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The long-awaited return of the Snodgrass

Rocket From the Crypt web lackey’s decades long slumber

Jordan Snodgrass, starting again halfway through.
Jordan Snodgrass, starting again halfway through.

“My debut album was lost to the unforgiving digital gods due to a fried hard drive in 2001, so I’ve come out of a 20-year slumber to start making music again,” says Jordan Snodgrass, whose “second debut record” drops May 6. The electronic-experimental musician, once half of the IDM duo Calculator Man & Hangar, describes himself as “a San Diego music nerd, former record label boss, former Rocket From the Crypt web lackey, and dumb Twitter guy.”

Recorded live in a North Park studio last year under the name The Snodgrass, his Styloid Process EP was mastered by Jason Begin (Vytear, Author & Punisher), with sleeve artwork by longtime record label collaborator and Tijuana/San Diego artist Acamonchi, who also designed a video for the single “Cistern.” “He did all our Imputor Records show posters and flyers back in the day. File [the EP] under all of the usual clichés; midlife crisis, global pandemic, boredom, time, WWIII, privilege, blah blah blah, all of it, it’s all true. The EP is kind of all over the place. It’s raw and lo-fi and messy and sad and happy and introspective and triumphant and bouncy and a bit silly. Not that different from life, I guess.”

Snodgrass is a San Diego native who graduated UCSD with a degree in cognitive science and a specialization in computation. “Rather than spending those four years getting toasted and mastering hacky sack, I spent them researching the effects of monotonous drum beats on brainwaves.” He’s remixed recordings by local stars such as Tristeza (their Mixed Signals album) and songs by Via Satellite (“Cliff”), and Ilya (“Isola”). But he found himself embarking on an unplanned “retirement” after a 2005 label showcase and the end of his long-running Friends Chill DJ event at South Park’s Whistle Stop. “My hard drive got fried and I lost the entirety of my first debut album, which I had been working on for a couple years. Back then, it was pretty rare to have a backup system in place, so it was just gone. That took a lot of the wind out of my sails.”

There were other factors as well. “I think that, at the time I first started, there was a lot of exciting stuff happening musically in San Diego in general, and that sort of fueled the continuation of it, like a feedback loop, but it just sort of faded away as time went on. I was spending a lot of time booking and promoting shows around town, and less and less people started showing up, so it just started not being worth it anymore. The label [Imputor] I ran with my buddy Darrin had some traction, but it was during an odd time in the music industry. Things were going well, then the iPod became a household item, and we ended up with thousands of thousands of physical CDs and vinyl records sitting in boxes in our garages gathering dust. Darrin moved to Europe, and it just kind of faded away.”

But early 2020 found him rethinking his long-term plans. “You know, with the global pandemic and all, not being able to travel or even go out for beers with friends, that combined with my daughter getting older and becoming more independent, I was just able to pick up some new hobbies. Getting back into music was like reconnecting with an old friend…I grabbed up a few cheap synths and effects units and started building a rudimentary studio. Spent a bunch of time just re-learning everything. It was fun again. Like so many others, I ended up going down the modular rabbit hole, and that’s just infinite discovery and excitement. Every piece of gear is a new expertise you need to learn. I made the conscious decision to go with all hardware. I stare at a monitor and use a keyboard and mouse all day for my job, so the last thing I want to do in the evening or weekends is continue doing that. So this is different from the stuff I was doing 20 years ago, which was all on a desktop tower, using software, clicking around on buttons on a screen. I had a curiosity to learn how to use all these hardware synths and analog mixers that I never really used in the past. I wanted to challenge myself to figure it all out.”

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Jordan Snodgrass, starting again halfway through.
Jordan Snodgrass, starting again halfway through.

“My debut album was lost to the unforgiving digital gods due to a fried hard drive in 2001, so I’ve come out of a 20-year slumber to start making music again,” says Jordan Snodgrass, whose “second debut record” drops May 6. The electronic-experimental musician, once half of the IDM duo Calculator Man & Hangar, describes himself as “a San Diego music nerd, former record label boss, former Rocket From the Crypt web lackey, and dumb Twitter guy.”

Recorded live in a North Park studio last year under the name The Snodgrass, his Styloid Process EP was mastered by Jason Begin (Vytear, Author & Punisher), with sleeve artwork by longtime record label collaborator and Tijuana/San Diego artist Acamonchi, who also designed a video for the single “Cistern.” “He did all our Imputor Records show posters and flyers back in the day. File [the EP] under all of the usual clichés; midlife crisis, global pandemic, boredom, time, WWIII, privilege, blah blah blah, all of it, it’s all true. The EP is kind of all over the place. It’s raw and lo-fi and messy and sad and happy and introspective and triumphant and bouncy and a bit silly. Not that different from life, I guess.”

Snodgrass is a San Diego native who graduated UCSD with a degree in cognitive science and a specialization in computation. “Rather than spending those four years getting toasted and mastering hacky sack, I spent them researching the effects of monotonous drum beats on brainwaves.” He’s remixed recordings by local stars such as Tristeza (their Mixed Signals album) and songs by Via Satellite (“Cliff”), and Ilya (“Isola”). But he found himself embarking on an unplanned “retirement” after a 2005 label showcase and the end of his long-running Friends Chill DJ event at South Park’s Whistle Stop. “My hard drive got fried and I lost the entirety of my first debut album, which I had been working on for a couple years. Back then, it was pretty rare to have a backup system in place, so it was just gone. That took a lot of the wind out of my sails.”

There were other factors as well. “I think that, at the time I first started, there was a lot of exciting stuff happening musically in San Diego in general, and that sort of fueled the continuation of it, like a feedback loop, but it just sort of faded away as time went on. I was spending a lot of time booking and promoting shows around town, and less and less people started showing up, so it just started not being worth it anymore. The label [Imputor] I ran with my buddy Darrin had some traction, but it was during an odd time in the music industry. Things were going well, then the iPod became a household item, and we ended up with thousands of thousands of physical CDs and vinyl records sitting in boxes in our garages gathering dust. Darrin moved to Europe, and it just kind of faded away.”

But early 2020 found him rethinking his long-term plans. “You know, with the global pandemic and all, not being able to travel or even go out for beers with friends, that combined with my daughter getting older and becoming more independent, I was just able to pick up some new hobbies. Getting back into music was like reconnecting with an old friend…I grabbed up a few cheap synths and effects units and started building a rudimentary studio. Spent a bunch of time just re-learning everything. It was fun again. Like so many others, I ended up going down the modular rabbit hole, and that’s just infinite discovery and excitement. Every piece of gear is a new expertise you need to learn. I made the conscious decision to go with all hardware. I stare at a monitor and use a keyboard and mouse all day for my job, so the last thing I want to do in the evening or weekends is continue doing that. So this is different from the stuff I was doing 20 years ago, which was all on a desktop tower, using software, clicking around on buttons on a screen. I had a curiosity to learn how to use all these hardware synths and analog mixers that I never really used in the past. I wanted to challenge myself to figure it all out.”

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