Jackson Klarsfeld ’21 has always had a passion for the visual arts. Experimenting with photography, videography and graphic design, he quickly turned to musical production. Marist College alumni had been making music since he was a freshman. He created a number of music videos with Red Fox Films and the Silver Fox Awards, but Klarsfeld still wasn’t sure if music was something he could pursue professionally.
“Whenever people asked me, I said ‘yes, I want to do music forever’, but I didn’t really think I could do that.” This mindset changed for Klarsfeld upon the release of Red lights at midnighthis debut album released in 2020. It was then that the then-Marist student knew that music was something he could seriously pursue.
Following the release of her debut album, Klarsfeld, also known as Retrograded to her listeners, released a number of singles in 2021 such as “Af1s” and “Ur Favorite Tune”. On February 25, Klarsfeld released his EP Think of me which consists of three songs: “Sunday Coffee”, “Stars” and “Think of Me”. For the young artist, it is important for him to create music that does not just add to already existing trends for the sole purpose of going viral. On the contrary, he uses his music to tell stories; those that are personal to him. He not only tells these stories through his songs, but also through his music videos. “All the music videos that I’m going to release for the next few weeks, I just took a digital camera with me everywhere I went and it sort of organically made it all happen.”
his album Red lights at midnight was written over a period of four to five months, which allowed his songs to tell his story during those months. Klarsfeld’s songs on the EP were written at different times, however. The song “Sunday Coffee” was written in early 2020, but was eventually put on the back burner for two years. Although they were all written at such different times, they still convey a common theme. For Klarsfeld, that message is: “Sometimes things won’t make sense right away and if you take a step back, you’ll figure it out eventually.”
When it comes to his creative process, Klarsfeld doesn’t see himself as a musician who has a structured routine. Instead, he produces and writes as he goes, which ultimately leads him to a unique creation. In his eyes, it’s like putting together a puzzle.
Once Klarsfeld’s music began to increase in flow, worries about who was going to listen to his music were a common thought in his head. This ultimately led to the Marist graduate not posting anything of significance in 2021. However, the mindset quickly changed: “It’s more about doing things for myself without thinking of others that I’ve decided to prioritize,” he said.
The California-born artist who is now based in New York just started playing gigs at Mercury Lounge and Berlin Under A. He also headlined his first gig in late February. For Klarsfeld, he thinks he’s gotten his foot in the door, but he’s not actively looking for a label. “Right now I’m just having fun making music and making videos and I have a lot of people supporting me, so it’s not something I’m worried about.”
Ultimately, the music Klarsfeld writes is for himself; it’s his own personal outing. “It’s an outlet for me to share my thoughts with other people and I hope people can connect with those things that I’m thinking about.” As Klarsfeld enters the daunting world of the music industry, Think of me is his first serious undertaking in this field. And as long as his music stays true to who it is and continues to share the stories it wants to tell, he won’t be stopping anytime soon.