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Harriet Slept With Your Mom | An Interview with Alex Casnoff

We were fortunate enough to sit down and chat with Alex from one of the most exciting bands of 2012, Harriet.  Check out what he had to say about branching off on his own, Jeff Tweedy and James Murphy’s love child, and sleeping with your mom.

1. Tell us how Harriet came together?

I had started writing all of these songs (on the upcoming EP) around the beginning of this year.  I had been playing with a few other people, and had been jamming with Darren (drummer from PAPA) on them.  I knew Darren was super committed to PAPA so I decided to give my brother a call, who then introduced me to a friend of his who eventually became the drummer.  I got in touch with Aaron, who I had been going to school with since kindergarten, to play bass, and called up Sean O’ Brian to play on the tracks as well.

2. You’ve been in both PAPA and Dawes, did you always know you wanted to strike off on your own or was this a realization after each project?

I loved playing piano, and trying to see what I could add to the songs from a piano-playing perspective.  Ultimately I was more connected to writing and lyrics, and in way I always felt like I was playing piano from a song-writers perspective.  I would always ask myself how I could help get the message that Taylor (Dawes) or Darren (PAPA) wanted to come across in the songs, through my piano playing.

When I wrote the songs for Harriet, I knew I wanted to do something with them, I wanted to make them the main focus.  I was debating between a solo or group project, and in the end I really like the gang mentality or group feel of a band.

3. Where does the name Harriet come from?

It’s my grandmothers name.  Both PAPA and Dawes are named after their grandfather, so I thought I’d flip the tradition and name it after my grandmother!  You know, pay tribute to the other side.  Actually my mom suggested it at first and I laughed it off, but then it kind of stuck.

4. If Harriet is the love child between two bands, what two bands are they?

Wilco and LCD Soundsystem.


5.  Debut single, “I Slept With All Your Mothers” has perhaps the most striking title of the year, what’s it really all about?

It’s a break up song.  It’s about complicated feelings, it’s like a playground, childish insult.  Ya know, it’s like saying “I fucked your mom,” it’s something you don’t necessarily mean, but you can’t help but say.  It a relationship where people on both sides were saying that sort of thing, along with feelings of guilt, and anger, and sadness, and nostalgia.
Harriet “I Slept With All Your Mothers” by HarrietMusic

6. Tell us about the recording process of your upcoming EP Tell The Right Story on 1/31?

We recorded most of it in Sacramento at a place called The Hanger, and then the bass and drums at Infrasonic.  We rented out The Hanger and basically lived there.  We would make lots of runs to Traders Joes, always stocking the fridge, and would then record from like 2PM to 9AM.  We became zombies, recording all night, screaming, loud guitars, vocals.  I think it was the last day we had driven back from Sacramento to L.A. on no sleep at all…safe hah.


Alex in studio

7. What does the band have coming up?

We’re playing a bunch of shows around LA, and hopefully will make it out to SXSW.  I’d love to go back in the studio soon, as we are already playing new songs at these shows.  Well, I guess all the songs are new to the audience, but new songs even to us.

8.  Finish this sentence – “You know Harriet’s made it when…”

When I can stop singing and still hear the words

9. As you look to play more shows, hopefully head out on the road at some point, build your perfect bill to play on

I would love to play with Arcade Fire, Tame Impala, and Robyn.


10. As the year wrapped up, what was your favorite albums of the year?

I’d say my favorite album of the year was The Weeknd.  I love the production, and the idea of melding genres, the idea that we are kind of in a post genre era.  I’m usually not a huge fan of R&B but I love what The Weeknd and Frank Ocean are doing with it.  I loved loved loved about half of the James Blake record.  Oh, and St. Vincent, Strange Mercy, I saw her live and it absolutely blew me away.


11.  What’s your New Years resolution?

To get a job.  To make Harriet a job.  To bring Harriet to a point where I don’t need a job.

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