EXCLUSIVE: Emerson Snowe Takes Us Through His Debut EP 'That's Rock 'N' Roll'

10 May 2019 | 11:03 am | Emerson Snowe

Emerson Snowe (real name Jarrod Mahon) today releases his debut EP, 'That’s Rock 'N' Roll'. Here, Snowe takes us through the release and shares how it came to be.

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This article discusses depression. If you are suffering from depression or need assistance, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.

That’s Rock ’n’ Roll started its recording around the end of 2017, and was finished at the end of 2018, though there was a lot of spare time in between. I had written four tracks that I really loved and seemed to fit together as a whole piece of music - as a collection. Those original tracks were: Boy In Control, If I Die, Then I Die, Could You Love Me? and Sunlight In My Room. Heavily inspired by my fascination with French pop, the way I couldn’t understand the lyrics but the music alone made me feel so many beautiful things.

These tracks, I knew, needed to all be together and they seemed to sum up my feelings at the time. Having written so many songs since 2016, I had the ability to actually go through a long list and choose only a few to be on the debut. Human, Our Home and You Say were very late additions to the EP, as Human and Our Home were written once the EP was actually mixed and mastered. The songs were taking a couple of years to be released, so I pushed for there to be a decent number of tracks to be on my debut, since the wait for people interested was taking a bit longer. 

As a whole, I still resonate with this collection of songs, I find them to be different in their own way but still seem to work well and come under the emotion that the EP was appearing (without trying) to represent - new love, self doubt and self awareness. To sum up, the EP is full of romantic songs written for a specific person, using lyrics like ‘you’ and ‘I’ a lot. It's very personable.

If I Die Then I Die

This is the oldest track of the collection and was written in 2015 - I have always been a fan of romantic pop and I wanted to create some kind of lullaby-esque track. The song was written from the title, a quote from Morrissey in an interview where he stated "Well, if I die, then I Die". I found it fascinating and related to it somewhat; that once you’re gone, you’re gone. I’ve always loved to portray songs in quite a beautiful way musically but the lyrics I write are always very literal and biographical. I think the combination of both those things is best represented on this track, it's my favourite track to end a show to. Main influences for this were Nana Grizol, Angel Olsen and Sufjan Stevens.

Boy In Control

This track was written early 2017 and is one of the many tracks I wrote around that time period that is quite literal also. About picking up my partner from the train station, feeling relief when we saw one another, yet battling my mental state to stay positive when we weren’t together. It also touches on taking medication and seeing those effects on myself. I had put off medication for depression for a long time, because I had the fear, like many, that I would lose my sense of emotions and my ‘true’ feelings. Luckily my ideas were false and in reality, they only effect that side if you let them - in my experience anyway. Boy In Control was my original name for the EP as I think as a whole it sums up the pieces quite nicely. 

Could You Love Me?

This was written in my room, like many of the others, as a way I needed to sit down and just write, which is the best way I’ve learnt to write - just doing it. This song touches on that lullaby-esque song writing, quite earnest lyrics but with an emotive musicality. It’s all quite simple and to the point which is what I was doing for every track on That’s Rock ’N’ Roll. I have always had trouble understanding how someone could feel the things for me, that I may feel for them. I think this song is the most real representation of my feelings.


Throughout the process of writing I was listening to a lot of playlists I had made. I began being truly interested in Ariel Pink’s earlier albums and Bradford Cox’s work as Atlas Sounds. This is a straight up pop song and is quite tongue in cheek to me. In some ways taking the piss out of myself, talking about quite mundane things like how ridiculous it was, me sleeping in 'til noon and not being productive at all. But look, the song came from sleeping in til noon so I guess it’s not too bad.

Our Home

My partner and I broke up before I went on my last UK trip in December 2018, and this was written when I got back from that trip, I think? It’s heavily inspired by Lou Reed’s work and I wanted it to be a very simple acoustic track. I think this may be my favourite track on this EP, the lyrics somehow are very simple but really still stick to me when I sing them at shows. "But sadness is a process if you think about it lightly, you can only quit it on your own" and "Finding another, learning to care for one another - now that’s the sweetest thing you can get" are my favourite lyrics I think I’ve ever written so far. Love is a huge thing in my life and it’s what connects us all and what pushes us. The idea that you can meet someone overnight and it can pull you in a totally different direction is fascinating. As far as you knew, this person didn’t even exist and yet the next day you are planning your life around them. Who knows.


This was written when I got home from the trip and really is quite self explanatory in the lyrics. "I feel like my father's gone, and I don’t know when mum is home", "I have these feelings in my head, that I soon will wish my death - but I don’t want to let you all down - I let you down’. I sent it to my manager one afternoon and it really affected him a lot and it became a favourite for us and the label. At this point the EP was finished as far as everyone was concerned, but we knew this needed to be on it. I’m glad it is.

You Say 

Quite a literal piece when I was house sitting my friend Millicent and Tom’s house on the Sunshine Coast. At that point, I was never a fan of the ocean or the beach and really hated that whole idea all together. Don’t know what it was but something must have been bothering me that day because I call out hippies - in a way I myself am a hippy anyway, since this life isn’t that much different then love and spreading positivity. I don’t feel that way about the beach now, so it’s all good.

Emerson Snowe is touring from Thursday 4 July, kicking off at Oxford Art Factory in Sydney before heading to Newcastle, Wollongong, Melbourne and Brisbane. Head to theGuide for all the info.