Aer Photo 3

’Aer – Says She Loves Me’
’Aer – Won’t Laugh’
’Aer – Spades, Clubs & Diamonds’

The most innovative artists are often those who transcend and challenge genre constraints. Over the last couple years, Boston-based Aer have shown an admirable disregard for categorization, steadily building a following with their sunny, style-fusing sound. Today marks the release of Aer’s sophomore album, an appropriately self-titled project that truly captures their essence. From start to finish, Aer feels like the young duo’s most cohesive project to date, progressing their sound and narrative to a new level of maturity. I was lucky enough to chat with the guys behind Aer, Carter and David, and found them to be full of good vibrations, just like their music. Stream a few tracks above, check the interview down below and make sure to head to grab the album HERE.

TMN: Let’s start at the beginning. I know you met in high school and were part of a larger band back then. I was curious, what was the name of your band and what kind of music were you playing when you first started?

Carter: We were called Moken Airwalk, which is kind of funny, because some people are trying to draw the connection that we took the name Aer from Airwalk, but it was unrelated. We were a 4-piece band—it was vocals, guitar, bass and drums. The music was heavily influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers so it was kind of like smooth melodic rock, but we also had a lot of hard funk.

TMN: Tell us a bit about your progress and growth in the last few years and how things have changed since the inception of AER. 

David: The focus hasn’t really changed at all. It’s still been about us enjoying, growing and sharing our experiences through the music. But what has changed is just the amount of fans has grown and it’s crazy to see that. To go to these shows in different parts of the world, even now like in Europe, to see fans come out is incredible. To me, that’s really the only thing that feels like it has changed. We still work with the same people; we still have the same team from the get-go and have just been building on top of it.

TMN: One of the things I love about your music is how hard it is to categorize. How would you describe your music to someone who had never heard it before? What kind of genres would you include?

Carter: I alway just try and tell people to listen to three songs and then make their own definition because it’s definitely hard like you said. But I always include, in no particular order, the words alternative, rock, hip-hop influence, reggae and some pop aspects too. If I had to compare it with some artists, I normally say Black Keys, Kid Cudi, Sublime and maybe Slightly Stoopid all in a big pot. Stir it all up, serve it up, put some butter and maybe some sauce on top, and see how you like it after that.

TMN: You just mentioned some of your influences and I’ve definitely noticed Sublime, Marley and even Curren$y. Talk about about your inspiration, musically and non-musically. Any artists that have had an influence on you that might not be immediately recognizable in your sound?

David: Yeah, Cage the Elephant for me. They’re huge. I listen to them a lot and it’s not their music that I try to imitate or anything. Just their attitude and care-free sort of expression, on stage especially, is something that’s inspiring. You can’t ignore something that’s so raw it automatically gets you inspired because it’s coming right from the heart.

TMN: Building off of that, I haven’t really noticed many collaborations on your projects. Are there any contemporary artists you’d like to work with? 

Carter: When it comes to our albums or our own projects, we try to keep it 100 percent focused on who it is and the characters and our story. We’ve definitely collaborated in the past with people on EPs and free projects because collaboration is a great way to make a new sound and, as well, get cross promotion and meet new people. Overall, I’d say we like to keep it pretty focused on the main idea and characters of the story, but I’ve always wanted to work with Kid Cudi and Curren$y. As we get closer to the future, it’s definitely a possibility, but it will take time, and some respect, before we can get there.

TMN: What’s an artist that you wish you could work with? Like a Marley or any of the legends.

David: Obviously Jimi [Hendrix]. Hands down. The amount of flavor and feel in his playing just speaks for itself. I would just like to have a conversation with him too—I’ve read a lot of his biographies. I would also like to have a conversation with Kurt Cobain probably. If I could just be in a room with Dave [Grohl], Kurt and Krist [Novoselic] and just chop it that would be dope.

TMN: When you are in the studio, what are you generally focused on? Do you have any routines that are part of your recording process?

Carter: David produces everything for us. All the keys, all the bass, all the drums, all of that. Dave’s constantly working all the time, every hour of the day. He basically will provide this painting for me and we’ll be just sitting in the studio listening and trying to get a vibe for the song. Once that shifts, for me, it’s just now what am I trying to say with the song, what lyrics am I trying to get across, what’s the vibe, what’s the mood, what’s the statement. So, for me, it’s just a constant brainstorm of various statements and phrases that all tie back to this one idea.

Aer-album-art-636x636TMN: Was there any difference or has anything changed in your approach with the new album (cover art pictured to the right)? I thought it was a really great listen, just fun from start to finish. It seems like the most impressive so far from a musical standpoint. 

David: The vibes on the album of each song are very true to the time period when we recorded it. So, to compare it to other projects, like The Brightside or the Strangers EP, both of those were recorded in a time period where we had 4 months and then we were going to go on tour. It was spring, summer time and that’s kind of what came out. Looking back, those were more feel good projects as opposed to a 360 degree album that comes full circle. What I love so much about this album is that it has that. It’s not an album you will listen to once through and be like, “okay, I get it.” It’s an album you have to listen to a few times to really let it sink in and feel like, “oh wow, I can carry this around with me for a really long time” because it has these ups and downs and these different scenarios you can relate to as opposed to just one whole vibe on the entire album.

TMN: You cover a variety of topics on this project. One of my favorite tracks from a content perspective was “Won’t Laugh” (check the video here)–it kind of reminded me of Marley’s “Who the Cap Fit?” Talk a bit about your songwriting process and what inspires you to write lyrics.

Carter: For “Won’t Laugh,” I kind of made the track my own in terms of aggressively portraying my message. The way I got in the mindset to write that song was it was the summer when we wrote it, David & I were out in LA when we recorded it. But a few weeks before we were out in LA, my parents had a “going away” party because they were moving out of their long time suburban house and into an apartment in the city so they had a big party in my backyard.

I remember talking with all of my old family friends and they were all kind of like, “Oh, you’re still doing music that’s cool. Oh, I see you got some tattoos that’s cool. Oh, are you making money? Are you staying healthy? Are you getting into drugs?” and asking me all the questions and I was kind of like, “Listen, man, just because I didn’t decide to go to college and just because I didn’t decide to take the path that you always forced your kids to take, does not mean I am a lesser being, does not mean that I am any less creative or motivated.” And so it really kind of festered in my mind for a few weeks and once we got to LA and David came up with this phrase, “I won’t laugh if you smile.” It’s like I’m not going to humor you just because you want to be humored and I’m not going to feed you this false reality just because you want me to be like that. For me it was my time to make a statement that we’ve been working, we’re working just as hard as anyone else. It might be in a different way or not the conventional way that everybody else works, but this is legitimate, it’s a real job and a real career and I love what I do so back the fuck off.
You know what I mean? So that’s what I was trying to get across and hopefully I did that.

TMN: Yeah, I absolutely think that came across. Over the last couple years, it seems like you guys have performed with and opened for so many enormous acts. Any good stories from the road? Or any artists who were particularly supportive of the movement?

David:  I met DJ Wreckineyez and he was real cool. I used to watch Boydercam when Asher Roth was coming up and, in all his little behind the scenes videos, he was just hilarious. When I met him, it was exactly like what he was like in those videos. It’s cool because sometimes you meet these people or artists and it’s just not as cool. You meet them and you’re like, “fuck, he is a regular guy.” I met him and I was like, “wow, this dude’s a G. He’s funny as hell. Just as goofy as the videos.”

Carter: We played a show with Macklemore right when he was at the peak of his “Thrift Shop” buzz and the whole situation was so surreal because we got tied into the show really quickly, about a week and a half out. It was a very last minute thing and we were like, “Alright, we’ll do it. Maybe we’ll get to meet him.” And before we knew it, we were back in his tent, we dapped him up, took a picture with him and exchanged a few words. It was so crazy that from starting in a basement, just screwing around, we could get ourselves to open for this guy who is, and was, literally on top of the world and it was just such a surreal feeling. We also met Wu-Tang [Clan] over the summer, which I can’t even begin to describe.

TMN: I can imagine meeting Wu-Tang must be kind of an absurd and surreal experience.

Carter: Oh, yeah, and they hooked us up with some bud. It was amazing.

TMN: What can everyone expect from the tour for this album? 

David: The shows are great. We now have a band, so songs really come to life and the energy we get from the musicians we’ve added it just propels you. I find myself feeling more and more inspired, even on stage with our antics and interactions with the crowd. We’ve only played one show so far with them, but it just felt like there were no limits to what we could pull off with instrumentation and the style we’ve added to it. Every show is going to be this big production but still with our raw attitude to it. So, we’re really excited to get going.

TMN: Alright I’m going to shoot you a few fun quick questions. First, favorite Curren$y song?

Carter: “Breakfast

David: “Showroom.

 TMN: What would you say are your tour essentials? Basically 3 things you don’t think either of you could live without?

Carter: Noise-canceling headphones, a pair of flip-flops and my laptop.

David: Condoms, chapstick and sharpies.

 TMN: Where is your happy place?

Carter: My happy place is on the road. Whether it’s touring or traveling. Whether I’m in China or Barcelona. I’m just happy being cut off.

David: With my roommates just downstairs in the living room tossing the shit. That’s my favorite place.

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