J. Alan Schneider
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J. Alan Schneider

Astoria, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF

Astoria, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2016
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter





With his debut solo EP, “Lo & Behold,” ready for a proper album-release show in a few weeks at Pianos on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, J. Alan Schneider today premieres a Proving Ground Session video for “Arkansas,” a quietly intense track that is emblematic of the music you’ll find on the 5-song release.

Understanding Schneider’s background helps give context to “Lo & Behold.” He grew up in New Hampshire, took piano lessons from his neighbor and immersed himself in both clarinet (his private teacher was the second-chair clarinet player in the New Hampshire Philharmonic, and his band director was the first chair) as well as bass guitar in a pop punk band. He studied music technology at Northeastern University in Boston, a major that included both composition and production curricula.

Highway 81 Revisited’s newest On The Rise artist, Schneider, who moved to New York for his day job as a copywriter, recently discussed the process of making the EP over drinks at The Bonnie near his place in Astoria, Queens.

“My apartment is right there,” he said, gesturing out to the Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard above-ground stop on the N and Q subway line. “You can’t really record in my apartment because every three minutes you have to wait for the train to go by. So I went down to my girlfriend’s apartment down on 30th, she is about maybe six blocks from the train, so you can’t hear it from her apartment.

“So basically I just stashed a bunch of gear in the corner of her apartment and spent the next month or so spending weekends at a time, or evenings or whatever, either when she was out of town or her roommate was out of town, just chipping away at it. There were times where I tore songs down to the ground and started them over, and I did it all myself because I wanted this record to sound like you were just listening to me in the apartment, and I think that’s what sort of comes across. You hear that room noise. In one of the songs, if you listen closely, there’s a car horn in the background, and the take was so good I had to leave it. Little bits like that.”

Schneider, who played his first solo NYC show in August at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3, also on the Lower East Side, recalled his youthful musical exploits that have set him on his current path.


“My middle school didn’t really have jocks,” he said. “If you were cool in my middle school, you were a skater or you played in a punk band. And so I picked up the bass, because that was what one of the punk bands needed, and I joined a pop punk band. We played the requisite Green Day, Blink 182 and that’s when I first started songwriting, because I was the one in the band that was able to write songs.”

The acoustic guitar, now his primary instrument as a folk artist, was initially a tool for songwriting in the punk band. Later, during and after his Northeastern years, he’d play in Boston-based pop punk outfit Jet Black Sunrise. Now, his listening, while diverse, veers more toward artists like Bon Iver, Anais Mitchell, Milk Carton Kids, the Nickel Creek/Punch Brothers projects, The Staves and Nathaniel Rateliff.

The Pianos set is part of a 5-date run, the rest of it through New England: one show each in Boston, Burlington, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

“It’s just sort of my way of getting my feet with this record, before I put together a more substantial tour,” said Schneider. “Right now I’m just sort of focused on the shows right now. … I think new artists, there’s often a mistake that you release a record and then try to push that record down the world’s throat for months and months and months and months. I don’t even have anything to offer but this record right now. I just launched it two months ago. So I’m still like pretty brand new. So I need to fill out my catalog. So I think, probably early 2017, I’ll get back in and try to record some new songs.”

Video filmed at Fort Hancock in New Jersey by Derek Springsteen (derekspringsteenphoto.com). Directed, edited, and shot by: Derek Springsteen

J. Alan Schneider will perform at Pianos (158 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002) Saturday, Oct. 8. His set is at 7 p.m. 21 and over.

For more information on J. Alan Schneider, visit his website or Facebook page. - Highway 81 Revisited

"Artist of the Week: J. Alan Schneider"

Introducing our artist of the week. J. Alan Schneider. The New York based artist has just released his debut EP Lo & Behold and it deserves your ears. After years playing in indie, and pop rock acts Lo & Behold signals his arrival as a solo indie folk recording artist.

The debut 7 track collection was self produced, performed, recorded, mixed and mastered with the help of his girlfriend Julie. This living room recorded EP rewards listeners with an immediate sense of intimacy, this is music at it’s most honest.

Lead single Behold is inspired by a friend who just can’t settle. The verses explore the loneliness that comes with independence.

