GIFs: Les Fabian Brathwaite
Photo: Lena Shkoda
Thanks to hookup apps, love is only a woof away. But is love even possible when faced with a seemingly endless stream of options at your very fingertips? New York-based singer-songwriter AYER contemplates this dilemma in his new song, "Digital Fantasy" — accompanied by a visually stunning music video directed by noted fashion photographer Rick Day and frequent collaborator Steve Benisty.
AYER, née Danny Schmittler, describes the theme behind the song as a struggle between wanting a love that comes about organically and wanting a quick hookup that comes about from, among other things, necessity.
"You lose something significant when you are searching and scrolling through pages looking for love," he tells me from Day's Lower East Side studio. "The kind of love that we all fantasize aboutI tried it. I thought I had it and it fell apart."
Though "Digita Fantasy" was inspired by his own experiences, AYER feels like the song has a message to which everyone can relate. "We all want something that’s real and have a difficult time finding it."
AYER, Day and Benisty conveyed the universality of this message in the video, casting their eclectic collection of friends, neighbors, colleagues and acquaintances
Each stripping away their everyday personas to reveal the sexual beings underneath.
Inspired by the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, the video is a celebration of sex and beauty in its many forms — though fans of Day's hypermasculine physique portraiture will surely find something to love.
Having turned down numerous offers in the past, this was RIck and Steve's first music video. "We believed in AYER’s sound," Benisty said.
AYER has always been a fan of Day's photography, but once he reached out to him and Steve, they "all kind of fell in love with each other’s work."
"The first time I saw him [AYER] he reminded me of the first time I saw Madonna," said Day. "She was lip-synching to 'Burning Up' with two drag queen backup dancers in Atlanta, Georgia. No one knew who she was, but she had everyone going. She had black hair still, smoked a lot of cigarettes. When I saw AYER, everyone kind of stood there for a second and the next thing you know, everyone was dancing. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that kind of energy from a young artist."
High praise indeed.
Check out AYER's new video, "Digital Fantasy" directed by Rick Day and Steve Benisty below: