Aer returns to the Pioneer Valley after a successful summer

By Sarah Robertson

A lot has happened in the year since David von Mering and Carter Schultz last played in the Pioneer Valley. The two artists, known as the alternative rap group Aer, have since released a new album, toured with bands such as the Dirty Heads and Pepper and had one of the best summers of their lives.
“The tour this summer was wild,” von Mering said in an exclusive interview with the Collegian. “I would say we definitely got to check a bunch of stuff off the bucket list.”
After playing at the University of Massachusetts’ homecoming concert last year in the Student Union Ballroom, the duo continued working on music and released its second full-length album in late January. The self-titled album topped out at No. 5 on iTunes charts and set the tone for a busy summer. Aer then went on a national tour with the Dirty Heads and played various festivals throughout the country, including Outside Lands and Firefly.
Now Aer is back on the road, this time as the headliner for its own “House Party Tour” with fellow rapper Dizzy Wright. The tour will bring the duo up and down the East Coast including a stop at the Pearl Street Nightclub in Northampton on Oct. 9.
“I’m very excited,” Schultz said about returning to the Pioneer Valley. “Every time is a good time.”
The creative forces behind Aer come from a wide variety of influences. The duo’s first album, “The Bright Side,” was released in 2012 and reached the top of the iTunes album chart. While Aer is definitely more rap-oriented, “The Bright Side” sounds like Sublime meets Shwayze with its reggae-rock vibes. Most prominent throughout all of the group’s music is a West Coast style with a laid back and positive attitude, despite the duo’s roots in Wayland, Massachusetts.
Schultz and von Mering like to draw influence from a variety of sources within their genre but also said they enjoy listening to alternative rock and indie music. Von Mering cited the Beastie Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Arctic Monkeys as major inspirations for their work. While von Mering handles much of the production on the new album, both artists stress the importance of collaboration.
“I do the majority of the verse work and stuff like that,” Schultz said. “We will collaborate and edit together to make sure that both of us are on the same page.”
The two artists began making music together in high school, releasing their first mixtape, “Water on the Moon,” in 2010. By 2011, they got more serious about their music, finally settling on the name Aer and getting a manager. That same year, they released their second mixtape, “The Reach,” and their debut EP, “What You Need.”
Aer’s sound has undoubtedly matured throughout its four years in the music industry, a side effect that von Mering attributes to the duo’s growing fan base.
“We’re a little more aware,” said von Mering. “At first we didn’t really think about the words we were saying. Now that we know that people are quoting us and getting our lyrics even tattooed and all this crazy shit, we decided we needed to be more careful with what we say.”
“Not that we won’t say things that aren’t about just having fun, but now we are a bit more aware,” he added. “I would say we are better at writing now.”
When asked if he would get his own lyrics tattooed on his own body, von Mering simply said, “Hell yeah.”
Aer will be playing at Pearl Street Nightclub in Northampton Thursday, Oct. 9. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door.

Sarah Robertson can be reached at [email protected]