Aer exclusive interview

Sammy Keating

Above is the album artwork for Aer's new self titled album, which was released Jan. 21. WSPN caught up with Aer to discuss their new album and how life has changed since they graduated WHS.

WSPN’s Sammy Keating recently caught up with WHS grads Carter Schultz and David von Mering, otherwise known as the band Aer, to talk about their experiences at WHS, touring, and their new self titled album.

Let’s start at the beginning, how did you guys start Aer?

C: David and I started Aer because we were in a rock band at Wayland High School. But as we kept getting older, we decided that we wanted to work in different ways. So David and I kept making music together, and kept screwing around with no real intention. Before we knew it, we kept working hard and are still going where we’re going.

How did you guys come up with the name? It’s pretty unique.

D: Well, our friend came up with it. We don’t really have a story; it’s pretty boring. Some people have cool stories about how they came up with their names, but we just needed a name to fit the band.

When did you start working on music for Aer?

C: I would say we probably started working early 2010, and we released our first EP in April of 2010.

Where did you guys first perform?

D: At Carter’s brother’s…Umm what was it called?
C: He had a pop up shop on Newbury Street, and they had a party one Saturday night, and we were invited to come and play.
D: That was classic.
C: Yeah, it was definitely something to remember.

Do you guys remember what it felt like to perform for the first time?

C: It felt good to break the ice, somehow. With that being said, it was definitely an awkward experience. No one was really listening, and the sound was pretty crappy, but overall it was a good time.

How did Aer progress as you went through high school?

D: We kind of just kept making music. I mean, when everyone was graduating we kind of decided to take a year off and postpone school, and it hasn’t really changed much. You know the focus and what it’s all about. So, we just hope to keep riding and enjoy ourselves as well as growing our careers. It’s been a good time.

Did you guys find it difficult to balance Aer and school while you were at WHS?

C: I would say it wasn’t that difficult because I wasn’t doing any sports senior year and neither was David, so everyday after school we’d be working on music. [WHS] let us do music for Aer as our senior project, which made it very, very fun and very easy. It did seem a little difficult at times, like when we would be invited to play a show in the middle of the week. I remember having to ask Tutwiler if it was cool if we could leave school to go play a concert at a frat house, and he was kind of skeptical at first, but it worked out.

What was the first moment that you realized people outside of Wayland were listening to your music?

D: Senior year when we got flown out to South Carolina to do a show. That was definitely an eye opening experience because we had only played a couple shows before that. We opened for Mac Miller in the winter, and then we got this offer to play in South Carolina and that was definitely… real.

You guys ended up choosing to pursue music instead of going to college. How did you make that decision?

C: That decision was naturally made. It was kind of like — we’re moving, we’re having fun, we’re doing what we’re doing — why should we slow that process down by going to school? I remember I talked to my parents, and they said, “Hey, if that’s no problem, that’s fine with us, you just need to get into a school just so you have a fallback plan.” One year off turned into two years off, and now we’re in our third year off, and we don’t have plans to go back anytime soon. It was definitely the right decision.

What were some of the first things you guys did after you graduated?

D: We moved into a house in Brighton and just started recording. We put out an EP that went number one on the iTunes hip hop chart, and that kicked off the momentum pretty hard. Then we put out a video for “Feel I Bring” in August, which was getting a lot of views every day. And we just got a lot of momentum going.

What was it like when you saw that your EP was number one on iTunes hip hop charts?

C: It seemed pretty surreal at first. It was hard to really swallow the whole situation and understand what was going on, but at the end of the day, it was solely because our fans said, “Listen, I’m going to buy this, and I’m going to tell all of our friends to buy it, so we can get it to number one.” It was a crazy feeling because I always grew up looking at those iTunes charts and basing my music around that, and seeing that at number one was totally nuts.

Was that when you did your first tour?

C: Yeah, we did our first tour that first year; that first tour was pretty historic as well.
D: We did this Florida run where we played in front of 20 or 10 people most of the time. So yeah, it was a rough beginning, but I mean, now it’s like we’re about to go out there on this nationwide tour, and it definitely pays off to do the little runs.

What kind of venues were you playing at?

