with Aaron Snow of Landing
Bands: Landing, Surface of Eceon, Paper
Listen to “Finally” by Landing
QRD – How old were you when you first realized you wanted to be a professional musician?
Aaron – I started making music relatively late, I’d say around the age of 16. I always LOVED music & was lucky enough to be exposed to all kinds of bizarre new wave/post punk by my uncle. My first love, however, was baseball. I played ball all through high school although my love for the game had dwindled considerably & was being surpassed by my desire to learn bass & guitar. From the get go, I started writing & recording music using the “ping pong” method of overdubbing on two tape decks. After I met Adrienne (wife & bandmate in Landing/Paper) I got fully obsessed with music making. The idea of being a “professional” musician never really crossed my mind. I just needed to create!
QRD – What are a few highlights of your musical career?
Aaron – We were lucky enough to be invited to play Terrastock twice, which was awesome. Having people offer to release our music continually amazes me, but getting to meet & tour with Calvin Johnson & release records on K was pretty special. This American Life used one of our songs in an episode... we all LOVE that show. Most recently, getting to know the Geographic North Records dudes has been so great. After we semi-retired in 2006, I figured we were done. Farbod & Bobby kicked us in the butt to start making new music & I’m SO thankful.
QRD – At what age did you decide you wanted to become a father?
Aaron – I always wanted to have kids, but we got really serious about it when we were nearing the age of 30. Neither Adrienne nor I wanted to be super old parents, so turning 30 was a big reality check.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your family has had on your career?
Aaron – On the positive side, having a child has opened me up to a whole new level of love that I didn’t know existed. I feel like there is a goldmine of emotion & sentiment that is waiting to be tapped. I’m a different person for having become a parent. I’m much more patient & relaxed than I used to be, which makes the band dynamic super easy. Our priorities are different now, so we’re just having a blast creating music & performing when we get a chance. I definitely used to take things more seriously than I do now, which oftentimes led to some bitterness & resentment. That’s totally gone after having Elise (my daughter).
The negative side of it is that I don’t have the time that I used to be able to commit to music. My recording sessions are much much shorter & I can’t stay up all night getting the right guitar sound. Also, Adrienne & I can’t play shows whenever we’d like or tour as much as we’d like. We have to think about bedtimes & school & babysitters.
QRD – What are some positive & negative impacts your career has had on your family?
Aaron – It gets stressful from time to time when I’m not able to balance my parenting responsibilities with my desire to make music, but Adrienne always sets me straight. I think it’s great for Elise to see her parents being creative. We want her to feel free to be creative, so I’m glad we’re setting a positive example in that respect.
QRD – Has your daughter effected the music you make &/or listen to?
Aaron – Absolutely! Having Elise made me reminisce about my own childhood. I found myself listening to lots of Cocteau Twins, Cure, The Smiths, Lush, R.E.M., Slowdive... just classic stuff I grew up with. I wanted to introduce her to my favorite stuff & found myself wrapped up in the music of my childhood/teenage years. This absolutely rubbed off on our new music. The new Landing record is a love letter to the sounds of our youth.
QRD – Have you had problems with the lack of steady money from a musical career providing the security you feel necessary in your household?
Aaron – Lucky for us, Adrienne has a really great job. Any money we’ve made from making music (& there hasn’t been much) has been a bonus. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to have to live on the income gained from being a musician! It must be so stressful!
QRD – Given the limitations having a family has on being a touring musician, would you have toured more earlier in life if you’d known?
Aaron – Yes, I definitely would have. I wish we would have done a few more month long trips & I wish that we would have done Europe when we had the chance. I’m holding out hope that we’ll be able to tour now & then, but we certainly don’t have the freedom that we used to.
QRD – Do you think being a father or a musician has a greater impact on your community?
Aaron – I’d say being a good dad has more of an impact. If I do my job right, this little person I’m taking care of will be touching the lives of countless people. While I’m sure my music has some impact on the community (at least I hope so), it’s such a passive medium. In the best-case scenario, my kid will be out there in the world for years spreading positivity!
QRD – Would you rather see your daughter eventually become a musician or parent?
Aaron – I really don’t think a lot about it. I’m trying to give her the freedom to live the way she wants to & be happy with herself. After being raised in such an oppressive religious environment (I was raised Mormon), I struggled with guilt for not living up to their standard of manhood. I still struggle with guilt associated with the rigid gender roles, expectations, & ideology of a Mormon upbringing. My parents didn’t necessarily enforce this stuff (they were both very creative, artistic people), but it seeped in over years of indoctrination. I just know that I don’t want to force my ideas onto my child. I’ll be happy if she’s happy.
QRD – Both family & music seem like things that will take up as much of your time as you’re willing to put in. How do you end up dividing your time?
Aaron – Absolutely! I try my best to make family the top priority. Unfortunately, that means far less recording & practicing & the all night session is a thing of the past. I’ve gotten very good at putting the guitar down, even if I’d like to keep going for hours & hours!
QRD – What does your daughter think of your music?
Aaron – Elise likes our music, for the most part. Sometimes we get “too weird”.
QRD – Do you think you could ever do a musical project with your daughter?
Aaron – Sure! Why not? It’s not something I’d force though. She already kind of sounds like her mom when she sings, so I’m sure she’d be great if she decided to do it. I’ve actually sampled her singing voice & used it on the new album, but not in an obvious way.
QRD – Any words of advice to young people?
Aaron – Be happy with who you are & don’t be afraid to be creative!