The EP contains a mixture of songs written and collected in the last few years alongside brand new tracks. J. Alan Schneider describes ‘Benchmarks’ (Track 6) as one the of the most personally special. The lyrics were originally written on a bench in New York City as the sun came up. They are inspired by the large number of people that had left their mark via carvings on the bench. This led to an observation about the amazing people in his life and how he doesn’t thank them enough for the marks they have left on him. It’s a beautiful metaphor that everyone should relate to.

Listen out for track 5 Arkansas on this week’s episode of our Lost On Radio Podcast and follow J. Alan Schneider on Facebook to keep updated with live tour plans. - Richt Chord Music

"Spotify Fresh Finds Six String, August 2016"

"Arkansas" was chosen for Spotify's weekly Fresh Finds Six Strings playlist, straight from the Spotify tastemakers and editorial curation team. - Spotify

"Flying Solo: An Interview with J. Alan Schneider"

Inspired by his childhood love for writing pop-punk songs, New York's newest indie-folk artist J. Alan Schneider began exploring the likes of Bob Dylan and other folk, Americana greats and fell in love... - Sound, Phrase & Fury

"j. alan schneider - lo & behold"

j. alan schneider is a singer/songwriter from new york city. his latest album, 'lo & behold' is full of emotionally rich, personal, whispery jams with some intricate fingerstyle accompaniment. modern heartbreak-folk. - The Modern Folk Music of America

"In Love With J. Alan Schneider"

Der Mann mit der Gitarre. Einst ein Kunstwerk von Pablo Picasso, jetzt ein Künstler aus New York City. J. ALAN SCHNEIDER ist der Mann mit der Gitarre und die beiden sollte man niemals trennen. Es ist eine sehr angenehme Beziehung zwischen den beiden. Der eine kann wahrscheinlich auch nicht ohne den anderen und das hört man.

Sein Debüt LO & BEHOLD sollte einen ganz besondere Charme erhalten, deshalb entschied sich J. gegen eine Studioaufnahme und nahm die Platte in einem Appartement auf. Bei uns erzeugt es Lagerfeuer Stimmung. Wir würden uns gerne J. schnappen, ihm durch die Haare wuscheln und mit ihm durch die Staaten düsen. Ein Radio bräuchten wir nicht, nur J. und seine Gitarre.

Songs wie ARKANSAS unterstreichen unser Roadtrip-Vorhaben. Und bei Songs wie BEHOLD oder BENCHMARKS sehen wir uns ganz groß am Lagerfeuer sitzend. Die Vorbilder von J. Alan Schneider sind zweifelsohne The Tallest Man On Earth oder Ben Howard. Das zeigen auch die PROVING GROUND SESSIONS, gedreht von Derek Springsteen auf einem alten Militär Gelände in New Jersey.

Wir sind froh J. ALAN SCHNEIDER euch vorstellen zu dürfen und würden uns über intime Auftritte von ihm in Deutschland freuen. - We Love That


Following the release of J. Alan Schneider’s debut solo album ‘Lo & Behold’, we managed to ask him a few questions about his music and how he feels about it:

Mytacism Music: As an introduction to new listeners, how would you describe yourself and your music?

J. Alan Schneider: On the surface, I’m a folk artist — influences ranging from classics like Simon & Garfunkel to modern artists like the Tallest Man on Earth. But I also spent my formative years (like, high school) listening to pop/punk like Alkaline Trio and Saves the Day. Somehow that all blends into my sound.... - Mytacism Music

"Interview: J. Alan Schneider"

Home / Music / Artist Interviews / INTERVIEW: J. Alan Schneider
INTERVIEW: J. Alan Schneider
RJ Frometa 3 weeks ago Artist Interviews Leave a comment 19 Views

Hi J, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks for having me! Just gearing up for some Northeast dates to support my new album, and I’m really excited about all the positive feedback I’ve been hearing for the record itself.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Behold”?

“Behold” is kind of the song that pushed my motivation over the edge to actually sit down and record this debut EP. I wrote it in the backyard of my childhood home in NH (was up visiting my folks one weekend) and, both lyrically and musically, it really speaks to exactly the message I’m trying to deliver right now.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Without diving too much into literal interpretation, I wrote this song about a friend of mine who’s always moving on to the next thing. I think we all have a friend or two who seems to love bouncing around from relationship to job to travel and back again, never settling in one place. So the verses depict the lonesomeness that come with being that independent. But the refrain of the song keeps coming back to the concept that, even though this person has that freedom, they’re watching the world go by without them.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

I don’t think I’m planning to release a music video at all for this record, at least not in the traditional sense. I do have a bunch of really awesome session videos I performed that were beautifully shot by my friend Derek Springsteen, a wonderful photographer and designer based in NYC. We hopped a ferry one day from Midtown and headed to Fort Hancock near Atlantic Highlands in NJ… it’s this really old abandoned fort. We posted up, recorded some songs with a really basic production team (including Derek’s brother Drew and my girlfriend Julie) and I’m super proud of them. You can see them on my YouTube channel.

