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Nourished By Time | Be Still, Moon, and Let the Night Wash Over Thee

Via the 25th Anniversary Issue, Under the Silver Moon

Written by

Photographed by

Larry Lewis

Styled by

Raf Talaat

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MARNI sweater, pants, hat, and sunglasses, stylist’s own shirt and tie, CHROME HEARTS ring (pinky), and talent’s own rings.

This year, the nostalgia-fetishist media machine has manufactured a shiny new idea to add to the individualist lexicon. It’s the year of The Era. In the year of The Era, everyone exists in their own discrete bubble of personhood, marked by their skincare routine (Clean Girl Era), by their financial situation (Flop Era), or by their attitude toward interpersonal relationships (Villain Era). These eras are ephemeral by definition and easily suited to shake off when the time comes to enter a new meaningless epoch, a continuation of a near-constant cycle where one eschews an old self in favor of the new. In the Year of The Era, we venture through time as if we’re already past it, aching for the clarity of self-definition without any of the real hindsight and painstaking patience that lends to character. Time, for all of its resplendent properties, is not on the side of the trendy.

Time, however, is absolutely on the side of Marcus Brown, so much so that their alliance with it has informed their stage name: Nourished By Time. “As you get older, your time is your inventory,” the Baltimore native tells me in a conversation which frankly turns out to be one of the most stimulating I’ve had in a while. “There’s an accountability that comes with experiencing time. The more you experience it, the better off you are in basketball, in French acquisition, and in musicianship.”

Brown’s debut album, Erotic Probiotic 2, released in April and almost immediately garnered the attention of musicians, fans, and major media outlets across the globe. Recorded in their parents’ basement in Baltimore during the pandemic, Erotic Probiotic 2 is transcendent: the album weaves hazy cadences reminiscent of 80s R&B with the warm familiarity of contemporary bedroom pop, ensnaring the listener in a gauzy temporal cocoon. Tracks like “Daddy” evoke the horrific loneliness of longing (I say I love you/You say whatever), and “The Fields” reflects, achingly, on consumption: Once or twice I prayed to Jesus/Never heard a word back in plain English/More like signs or advertisements/ Telling me to be keep consumerizing). Brown’s unique baritone imbues the project’s pulpy melodies with a throbbing sense of melancholy that, in conjunction with EP2’s fizzy synths and shadowy guitars, feel like he’s tapped into an alchemical formula for worldwide success.

MARNI sweater, pants, hat, and sunglasses, stylist’s own shirt and tie, CHROME HEARTS ring (pinky), and talent’s own rings.

Brown is indeed receiving international recognition, spending their summer on their debut European tour and closing it out as an opener for Vagabon on her North American tour. Though they’ve had great fun—Brown tells me they found it particularly interesting to engage with former Soviet areas of Europe who are directly affected by the ongoing war—it’s also been work. “This is now an extension of my labor. It’s another version of working at Whole Foods, just, like, a lot cooler.” If you haven’t gleaned the fact that Brown is a socialist by their ongoing musical meditations on labor (see: “Workers Interlude”), you might get it by their demonstrable interest in collective action for artists: “The most interesting thing about the tour was not having health care. There’s not a union, or anything like that, for musicians,” Brown tells me. “If you don’t come into the industry with money”—they take a pause to assure me that they were never “super poor or anything”—“it effectively prices out certain artists. I’m watching really cool artists not be able to tour or go to a certain festival because financially it doesn’t make sense.” Brown, who tells me they feel fortunate enough now to be granted access to a “laptop that doesn’t want to explode” when they make music, and a studio to boot, continues to be leary about the “commodification of it all,” but is still excited to be able to say yes to the opportunities that they’ve yearned for since childhood.

Nourished By Time fans can expect a forthcoming EP this spring, and perhaps a more hip-hop heavy project titled The Passionate Ones in 2024, depending on how the work goes. When I ask about the work process, Brown (like any creative worth their salt) explains it to me in the most nebulous way possible: “It’s kind of a muscle you have to work.” Later: “A lot of my process is just living life, experiencing things, and then sitting down and downloading. When something’s being born, I just let it be. There have been so many times where I’ve sat down to write about something, and then the song just turns into something completely different. Like, it just wants to be something else.” And yet, later, “My writing process is, like, I will burn something to the ground. I listened to [Erotic Probiotic 2], hundreds of thousands of times because I try to find every little thing that’s good or bad about it.”

Brown tells me that time is equally important as (but, notably, not the same as) money. Unlike much of the artistic community, Brown doesn’t feel the need to constantly renovate their artistic image as a means of demonstrating growth. In my excited inquiries about the possibilities offered by the future, I forget that Marcus Brown luxuriates in the present time. Brown doesn’t belong to any particular era; they’re not ready to exit or enter any other epoch. “I’m in the same place as I was when I wrote Erotic Probiotic 2!” they remind me. It hasn’t been that long, really. A couple of years. “I don’t think much is going to change. I’ll get new equipment. I’ll always write in my room. One day I’ll wrap my head around this year.” One day. In the meantime, put on headphones and untether yourself from the enduring modern pressure to self-optimize. Dignify your own experience. Cherish time, and see how it nourishes you. 

Stylist’s own shirt and rings, HELMUT LANG vest, OFF-WHITE pants, and HERON PRESTON hat.

Photographed and Flaunt Film by Larry Lewis

Styled by Raf Talaat

Written by Annie Bush

Location: Guesthouse by Good Neighbor

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Flaunt Magazine, Issue 190, Under the Silver Moon, 25th Anniversary Issue, Nourished By Time, People, Annie Bush, Larry Lewis, Raf Talaat, Marni, Chrome Hearts
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