Christopher Zeischegg, a writer and frontman of music group Chiildren, is also known as Danny Wylde. In an interview with Young Space magazine, he spoke about his new book — the novel “Body to Job”, his attitude to literature and the writing process, and gave an advice to those who begin their creative path.
Your novel “Body to Job”, which tells about the inside of the porn industry, was based on your blog. How difficult was the writing process? Can it be called the result of a career porn performer?
“Body to Job” is a memoir about my life in the porn industry – with a few sections that drift into fiction.
I’ve mentioned, in several interviews, that pieces of the book originally appeared on my old blog. But I wouldn’t say that “Body to Job” was based on my blog. It’s just that my blog was also about my experiences in the adult industry. I didn’t need to write about the same thing twice.
Was the writing process difficult? For me, all writing is difficult. I like the thought of writing. I like being done for the day. It’s like going to the gym. It ultimately makes me feel good, but I don’t always enjoy the act itself.
If you’re asking, “Was it emotionally difficult?” Only at the beginning; when conceptualizing; when thinking about a moment of conflict, of failed love, of losing my job, or whatever it was. But I can’t be in that space when I write. I have to think about the words and how they sound together. Not about love or sex or wanting to kill myself. If I thought about those things while writing, nothing would get accomplished.
In the novel “Body to Job” you have a frank conversation with the reader, complementing real stories with fictional inserts. Do you think it is important for readers and viewers of adult videos to understand what is going on behind the scenes? Can such knowledge destroy the halo of mystery and romanticism, and is this halo necessary in principle?
I don’t think it’s important for viewers of adult videos to understand what is going on behind the scenes. Of course, I believe that viewers should have some basic media literacy, and understand that they’re watching a produced fantasy.
There may have been some instances, when I first wrote a story for my blog, where I wanted to make a point. I probably had some political agenda: to fight stigma or rebuke anti-porn feminism. These days, I couldn’t give less of a shit. Not that those issues aren’t still relevant. I just don’t think that a piece of art or media is an effective political tool. At least, I’m no longer interested in trying to change someone’s point of view with a book.
I’m more concerned with the quality of writing and whether or not the reader gets bored.
To answer your question about knowledge, particularly behind the scenes porn knowledge: I think that there may be some truth to the idea that certain knowledge can destroy the mystery and romanticism of porn. I can barely watch porn for pleasure anymore. But that may have to do with my regular exposure to porn production and post-production. After sixteen hours on set, lighting or running sound, the last thing I want to do is watch this stuff.
You share your names in different areas of work, what is the reason for this choice? Does the name Danny Wylde participate in any other projects besides the porn industry?
I just changed all of my social media handles, so that they no longer reflect the name Danny Wylde or @dannywylde. There used to be some benefit, such as a fanbase who only knew me by that name. But my personal work has less and less to do with porn.
These days, when I write about porn or sex work, I’m not attempting to make something erotic.
I have an OnlyFans account with jerkoff videos that is still linked to the name, Danny Wylde. My books are credited as “Christopher Zeischegg aka Danny Wylde,” but I hope to knock that off on the next release.
As far as I know, you work on a new book. Tell us what it will be about.
I’m not done and it hasn’t been attached to a publisher. So I’m hesitant to give out too much information.
I can say that it’s a little bit of auto-fiction and a little bit of horror.
Will there be a continuation of the direction given by the novel “Come to my Brother”, stories about vampires? Do you think that this trend needs a fresh look after the acclaimed novels of Stephenie Meyer?
Probably not. If there’s an opportunity that makes sense, I’m not against revisiting material about vampires. But “Come to my Brother” is a very young novel. It doesn’t reflect what I think about these days. I started writing it before I’d heard of Stephenie Meyer. The popularity of the “Twilight” series made me embarrassed to talk about my novel for years after it was published. People began to associate all vampire fiction with “Twilight.”
