Harriet’s Alex Casnoff: Always in Process, the Product is Dead
Who: Alex Casnoff, I sing and play in the band Harriet
Where he was born: New York City at Roosevelt Hospital
Where he lives now: Los Angeles
What he does: Musician
Harriet perform “American Appetite”
I write songs, and make things. I sing and play keyboard and guitar in Harriet. I take an acting class every Monday night. I make videos. I press all the buttons on Photoshop. I have rewritten the first twenty pages to the same script at least 15 times. I just try to stretch myself wherever I can. Other than that, it’s all detective work. Just trying to find as much inspiring stuff to look at, feel, and hear.
How he captures ideas:
For lyrics, I carry a notebook around with me everywhere. I’m constantly writing things down. I catch ideas all the time, whether it’s something I overhear at dinner or something I read. It usually takes a long time to actually express what I catch though. With songs, sometimes they have years’ worth of drafts before they get recorded. I never throw things away. I’m a strong believer in the process. I’ve never been the kind of artist where my first draft, or my first take, is the best. I need to warm-up. I need to stretch. It’s all in the rewrite.
His most recent artistic reference:
I just saw Randy Newman play solo at Royce Hall, and it became pretty clear to me, again, that he’s my biggest influence as a songwriter. Not really musically, but lyrically. I’m not as funny as he is, but his love for unreliable narrators in his songs is something I can’t really get away from in mine. I think it comes from my love of screenwriting and film, since a character can mean a million things when they say “I love you” (i.e. I love you., I hate you., pass the salt). I think without that stuff between the lines, most songs are boring and it would be hard for me to play every night on tour over and over again.
If he were a sound:
The little reverb piano-chord-hit from the verse of “Your Precious Love” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
He believes in:
I believe that on any given night, if you have two options, always choose the one that has the potential for the better story.
There’s too much, and too little of:
There is too much noise and not enough communication.
If he could see a social disruption:
Just please stop believing everything you read on Facebook. I don’t get why people don’t ask questions anymore. They just swallow their fast food without chewing and shit it all back out. Everything’s become so easy that no one is actually interested in anything, it’s all just washing over us.
Something great he’s read:
Last book I loved was The Cartel. Intensely violent and scary that, that shit actually was going on. I don’t recommend it, but I started exploring the narco blogs after I finished it, and it’s just filled with photos and stories that give you nightmares. Just fucking get rid of the guns and Legalize Las drogas.
Something great he’s seen:
I watched Sleepless in Seattle last Sunday with our manager in NYC. We bought 4 coconut waters, a bag of kettle corn, and a box of dark chocolate cookies. We wrapped ourselves in blankets and couldn’t stop smiling. You’d have to be heartless not to feel the feelings in this movie. At the end of the day; I love a good rom-com as much as I love the rugs in The Color of Pomegranates. The movie is just so undeniably romantic and funny. Meg Ryan is so hot. Tom Hanks is in his prime. And the way they never really meet until the last scene is genius. What could be better than that on a cold Sunday night in NYC…. Maybe, potentially, only… Moonstruck. But it’s a close call.
All the members of The Traveling Wilburys, but never The Traveling Wilburys. Also, can’t stop listening to the new Adele song, her voice is a magical beautiful bell. I want her to sing me to sleep every night.
Alex’s WILD Wish:
My wish for myself and all of my very talented friends, is to never stop scaring ourselves. I think we can handle more than the leap we’ve taken. Complacency is the same as dying. Let’s push ourselves, let’s inspire each other. I want us all to be brave enough to be terrible, and comfortable with the fact that we will always be in “process.” Product is something that’s dead already. Push. AND… legalize the drugs 🙂