Romantic Funk: An Interview of Harriet Brown by Astronauts, Etc.'s Anthony Ferraro

Ahead of their national tour, which kicks off tomorrow night at Club Bahia in Los Angeles, Autre has exclusively premiered Harriet Brown's cover of the Astronauts, Etc. track "I Know." Helmed by Oakland-based musician and songwriter Anthony Ferraro, Astronauts, Etc. was a bedroom project that blossomed and found him playing in places like Tokyo and Australia. Ferraro also found himself in the role as touring keyboardist for Toro y Moi and is close friends with singer Chazwick Bundick. The track covered by Harriet Brown, an up-and-coming Los Angeles based musical artist, can be found on Astronauts, Etc.'s latest album Mind Out Wandering on the Hit City U.S.A imprint. In the following short interview Anthony Ferraro talks to Harriet Brown about the unique rendition of his song, the responsibility of music, Sade and more. 

Anthony Ferraro: Can you give us a brief description of the parallel universe that you pulled this cover out of?

Harriet Brown: A glass of red wine. Late, quiet nights on the beach in southern Mexico, ocean waves accompanied by the muted thump of bass drifting in the air from the half-empty reggaeton clubs down the shore. 

Ferraro: What is one responsibility of your music?

Brown: Sending a transmission out to beings and places (geographical/emotional/spiritual) I might not otherwise be able to reach, and hopefully in the process communicating at least little bits of truth with which others can resonate. 

Ferraro: Would it be at all accurate to say that Harriet Brown represents your anima?

Brown: Sure, in some way, but Harriet Brown is also just me, subconscious or not. Although I guess my anima has never been very closeted to begin with.

Ferraro: Who is your biggest woman hero?

Brown: Sade.

Ferraro: We met in music class around four years ago and were both making very different music back then. On a scale from free will to determinism, how much agency would you say you’ve had over the direction your music has taken? I.e. how inevitable was it that Harriet Brown would become what Harriet Brown now is?

Brown: I think it was 100% inevitable, but still up to myself to undo the latch and allow Harriet Brown to emerge in full. The seed had been planted as a boy, but I had at one point become ashamed of the desire to express myself with such bold, deliberate, passionate, careful intention. That time has passed, and I’ve never felt more true and natural about making music, and really just about myself as a person, than I do now. 

Ferraro: What is the main reason you have to be optimistic about the future of music?

Brown: Humans love music — it’s everywhere you go, even in the most sterile of places. The industry is always changing, always with both pros and cons, but regardless, we humans continue to desire music, and I don’t think that desire will ever die. 

Click here to purchase tickets to see Harriet Brown and Astronauts, Etc. at Club Bahia. Click here to listen to the cover of I Know. Follow Autre on Instagram: @AUTREMAGAZINE