The single comes off your new album Lo & Behold – what’s the story behind the title?

Well the title of the album comes from the lyrics in “Behold” which I explained a little bit in your other question. But the double meaning there is that this is my entrance into the music world as an indie folk recording artist. I’ve played in bands since high school, mostly indie and pop rock acts. So this album title is sort of the literal call to people to say “hey! this is my music now.”

How was the recording and writing process?

Some of these songs are as old as three or four years. While others (like “Arkansas” and “Benchmarks”) I wrote in the process of recording the album. I made a concerted effort to make this record entirely by myself. I produced, performed, recorded, mixed, and mastered it all on my own, with the help of my girlfriend Julie. Her apartment is further away from NY’s elevated N-train than mine is… so I actually recorded most of it there, pushing that space (and Julie’s patience) to the limits. I think it made for a very honest record… one that sounds like a folk album should — just a dude with an instrument in a living room.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I’ve been playing music since I was five (lived next door to a piano teacher), and I’ve been writing songs and composing music since I was about 12/13. So, that’s sort of my comfort zone: a guitar and a notepad. Each song on the record has its own story, but I think the one that’s most special to me is “Benchmarks”. I wrote the initial lyrics on a crumpled up napkin in my pocket, sitting on a bench in NYC as the sun came up (was just getting home from a late night). I was really sort of transfixed by the carvings on the bench i was sitting on, amazed at just how many people had literally left there mark on this huge city I live in. And it got me reflecting on all the amazing people I have in my life and how I don’t thank them enough for the marks they leave for me.

Any plans to hit the road?

Yup! Other than a local show or two in NY, I have about 5 dates coming up in October to celebrate the physical release of my record. I’ll be hitting everywhere from Burlington, VT to Boston to my home market, NYC.

What else is happening next in J. Alan Schneider’s world?

I’ve got some really cool stuff coming up after the tour, too! I’m putting together some limited merch with some local artists, and I’m playing some songwriting showcases in early 2016. But, mostly, I’m just excited to keep writing tunes and keep meeting new people. Music connects people, and at the end of the day, that’s all I really want to do. - Vents Magazine

"J. Alan Schneider of Jet Black Sunrise Release Solo Debut 'Lo & Behold'"

J. Alan Schneider of Jet Black Sunrise is stepping out on his own with the release of his debut solo album titled "Lo & Behold". The folk tinged effort is a welcome change of pace from the music he normally played with his other band, and harnesses all his creative energy into something that is mystifying and downright incendiary as his mellow, amber filled voice permeates strongly throughout his music, and begins a transformation of sorts into a more than confident performer capable of switching musical hats on a dime. I've had the opportunity to see Jay perform several times in concert with Jet Black Sunrise, and it's just awe inspiring to see him step out on his own and do something a little different from his other band and develop his own musical identity that is beginning to take shape right now as we speak. What's even more impressive about his transformation is how confident he is from a outsiders perspective, and how he doesn't flinch at a chance to carve out a name for himself and develop into the performer that he always wanted to be. A welcome debut that is most certainly worthy of a listen.

For more on J. Alan Schneider, please give him a well deserved 'Like' on his Facebook page conveniently located over here, and check out his official homepage for more in depth info right here, and don't forget to check out "Lo & Behold" now available for your listening pleasure on Spotify at this perch here. - Music Box Pete


Lo & Behold (2016)



New York City is a loud place. Trains & planes, sidewalk arguments & rooftop celebrations -- it's one big rumbling concrete ecosystem. And it made recording Lo & Behold, the debut EP from NH-born, NYC-based folk singer J. Alan Schneider, a real challenge. To achieve an honest album, not sterilized by studio silence, but not muddied by city swells, he had to relocate to graciously lent apartments that were more insulated than his own from Astoria, NY's elevated N-train. The result? An apartment recording that sounds like, well, you're sitting in an NYC apartment.

Lo & Behold is available now at all digital outlets.

Band Members