Recently we got the opportunity to interview Jared Scharff. Jared is a guitarist on Saturday Night Live, has performed on stage with many amazing acts, plays guitar on albums including Sara Bareilles’ Waitress, and has a solo project known as Pearl Lion.
Check out our interview below with Jared!
upfrontNY: What has music meant to you throughout your career?
Jared Scharff: Music is the one thing that has a complete grip on my spirit and soul. It’s everything to me. Whether it was rocking out in garage bands as a kid, playing on SNL for 9 seasons and counting, or sharing the stage with insanely talented people like Mick Jagger, Elton John, etc it’s always equally thrilling. There’s nothing else in the world like it.
upfrontNY: What has been the best part of being a guitarist for Saturday Night Live?
Jared Scharff: Besides playing with the best late night band on television AND getting to watch SNL every Saturday? I’ve been very fortunate to land this job and every show is way too much fun. I grew up watching SNL and being in awe of it so there’s a lot of “pinch me” moments.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about Pearl Lion?
Jared Scharff:Pearl Lion is my artist project. I’ve dreamt of making a modern, instrumental record my entire life and this is the result. It takes influences from all of the genres and things I’ve been into since playing music. Modern-day beatmaker influences, Pop music love, classic rock and jam band upbringing all rolled into a unique package. I think it’s very accessible for an instrumental project. There are two mini-albums coming out “Light/Dark”. Polar opposites but from the same artist. One you can throw on while walking around NYC at night, thinking about life, enjoying the scenery and the other you can throw on to get super amped and go do something exciting 😉
upfrontNY: The music video for “Alpha4” is a great and interesting video mixed with live action and animated shots. What has it been like to see it come together the way it has?
Jared Scharff: It was a constantly evolving project. I had the initial idea to do the IRL and animation thing and definitely had an image of what the video would like in my head. Of course, that was dismantled immediately once we started shooting! Every step in the video making process took on a new look, feel, etc. It was so exciting to see the first animatic overlay on the live action. And once FOX ADHD sent us the first animated draft my mind was blown. The team that worked on this video was extraordinary and I am so effin proud of this vid.
upfrontNY: In the beginning of the video, the objective is : To Have a great day. What does a great day look like for you?
Jared Scharff: Finally trying a Dominique Ansel Cronut!! Sort of kidding, mostly true. But for real, any day I get to be creative, especially making music is the key for me. And if I can do that with people I love to be around, that makes the day truly special.
upfrontNY: You have performed and worked with so many musicians. Has there been one experience that has stood out in your mind?
Jared Scharff: I’ve been a member of the Sting Rainforest Benefit show House Band for the past 6 or so years. That alone has brought some wild musical experiences. Nile Rodgers was the other guitarist in the band my first couple of years. That dude is phenomenal. But everyone already knows that! The one experience that comes to mind though was during the encore of my first Rainforest show. We played Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and for the guitar solo Sting asked me to come up front for it (this was at Carnegie Hall). So I go up and start rocking the solo and on autopilot I just assumed the back to back rock guitar position with Sting. So there I was, shredding back to back with Sting while we were next to Elton John, Debbie Harry, Lady Gaga and Bruce Springsteen. That was insane.
upfrontNY: What do you want people to know about you and your music?
Jared Scharff: I want people to know that this is the music I’ve wanted to make my whole life and that every drop of blood, sweat and tears has been poured into this. Cliché, yes, but it’s true. I’d also like them to let the music take them on their own journey, let the music wash over them and affect their emotions. The music that are on these mini-albums affect me and that’s why these songs have made the album. I’m hoping they will do the same for everyone else.
-New York City-
Number 1 Favorite thing about NYC- I love being able to walk around with headphones on and get to where I need to go. There’s something about listening to music on a subway train.
Favorite Restaurant- There are way to many to pick. I wrote an article for Matador Network called “Ten Places Real New Yorkers Eat”. There are 2 parts to it. That has a lot of my go-to spots for sure. But right now, my favorite place to eat is at Los Tacos No. 1. I go every week after playing Hockey at Chelsea Piers. Their food is like crack to me. For the record, I’ve never had crack.
Favorite Season in the city – It’s always those 2 weeks when we have Spring. It’s cold, then it’s Spring for two weeks, then it’s hot as nuts. But that in between period when everyone is so happy to be outside and all the ladies are in those adorable sundresses and things…That’s the best.
Favorite Music Venue – Without a doubt Rockwood Music Hall. I spend way too much time there. It’s just the best vibe. Great music, great décor, friends. It’s the Cheers of NYC for me. While we are on the subject of music venue, I do want to add that my dream venue to play is Beacon Theatre. One day!