For anyone who is unfamiliar with Saturday Night Live (SNL), think of it this way: SNL is to the United States what The Last Leg is to the United Kingdom, as they both deliver on sharp humour and the occasional political commentary. SNL is a sketch show recorded in front of a live studio audience and has been on air since the 1970s behind its fearless leader and comedy juggernaut Lorne Michaels. Featuring a celebrity guest host every week, the show is made up of random sketches, some of which are recurring, while others are one-offs. The host acts in the sketches along with the show’s regular cast.
The legendary show has had a multitude of hosts in its 800-episode run, ranging from Tom Hanks to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The show has also been known to feature the best of what the music industry has to offer and evidently so, as the likes of Kanye West, Jack White, Elvis Costello, Arcade Fire, U2, and Taylor Swift have all graced the stage of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. This is why it isn’t really surprising to find out that one of the show’s in-house band members is a rather respected and influential figure in the music industry, too.
Meet Jared Scharff, who started his SNL career back in 2007 but had played guitar for the band Carbondale, who were signed to RCA Records. Coincidentally, this was the time when the music industry was particularly tumultuous, and Carbondale was unfortunately dropped after debuting their first album Cause 7 Ate 9. Jared has been on SNL ever since. It’s been a little over a decade, which is pretty astonishing, considering he never had to go through a formal audition. Apparently, SNL band leader Leny Pickett just asked him to hang out. A week after that, he got the gig.
These days, Jared has been working on his solo project under the name Pearl Lion, and is gearing up to release dual EPs Light and Dark sometime in late 2019. More recently, Jared has collaborated with boutique pedal brand Walrus Audio on one of their newer pedals, the Kangra Filter Fuzz. The Kangra Filter Fuzz was designed especially for this ‘fuzz-obsessed guitarist’, drawing inspiration from Scharff’s favourite vintage fuzz pedal, the Kay Fuzz Tone. “On the filter, I wanted to go for that vintage mpc 3000 low pass type of thing,” Scharff shares. “Or similar to doing a low pass plug-in for a track, or like a dj would do without it being too ‘wah pedal’ like, and this achieved that.”
Now, it’s always great when musicians collaborate with brands, as they tend to not only know what they want, but also how to make little tweaks that make a world of difference. The pedal’s independent fuzz channel gives you those gnarly splatty tones in its vintage mode, but also gives you the option of a more stable octave sound when set on modern mode. Where this pedal shines is the envelope filter function, which was added to enhance that signature fuzz tone. There really is no better match, and if you listen to any of the songs under the Pearl Lion project, a lot of them have those splatty tones that only a good fuzz pedal can give you.