants. Scharff has provided session work for the likes of Bruno Mars and Sarah Barielles. Scharff’s production and writing skills have landed him major label placements including being a part of The Chainsmokers, “Until You Were Gone.”
When he isn’t immersed in music, Scharff loves playing hockey, attending local neighborhood food crawls and traveling. In fact, the video for his song “Big Sky” includes shots of the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Antelope Canyon, etc. Of the music video for “Big Sky,” The Music Ninja gave high praise to Pearl Lion: “It’s a cinematic listening experience calling on associations of both modern electronic ambient artists such as Tycho or Bonobo, yet bringing elements of more classical style guitar work, like Buckethead. Rich, textural, and enveloping layers create a soundscape that’s easily remembered, one that listeners could easily identify at a live show.”
Whether it’s through music or by traveling, Scharff is certainly putting his stamp on the universe. And, “I’m ready for the universe to hear me,” he says.