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How do hook-up apps affect our ability to form and build meaningful relationships with one another in the digital age?
This question is at the heart of the song "Digital Fantasy," recently released by Brooklyn-based vocalist, electronic recording and visual artist AYER. The song comes from AYER's six-track EP "In My Headphones," which will be available on April 28 and the beautiful video for the track, which was co-directed by Steve Benisty and Rick Day, was just released.
"Digital Fantasy" raises important questions about the way technology intersects with sexuality and what romantic relationships look like in the digital age. In order to understand this further, The Huffington Post chatted with AYER this week.
The Huffington Post: What inspired you to write the song?
AYER: My friend Lester Brathwaite wrote a blog post, "Why I've Given Up on Hooking Up," which was part of my inspiration for this song. The honesty with which he shared how hook-up apps made him feel about himself really resonated with me. His words echoed sentiments I had long felt and discussed with my friends, both straight and gay, about this part of culture that we all have to contend with these days.
How did the video come about?
The first time I saw Rick Day's photographs, I was totally blown away. He's a master of his art and I really respect his work. Soon after I started writing "Digital Fantasy," I met Rick and his collaborator Steve Benisty for the first time, who is also ridiculously talented with a camera. I think we were all drawn to each other's work, and they were thankfully very interested in creating a video based on the very rough, first version of the song. We sat in Rick's apartment in the East Village one day and discussed the song, sexuality in a digital age, lots of visual influences, most notably Robert Mapplethorpe -- we were totally on the same page. Over the course of several months they flushed out the story that we wanted to tell, and of course by the time we filmed the song had evolved, the story had matured and everything just came together perfectly. It's been literally a year in the making, but I'm really proud of the time we put into it and with the result.
Do you consider yourself a queer artist? How does or doesn't your sexuality affect your work?
You know, I really don't, no more than I consider myself a male artist, or a NYC-based artist, really. That said, my sexuality is absolutely at the core of this song and most others I write; it's right under the surface for me and is easy for me to tap into.
What's up next for you?
On April 28 I'll be releasing my first collection of work -- a six track EP titled "In My Headphones" -- and I have a ton of other music I'll be sharing this spring. Rick and Steve and I have already started working on our next collaboration as well.
"In My Headphones" will be released on April 28 and is produced by Bram Inscore. Head here for more information about AYER.