After four years in the making the Angels & Airwaves guitarist talks about the band’s forthcoming (and finally completed) movie ‘Love’.
On Monday March 21 Angels & Airwaves will finally release their film 'Love' as part of a deluxe boxset containing the original 'Love' album, the movie and a second record featuring new material and songs from the film.
Originally unveiled as the band wrote and promoted second album 'I-Empire' in 2007, the movie spent four long years in production as many doubted whether the band and director William Eubank could realise their highly ambitious story of space stations and civil war battles. As praise floods in for the project ahead of its debut at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival next month Rock Sound spoke to Angels & Airwaves vocalist and film architect Tom DeLonge about the struggles and triumphs of his most ambitious undertaking to date.
It seems fair to say that this film has been an epic quest for all involved. Tom DeLonge:"It is when you know how it has been made. Basically at any time in the last two or three years people have been building space stations or excavating large areas of the countryside so we can film a civil war. Doing this movie has been insane and when people see it they will realise why it took so long to make, hopefully they will also be surprised at what we managed to pull off."
What was the most ambitious part of the film practically? "Shooting a civil war battle. Any war scene is difficult because you have the danger of explosions and any number of actors running about, on top of that you then have problems with the fidelity of what you are capturing because of smoke, dust and flames. Added to that is sound; how do you get sound design on top of everything else happening around you? Scenes like that are the most expensive thing you can do. It took six months to plan, to dig up the countryside and dig a big mineshaft, then it took our director, his brother and sometimes his mom a few more months to build and paint cannons made from scratch from items we bought at the local hardware store. When you see the final product it looks like a big budget movie, but only two people built most of it."
Why did you build the sets? "Money. We were going to rent the space station from the movie Apollo 13 but in the end we built our own instead. The set we have in the movies took eight months to build in the driveway of our director’s parents house in a rural area of LA."
Was it maddening to make this film? Did you ever regret taking it on or was this always what AvA was supposed to be? "It was both. It was maddening to jump into something like that and not actually know what it would take to pull off. We unleashed a monster and I was concerned that I had to deliver what I had been promising my fans for so long but Angels was always supposed to be very ambitious and set for world domination. No band does this sort of shit because it is too hard, but that’s exactly why we did it. That’s what we want to be known for, for taking those types of risk."
It's crass to talk money, but it's a very interesting subject, in broad terms how much went in to making the film? "We have spent around $500,000 to 600,000 on the movie, about what we spend on a record. That’s why it took so long to make; you can rent a space station for a few hundred grand but for $60,000 you can build your own if you can spare six months to do it. Panavision gave us a few million dollars of camera gear for almost nothing as they believed in our film, what it was about, the premise and the philosophy behind it. They also believed in our director Will who used to work there, they knew he was a prodigy. A lot of weird magic came together to help us make this thing, when we hired Will I did not know he could write, build these sets or that he worked for Panavision; too many things were laid out in front of us so I knew we had to do it no matter what. Without everything it would have cost somewhere near seven million dollars to make this film."
'Love' is out March 21st, Angels & Airwaves play the following UK shows (supported by Neon Trees) next month:
01 - GLASGOW O2 ABC
02 - MANCHESTER Academy
03 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy
04 - LONDON HMV Forum
On the anniversary of the release of 'Death Of A Bachelor', take a trip intro the Rock Sound archives and to Brendon Urie's house to find out how Panic! At The Disco's latest (maybe greatest?) album came together.