Aug 22, 2011

Danny Wylde: Probably the Most Articulate Artist and Porn Star You Know, Part II

The story [of This is Love] is, to put it lightly and succinctly, about sexual obsession. And it feels, to me, very, very real. While I’m totally impressed with your acting talent in some feature movies you’ve been in, I fail to believe that you are that good of an actor. Is this based on a real experience?

At face value, it's very much a work of fiction. In fact, the subject matter is heavily influenced by one of my favorite authors, Dennis Cooper. His characters often have these obsessive desires to know, or understand, their love/lust objects. And those desires take on a very physical/sexual/violent process. So while I've never been non-consensually violent with anyone, I can relate to some of that obsession – particularly in my youth.

As a teenager, I think emotions are amplified. It can feel like the end of the world to fall in love with someone and not be able to really understand them, or get to know them in the way you'd like. So things like death and suicide can seem like very romantic ways to express unattainability. 

These days, I'd say I'm less overwrought. But I still like the idea of belonging to someone, and that person belonging to me. I like to be able to obsess over them when appropriate. And I really like to know that person is completely into me. Obviously (or not), the sexual part of that is a big deal to me.

In your mind, what happens in between the scenes we get to see in this film?

I think the characters go to work, and watch movies, and read books and stuff. The details of their daily life is not that important. I mean, I guess my character might have to stay home every once in a while to physically heal. But I like to think the relationship exists in an otherwise conventional setting.

I think in its omissions and its rawness, this could classify as an art film. And I hear that you’re having trouble selling it through the usual internet channels because it’s pornographic. Do you think you’ll label your next film an “art” film to facilitate selling it?

I have been running into trouble given that it's both pornographic and violent. It seems you need to be either one thing or the other in order to find any real distribution, even on an indie scale.

Right now, I'm just exchanging the video for gift cards.

But I'm not entirely sure what I'll be doing in the future. One idea is to bypass the porn market and just start submitting these types of works to short film festivals. But I'd really like to give people access to them on the Internet.

Film festival audiences are very specific and my audience is already so small. If anyone's going to relate to this stuff, I need to allow access for more than just festival and film buffs.

And speaking of selling it… you’ve decided to go about releasing your film differently than the normal porn distribution channels. Is this a way to deflect piracy?

Yes, it's primarily to deflect piracy.

Do you think other performers could do the same thing with their independent material to protect it? Should they?

I think performers should do whatever they can to deflect piracy. I'm sure a lot of them have better avenues in which to distribute their product than I do. But maybe this could catch on. Who knows?

You’re an outspoken believer in fighting piracy and advocating for the adult industry. In these dire times of free online clips, Cal-OSHA’s interference, anti-porn activism… What do you think the industry can do stick up for itself?

I think the first step is just to speak up in general. Be conscious that you represent a very visible, but somewhat ostracized minority. If you like what you do and want to continue doing it, let people know you work a legitimate job and contribute something to society. You don't have to walk around with a sign attached to your forehead. But people are interested in porn stars, so there are plenty of outlets in which to deflect negative impressions and correct flat-out fallacies. Even if it the mainstream press seems to bury this stuff, the more of it out there, the better.

If you're really interested in sex work activism, there are a number of organizations you can become involved with like the Free Speech Coalition (FSC) and the Sex Workers Outreach Program (SWOP). 

How can it change to make the most of new technology and changes ideas of intellectual property?

Good question. I'm trying to figure this out too.

And yet, while you support the industry vocally and openly, you’re also very candid about your reservations about it: you blog about the fine line between empowerment and degradation and ask other performers about their experiences. It’s kind of surprising that your recalcitrance hasn’t gotten you more negative attention. How do you explain your popularity in the industry and with fans despite your conflicts?

Look, bad stuff goes on in this industry and it's not always a fun job. But I'm pretty sure this is the case with any line of work. Sometimes I get completely jaded and hate my fucking job. Other times, it's the best thing in the world.

My honesty in regards to how I feel about the industry is something I think people can relate to because it is so honest. And at the end of the day, it's not really about the industry, but about how I feel about my own life, how I treat other people, and how they treat each other. The context may be foreign, but the themes of my short stories are something most people can latch on to (I think).

No one can be positive all of the time. I think my audience understands that.

Ok, ok, enough with the long thinky questions. I read on your blog a revelation something similar to one I had on my own recent European vacation: the world isn’t all sex and porn. For us degenerates, it’s important to keep that in mind. So… Tell me something: when you come home at night and are finished with your performing, art films, and super-smart blogging… What do you do with yourself?

I like to read, I like to spend time with my girlfriend, and I like to play music. I actually have a two-man band that I started with fellow performer, Chad Alva. We put some demos up a couple months ago and are working on getting our live show together. It's called Children. You can find some rough demos here:

What have you been reading lately?

I'm reading a novel called 2666 by Roberto Bolano.

Listening to?

My girlfriend has been introducing me to a lot of electronic music lately. One of the better acts I've seen live is a dubstep DJ called Rusko. At home, I've been listening to more minimal techno like Richie Hawtin.
As for the stuff I've discovered on my own, the new Black Dahlia Murder album is frequenting my playlist, as is a short EP by a band called Light Asylum.


I recently got back from a vacation, and have been actively staying away from my television. I watched half of a movie called Ex-Drummer the other night, and I plan to finish it soon. But I haven't been watching anything really.

The last show I was really into was Ancient Aliens.

If the porn industry totally collapsed tomorrow, what would you do to make a living? First gut-reaction answer.

I would start bugging my film school friends for any leads in the mainstream world. In all likelihood, I would be a production assistant on some low-budget, Hollywood movie.

What if you won $5 million on the same day that aliens landed and said they’d blow up the planet in two days: what would you do with the money?

Give it away and run into the forest? I don't know. It seems like not enough time to do anything really interesting with that kind of money.

Pop quiz: what movie is that question from?

I honestly have no idea. [Editorial note: It’s from Heathers.]

Ok, ok, I’m done. Any big movies coming our or projects you’re working on I can share with readers?

I'm about to start editing a movie directed by Lily LaBeau and Lou Charmelle that we shot in Ibiza.
There's a music video project that is in the works for my band, though that may take a few months to get off the ground.

I'm still performing in a bunch of pornos. I think there's some stuff coming out through Smitten Kitten sometime soon that was directed by Tristan Taormino. I have a feeling it turned out pretty well.
I also had a small sex role in the upcoming Star Wars XXX parody, which blows my mind in more than one way.

Check out Danny in his own words on his blog, Trve West Coast Fiction, and in his many movies, and his band, and his new film This is Love, and everything!

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