“The Internet is for porn”: Wise words spoken by that Oscar the Grouch-looking puppet on the off Broadway play Avenue Q. Admit, you probably surfed the Internet moments before reading this looking for something to jerk off to. You may have even come across our very handsome Los Angeles-based muse, Danny Wylde. If you haven’t, a simple Google search of the words “danny wylde” coupled with “xxx” will pull up countless tantalizing, X-rated images and videos of our beloved.
But in his interview with AHDM4U, Wylde dropped the bomb (a not entirely irreversible bomb in the porn industry, I might add) that he was leaving the biz. Kind of — Wylde plans to continue web camming and being involved with community porn sites like Make Love Not Porn. But in addition to being a partially retired porn star, Mr. Wylde is a published author and half of the black metal band Children. I mean, he’s clearly on that Beyonce schedule, down to the frequency in which he produces epic short films/music videos — not to mention just being all-around productive member of society … and a few other similarities we’ll get to below.
I caught up with Mr. Wylde via email to chat about porn, plus his new coming of age vampire fiction Come to My Brother, his short film/music video for Chiildren, and to find out if there is any difference between his porn persona and who he is IRL.
AHDM4U: Do you identify as a feminist? If so, can you tell us how your art as a porn star/metal musician/novelist reflects your feminist principles?
DANNY WYLDE: I absolutely identify as feminist. This is a simple concept to me: that people of all genders and sexualities should be treated as equals and be allowed the same opportunities.
That said, I understand that I am a white male who has been portrayed as heterosexual throughout most of my pornographic career. I am kind of “the man,” so to speak. There’s inherent privilege in my existence. It’s important for me to acknowledge this in order to allow for alternative modes of discourse and action. But I’m hesitant to use the word “feminist” as a way to advance my own work. There are people who have had to fight much harder than I have in order to obtain basic rights or even to be acknowledged. I’d rather feminism call attention to their work.
But I won’t shy away from the word. One of my essays was published in The Feminist Porn Book. I think because much of my writing deals with the representation of sex workers, and particularly porn performers. I absolutely wish to challenge the dominant modes of thought in regards to sexuality, agency, and so on when it comes to pornography. As an individual, I can only address the male sex worker experience. But I’ve done my best to reach out to my peers (male, female, gay, straight, etc … ), and give voice to them as well.
My fiction and music is are not actively engaged in feminist politics. But I suppose they often address queer sexuality (which I identify with most) in a positive, or at least neutral, way – even if my aesthetic is typically violent. [Mr. Wylde maybe referencing the dark aesthetics of his vampire fiction and music videos which include morbid details such as murder, blood, imputations, etc…]
AHDM4U: What was your dream job as a child?
DW: I think I wanted to be an actor when I was very young (I guess I’ve accomplished that in a way). During high school, my life was about music. I played in several metal bands and spent a lot of my free time wrapped up in that scene. I’m not sure if I considered playing in a band to be a realistic job, but I think my dream was to be able to do that for a living.
DW: I had no real thoughts about making a career in the adult entertainment industry. It was just this weird thing I thought I’d try out to make some extra money as a student. It became my part-time job while I was in school. The longer I did it, the more relevant it became. Eventually, porn took on a certain importance in my life.
When you work alongside people for years, they become your friends and your community. I’ve quit performing, and I still work in the adult industry doing freelance production work. It’s not that I don’t want to do other things too. But I’ve built relationships with many of these people. Porn is where I feel comfortable.
AHDM4U: Do you think there is a difference between your porn persona Danny Wylde and your actual self, Christopher Zeischegg? If so, what is the difference?
DW: Sort of. But I’ve been fairly public about my real-life identity over the past two years. I’ve tried to create a synergy with my identities, and with my work. I obviously would act however the director wanted me to act when I was doing a sex scene. Sometimes that conflicted with my personality or values, or something. But I don’t try to be someone else when I’m at work.
Photo by Allen Henson
AHDM4U: Tell us about your metal music project Chiildren. Who’s in band, when did you start the project, and what can we expect from Chiildren in the future?
DW: Chiildren is a music project I started a couple years back with fellow porn performer, Chad Alva. It’s basically an electronic metal band.
Chad and I met through the alt porn scene. We both grew up playing in metal bands and listening to the same kind of music. He was actually in a pretty big metal-core band called Dead to Fall. We discussed starting a traditional black metal band, and wrote some songs together. But neither of us are from LA, so we had a hard time finding other musicians to be involved – particularly a drummer. I suggested we experiment with programming drums and electronic elements. We ran with that idea and basically developed the sound we have now.
It’s become a pretty serious thing for both of us. We just released our first EP through Bit Riot Records.
It’s also become a way for me to work on my visual art. I’ve directed three music videos for the band so far. I know it seems kind of overkill given that we’ve only put out five songs. But it gives me a reason to keep up with my film chops. Otherwise, I’d probably be producing random short films that would disappear into the internet.
AHDM4U: You produce some really dark next level music videos for Chiildren. Can you tell us a little bit about the inspirations for your short film/ music video “Apocalypse Prologue”?
DW: Hah. Thanks.
About six months ago, I wrote this really elaborate short film that I wanted to turn into a music video for Chiildren. It was going to be for one of our unreleased songs. It was this sort-of demonic fairytale about capitalism and revolutionary tactics, and the apocalypse. But the concept was way outside of my budget. So I thought I’d shoot a teaser prequel to help get funding. That turned into “Apocalypse Prologue.”
It took longer to produce than I anticipated. We finished it around the time our EP was released. So we decided to put it out as a stand-alone promotional video for the record. Depending on how the band progresses, we may revisit the original concept. I can’t say for sure. In any case, it has something to do with a critique of capitalism and new age spirituality, and an exploration of black metal as a philosophy.
I’d been reading this contemporary philosopher named Eugene Thacker. He talks about the idea of “black” in black metal as a form of cosmic pessimism. He asks that we envision a “world without us,” one that is “indifferent to us as human beings, despite all we do to change, shape to improve and even to save the world … It’s limit-thought is the idea of absolute nothingness, unconsciously represented in the many popular images of nuclear war, natural disasters, global pandemics, and the cataclysmic effects of climate change.”
I often feel stuck with an ideological stance that necessitates action, but believe that action is mostly irrelevant. It’s like leftist politics mixed with a largely pessimistic outlook on life.
AHDM4U: As an artist, you are really versatile — you have done porn and music, and most recently, you are a fiction novelist. Tell us about the queer vampire fiction you wrote Come to My Brother. Have you always been fascinated with vampires? Are there any parallels between you and the protagonist David?
DW: I wrote the first draft of Come to my Brother in my early 20s. I started it prior to the vampire, young adult fiction trend that took off with Twilight. By the time anyone was interested in my work, I had this sort of fear of being associated with that. But my book is out there, for better or worse.
Those who have given me feedback seem to think the vampire part is the least interesting. It really was just an excuse to mix my interests at the time with some high-concept, horror mythology. The book is a coming-of-age story about family, sex, porn, and metal. That vampire stuff can be fun, but it might also be read as superfluous.
Yes, there are many parallels between myself and the protagonist. I did not actually fall in love with, or date, my stepbrother. But the family life, queer sexuality, early path towards fem-dom pornography, and youthful interest in heavy metal culture are all very similar.