Mon, 27 Jan 2014 11:01:04
"This album is a documentary of us," exclaims Aer's David von Mering. "It's very straight-to-the-point. We don't hide behind anything."
Von Mering and his cohort Carter Schultz definitely come out of the gate swinging on their latest, self-titled, opus. [iTunes link] The Massachusetts hip-hop collective strikes a balance between intricate lyricism and ponderous production that makes for some seriously thought-provoking jams. They take rap down a different path, and it's one that's full of surprises worthy of repeat listening. Take a peek at the future and fly with Aer...
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Aer discuss their new album and so much more.
What ties the album together as a whole?
Carter Schultz: I take care of the meat of the verses, and I'm expanding on each of the themes of the songs. I was in the same mental state throughout the entire writing of the album. I was girlfriend-less. I was hanging out every day and trying to figure out everything day by day. A lot of the lyrical content on my part is about being as honest as possible. I tried to teach it like it was a journal. There wasn't necessarily one example of a story I was telling, but I was trying to continue to tell my point of view from where I stood. For example, the songs "Ex" and "I'm Not Sorry" are describing past relationships I've had. There are other songs though. "Pretty Lady" is my yearning for something new that I'm looking for. Because the album was written over a certain span of time, I was in a very similar mindset from start to finish. That's what made my verses and writing a little more coherent in terms of what my message is. It wasn't all over the place. It was right there.
David von Mering: When you listen to The Bright Side, you can tell we had a lot of momentum. We finished it right before we went on another tour. It has this sound. It sounds like something that's more of a "project" as opposed to a 360-degree album. We noticed that looking back on it. This album definitely has this "sit down" feeling like, "Let's talk about how we got here, why we're here, and what we've been going through". We didn't really tour much between the process. We really sat down and poured our thoughts into this album.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs?
David von Mering: For me, a song doesn't get made unless it creates that picture or scenery for you with a lot of colors. If it doesn't jump out at you, I don't move forward with it, and I don't even show it to Carter. The instrumentation has to create a color and a picture. It has to release something that makes you inspired from an artist's standpoint. From a listener's standpoint, it has to give you a soundtrack to what you're going through at the moment.
Carter Schultz: I agree with David but from a different side. He's providing all of the instrumentals and that emotion in terms of the music. My main goal has been matching that emotion, vibe, and feeling with my lyrics. I used to compare my love life to let's say, "eagles flying over the sky in dark winters", and that's not really something you can connect to. I went back to square one and said, "I want to be straight up. I want people to feel like I'm having a conversation with them. I want people to see my lyrics for what they are and not have to make up their own connotations". Obviously, that's a good thing here and there, but I tried to be clear, paint a picture, and lay it out there for everyone to take it how it is.
What's the story behind "Movin' It"?
Carter Schultz: To me, that song is about letting loose and having a great time. The vibe is some early 2000s hip-hop. We're just trying to always have fun, and we thought it was a great way to cap off the album.
David von Mering: I've always been influenced by turn-of-the-century hip-hop. That's what I grew up on. I try to let it flow through. We don't hold any limitations. We have fun in the studio.
What artists shaped you? Who did you bond over??
Carter Schultz: We were definitely in a big Jake Bugg phase. You can't compare his music to ours, but he opened my eyes to simple lyrics that are face value. You hear them. You get them. You love them. They're relatable. He influenced me in terms of telling stories and giving things straight up. I was also listening to a lot of Joey Bada$$. He made me want to open up and challenge myself in terms of wordplay. I'm opened up my rhyme schemes when I heard him.
David von Mering: Jake Bugg was huge for me. I couldn't give you one artist that inspired this album though. Nowadays, I'm listening to the new albums from Arctic Monkeys and Cage the Elephant pretty much every day. It's cool to see Cage come from this rock rebellious sound into this weirder, more melodic thing. They've managed to stay the same band with different songwriting tactics.
Find out more about AER on twitter or at AER's official website.
Have you heard Aer yet?