C: They were like, smoky, old bars in really rundown shopping malls in very low-key, crappy sort of towns. And it was brutal. We only had a legitimate venue three or four times on that tour. So, it was definitely an eye-opening experience. It was a lot of fun, but it wasn’t what normal people think about when they think about going on tour.
C: I just want to clarify, that’s what the venues were like on our first tour. They’re not like that anymore.
D: We actually enjoy the pool bars.

What are your fans like?

D: Our fans are straight goons just like us, and they have a great time, and they have a lot of love. I don’t really understand why we have such good fans — doesn’t really make sense, but it’s awesome. I mean, they’re incredible. They supported us from day one. The shows are always amazing — when we’re playing, like, House of Blues and doing these big shows in Dallas and Chicago. Growth has been quick, but they still love every song, and they’ll respond so strong.

Your music fits into many genres. How would you guys describe your music?

C: Normally we let people figure it out for themselves, but if I had to describe it I’d say it’s kind of like alternative and rock and reggae, influenced by hip-hop. I always tell them that it’s kinda like Sublime, Kid Cudi and The Black Keys all swirled into a big pot.

What artists inspire you?

D: Arctic Monkeys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Katy Perry.

You guys said that you were about to start your third tour, and I know you guys are coming back to Boston on the 31. How are you feeling about that?

C: We’re so excited. It’s going to be so much fun. It’s hometown love; nothing’s better than that. It’s going to be a big show; I hope it sells out. If you don’t mind, let everybody at school know that they got to come through, because we’re trying to sell it out, to make it the craziest show possible.

How is this tour going to be different from ones in the past?

D: Well, we have a band now, which we weren’t doing at shows before. They’re like hip-hop bass, more like a Beastie Boys type experience. Actually for me every rehearsal is exciting because we have these musicians with us. We’re going to have a band; we’re going to have a sound guy, just to make it more crisp. We’re going to have bigger venues. Everything’s going to be the next chapter, at a bigger level and more Aer.

How did you come up with your new single?

C: Well, we basically had the album almost 100% done and we knew it was missing something — one kind of vibe, one feel. We were out in California and at our friend Cisco Adler’s house in Malibu. He invited us up to the studio, and David and I were just working, and it kinda came out naturally.

How does that song reflect the rest of the album? What can we expect?

D: It’s very, like Carter was saying, the last missing piece. It’s a complete project that has a lot of different vibes to it. So I wouldn’t say that single sums up the album, but I’d say it’s a very important piece to it. There are a lot of different contours in the album. It’s definitely got a feel of a movie or something. There are songs that are reflecting and songs that are party songs or [for] celebrating. There are girl songs and all that kind of stuff. It’s all over the place, but it’s definitely a complete awesome album that we’re very excited and proud about.

A lot of people were surprised by the music video for the song. How did you guys come up with the ideas for that?

C: I would say, right off the bat, when you hear this song [it has] this kind of poppy, 50’s feel with it — the double claps and everything. For me at least, I’ve always envisioned a 50’s theme or an early 60’s theme, but we worked with a few directors, tried to come up with ideas and finally got with this guy Jacob Owens who was able to guess exactly what we wanted — like a modern 50’s blurred lines, very simple but colorful video. Right when we decided that, we went out to L.A. and did the video with him and it turned out great.

Can you describe the past few years in one word?

C: Progression.
D: Yeah, I’ll go with progression, let’s do that.

Is there one moment through your entire musical career that stands out to you guys, for any reason?

C: Unfortunately not. That’s the problem with this, because it all becomes a blur. Once you do one show, you get confused with another show and then another show. But I know for a fact that once I was onstage at the House of Blues in Boston, looking out, I was kind of like, “Wow, this is amazing.” It was one of those moments when everything about [it] was amazing. With that being said, it’s hard to really pinpoint one exact moment.

Do you have any advice to give to student musicians at WHS?

C: Do exactly what you want to do. Do what you want to see done, and everything else will follow.

Do you guys miss anything from WHS?

C: I miss the simplicity and the parties and hanging out. But besides that, it’s nice to move on as well.
D: I miss the croissants.

Do you guys have anything else you’d like to say to the Wayland High students?

C: We love you. Keep going. Keep doing what you’re doing, and come out to the show.
D: Yeah and get the album January 21st. Actually, spread that.
C: Yeah, definitely get the album.

Click below for Aer’s latest music video for “Says She Loves Me” and to buy their new self-titled album “Aer.”