Ayer’s Danny Schmittler Talks ‘Circle Down’ Remix, Craigslist Encounters
Ayer is one part Danny Schmittler, one part Mickey Valen. The etheral-voiced Schmittler teamed up with producer Valen, who also works with pop singer Noosa, in a Brooklyn studio to create sexy androgynous electronica on Ayer’s newest single ‘Circle Down.’
With a proper debut EP set for release in the coming months and a remix from indie-disco duo Keljet, Schmittler answered Diffuser.fm’s questions about joining forces with Valen, creeping through Craigslist encounters, and releasing some of the most danceable music of the year.
What was your most recently viewed YouTube video?
Yoko Ono’s new music video ‘Bad Dancer.’ She’s been killing it since the beginning of time — a true artist man — and this video is spot on. To be so bad-a– at 80. Unreal.
Can you talk a little about background in music?
I’ve literally been performing since I was three years old — my mom put me in a community theater production of ‘Little Orphan Annie,’ which I fortunately don’t remember–and I’ve been making up songs for as long as I can remember. There wasn’t a magical moment when I realized I wanted to create music, though, it’s been an all my life thing. I have this motto, follow the music, that I’ve used to help me get to where I am now and hopefully somewhere even cooler in the future.
How did you start working with Mickey Valen?
We met each other in a brothel, also known as Craigslist. He was looking for a singer at the same time I was looking for a producer and writing partner. We found each other in the Lost and Found section.
What other (creepy) Craigslist connections have you made?
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Craigslist is the birthplace of all things good! I’ve found at least 10 jobs — most of which I’ve been fired from — four apartments, an amazing friend / roommate and perhaps some “casual encounters…” Hey, at least I’m honest! I have NOT found any of my lost iPhones on Craigslist.
Where is your favorite place to write music?
I come up with my best lyrics in the shower, which is unfortunate because I have to jump out, find paper and pen and write them down before I forget. My favorite place to write though is with Mickey in the studio, my ideas are good on their own but we come up with some killer tunes together. Writing together is always pretty electric — lots of high-fives.
What can you tell the world about your debut EP?
It’ll be epic. We’re really stoked to release it.
How did the Keljet remix come together?
A blogger from the Netherlands, where they’re from, connected us. He thought we would want to meet and I’m so glad we did. We asked if they’d be interested in remixing the track, and they asked if we wanted to collaborate. The rest, as they say, was gravy.
I love the remix. Someone described the beat and felling of it as spider crawl-like, and I totally agree. It’s trance-inducing, but also let’s the song live in a different body. It’s completely satisfying and a response to something the original can’t provide, which is the increased tempo mostly. Really satisfied with it.
What brought you to Brooklyn from Southern California?
Killer people, killer parties, the only remaining art scene in New York City. Although Dunkin Donuts did just open a store on Bedford Avenue up the street from my place in Williamsburg, so touch base with me on it being the only remaining art scene in the city in a year or two.
Your voice has been compared to Enya having sex on acid. What are your thoughts on that?
Wow, um, yes I have some thoughts. Thoughts I’m thinking specifically to get rid of the image of Enya having sex on acid out of my mind.