With reggae, rap and pop, Aer are a rocking act
Pop-reggae seems as if it has been destined to always be from California.
The mind conjures up the breeding ground of such acts, places like Santa Cruz, Huntington Beach, San Diego and Santa Barbara, where ocean breezes and relaxed vibes make the melding of reggae and pop music as natural as the saltwater-infused air. This is the state where bands such as the Dirty Heads and Pepper come from.
But not all are from California.
Aer, performing at Usana Amphitheatre on Friday with 311 (from Nebraska) and those two other bands, are from Boston.
Aer duo David von Mering and Carter Schultz blend rap, reggae and pop with indie rock aesthetics and an edge that makes them a little bit dangerous on the dance floor.
Von Mering and Schultz answered email questions posed by The Tribune about their upcoming show with 311, which seems to be the West Valley City amphitheater's house band, having played Usana each year for the past decade.
Did your education play a big part of who you are as musicians?
Von Mering: Not really, but I learned a lot of useful things in my business class. I've applied so much of what I learned from that to what I do now. It's awesome. My business teacher would always use the phrase "Perception is everything" when speaking on how to start and build a company. I find myself using it all the time.
Describe where you grew up and how it affected who you became.
Schultz: Growing up in the Boston suburbs definitely gave me the opportunity to meet a ton of people doing a lot of different things. There's not a huge music scene, so it made it easy to decide what I wanted to do and how to stand out.
Can inspiration come from different places?
Von Mering: I think inspiration can come from anything, whether you've suffered from something or not. Sometimes just experiencing a new city can give birth to a song. I find songs to be a great way to reflect and create a snapshot of my life. I think it's really just linked to experiences that take me to a certain place emotionally. Then a few days later I'll be in the studio and just kind of paint and let my mind wander. I've always found it relieving when I finish a new song. It's a way for me to clear my head and move forward.
What do you want your audiences to feel when they are at one of your concerts?
Schultz: We want them to feel like they're a part of a big party. Nothing more than hanging with some friends. We bring energy and want everyone to reciprocate.
How do you stay connected with fans?
Von Mering: We use Twitter and Instagram and stuff like that, but I think the music is really what speaks the most to fans. It's great to stay online and have a presence, but it's important to stay focused on what you are really trying to accomplish, which in my case is make great music and play it for people.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Von Mering: Living in a sweet house. Having a crazy live set that is notorious for how much nudity occurs in the audience. Own a sweet car. Have a sexy wife or girlfriend. Hopefully have been in a few movies playing a bunch of weird characters.
How important is commercial success?
Schultz: I think getting in front of as many ears as possible is what's most important. Whether you do that with online presence, Top 40 hits or however, it's about spreading the name. Commercial success is definitely important but it depends what you want to do with it.
Do you have any Utah memories?
Schultz: Walking through downtown last winter on a sunny, 60-degree day. It was February, I wanna say, and just beautiful.
311 with Dirty Heads, Pepper and Aer
When • Friday, Aug. 15, at 6 p.m.
Where • Usana Amphitheatre, West Valley City
Tickets • $29 at SmithsTix.com
Info • Wristbands for the pit will be given out day-of show at the main entrance on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last.