Obviously, I prefer the aesthetic I dabbled with – informed by writers like Poppy Z. Brite – to whatever Stephenie Meyer was doing. But I don’t need to spend another year or two living with that material.
Christopher at Lambda LitFest — Los-Angeles. Photo:Instagram
What does literature mean to you? When did you first think about writing books?
I don’t know what it means to me, exactly. I’ve made literary work my primary mode of artistic expression because it’s a solitary act. I don’t have to work with anyone until the editing and publication process. With music and film and most other mediums, I need money or equipment or software. I need people who are willing to collaborate with me.
With writing, it’s just me and a notepad. I can be self-indulgent and work at any pace I want – unless it’s a commercial project, of course. But my books are not written with anyone’s permission or with a business plan in mind. That all comes at the end.
When did I first think about writing books? Probably in high school. I wrote a novel-length manuscript when I was a teenager. It was horrible. No one will ever see it.
Your projects: literary, musical, cinematographic are united by an interest in horror. Tell us will this topic move further in your work?
Absolutely. I think that for most people – as we age – our art, taste, sense of aesthetics, and so on, has a lot to do with nostalgia; with what moved us in our formative years.
Aggressive music (mostly underground metal) and horror movies were my “thing” as a kid. I still love the theatricality of a black metal performance; how violence and mythology are used to convey every day anguish: loss, depression, loneliness, etc…
My novel, “The Wolves That Live in Skin and Space,” is a kind of existential horror story. “Body to Job” veers towards horror and in the final chapters. My next novel takes that horror aesthetic further and into supernatural territory.
Is it possible to say that your books are literary adaptations of hardcore? How much the work of groups such as Minor Threat, Youth Of Today and 7 Seconds had influence on you as an author?
I’m not really into hardcore or punk music. There are bands, like Converge – that mix hardcore and metal, that have influenced me. But most of the music I listened to as a teenager and young adult was metal: death, black, metalcore, etc…
Hardcore shares a certain sensibility with underground metal. Both genres are aggressive, emotional, and embedded in DIY culture. The distinctions may be irrelevant to someone who didn’t grow up in either of those scenes. But if we’re going to be strict about it: Whatever influence my work pulls from music, it probably pulls from metal.
You play in music group «Chiildren», traveling on tour with concerts. Have you thought about describing this experience in the novel?
Yes, I’m in an industrial metal band called Chiildren. We barely tour. The only tour we went on in 2018 was ill-attended. We’re not a very popular band. I don’t have much to write about in regards to touring. Chiildren is more of an audio-visual project for me than a touring act.
Working on a book means some space to the author, working on a song is always a limited number of words and time. How ideological can your songs be considered in this regard?
I don’t think Chiildren’s songs are ideological at all. The lyrics aren’t important. They’re mostly dark inside jokes, delivered flatly. I’d prefer that no one know what I’m screaming about. It’s more about the mood that we create.
Aside from one Rihanna cover we recorded, the vocals are mostly accentuations to the instrumentation.
You are a very brave person, developing your abilities in various fields of creativity. What advice can you give to youth, just starting their journey?
In my opinion, one of the greatest gifts porn gave me was time. I made relatively large amounts of money working very few hours. So when I graduated school, I had these extra few years to explore my ideas in the form of music, writing, and so on. I was unencumbered by the stress of working a full-time job.
That has since changed. Some weeks, I work 80 hours. It sucks. But that’s what I have to do right now to make a living in Los Angeles. The only reason I keep writing is because it’s a habit I developed when I wasn’t so fucked by the obligations adulthood.
My best advice is to do as much work as you can in the time before you’re buried in financial responsibility and debt. So that your art, or whatever’s important to you, becomes a part of your routine, no matter what else is going on. Or marry someone rich.
I’ve learned that most of the ‘interesting’ artists I looked up to when I was young didn’t make money doing their ‘interesting’ art. They were either rich to begin with or figured out a steady side-hustle. Figure out your side-hustle (because poverty is not fun). Make your art a habit; something you can’t do without.