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Tom DeLonge: “This Has Never Been Done In The History Of Rock ‘N’ Roll.”

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 11 November at 18.08

Angels & Airwaves' forthcoming record 'The Dream Walker' isn't just an album, it's the first part of a huge project that takes in a novel, comic books and a feature length film. To begin with. Sound confusing? You bet it does, so we chatted with Tom DeLonge about Angels & Airwaves, Poet Anderson and Blink-182.


FIRST THING'S FIRST: YOU HAVE A NEW MEMBER IN YOUR RANKS. HOW HAS HE AFFECTED ‘THE DREAM WALKER’?

“Ilan [Rubin] is the best multi-instrumentalist I’ve met in my life. He plays drums with Nine Inch Nails and he’s an incredible drummer, but he’s better at guitar than I am and he’s the best piano player that I’ve ever seen in my life! I grew up in a punk rock scene that was built as a vehicle to express emotion, but Ilan grew up as a fanboy of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Queen. When you mix those two worlds together, musically it became much more diverse. Ilan is the kind of guy that’ll sit there and read a manual until 4 in the morning on how to create his own synthesizer sound through a bunch of oscillators and I’m the kind of guy that’ll throw a bunch of paint on a canvas and go, ‘Wow, that’s fucking cool!’ so we’re polar opposites and I think that’s why we became a really good pairing.”

SO WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE REST OF THE BAND OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS?
“David’s still here, Ilan is my writing partner and Matt had a third child. Matt about a year ago – maybe longer – had to move to the east coast to be closer to his family. Now they have three kids, so at that moment he was kind of at a crossroads and I said, ‘Okay, let’s take our time and when it comes to a point where you have to make a decision on what you want to do, whether you want to be in this full-time or you have to be at home for your three children’. We just took our time and not too long ago he just said, ‘Dude, I can’t. I have an infant and I have two kids under the age of 4…’ It was a hard decision for him, but he knew it was better for his family. I think Matt is in a better situation now. He’s not travelling around all the time with babies at home that need a dad. So there’s no real story there, and David [Kennedy, guitar] is still here. Everyone’s running around going, ‘What’s going on with David?’. It’s just when it came to writing the record, Ilan and I did that together. There are so many variables when we go into the album. All these things that we’re doing, everyone sits in a spot. Even Matt was running the website for a while and editing things, David was remixing things and building things for the [live]show… everyone’s involved.”

YOU HAD EDDIE BRECKENRIDGE IN FOR A WHILE, TOO…
“Eddie Breckenridge – the bass player from Thrice – is still here too. I think people are just confused. I get it, but I try to tell people to look at the whole project, not at any one piece. This isn’t just a band, it’s a little bit of a moving target and a much bigger project. The biggest thing is that people need to know that the whole Poet project is not from the band.”

SO THE ALBUM ISN’T ALL THAT’S COMING…
“On this project, there’s stuff going off. We’re writing a novel that’ll come out in Spring, The comics drop at Christmas, the apparel and collectibles will start coming out in the New Year, the album is coming out in December and the feature film will follow that. It’s never been done this way.”


HOW DOES THIS PROJECT COMPARE TO EVERYTHING ELSE YOU’VE EVER TACKLED?
“Artistically, it’s the most challenging. This has never been done in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Pink Floyd did this amazing movie and had $20million to do that, bands have done a comic book but we’re the first to do an actual narrative.”

WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND ‘THE DREAM WALKER’?
“It’s about two brothers who are orphans, one of which goes into a coma. The main character – Poet – believes he can reach his brother in the dream world."

WHERE DID THIS CHARACTER COME FROM?
“Poet Anderson I dreamed up about 15 years ago or so in Paris. I was up really late in a hotel room and I just dreamed up this little character. The idea around the dream thing was from when I saw a documentary on nightmares preparing human beings for real world events. That really struck a chord with me and I wanted to create stories about it.”


Watch the trailer for Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker.

IS POET ANDERSON’S STORY GOING TO BE A ONE-OFF?
“All of these concepts that we’re launching with To The Stars – which Angels & Airwaves will have soundtracks for – all of these concepts are going to go on for generations. There will be many books, many movies, many different series of comic books and it’s more akin to what Marvel are doing than anything else.”

THAT’S A PRETTY BIG STATEMENT…
“The company that we launched last year – To The Stars – is now a record company, movie studio and publisher internationally. All of it.”

WHEN SOMETHING HAS THAT SORT OF SCOPE, DOES THAT MEAN THIS MIGHT OUTLIVE YOU?
“This isn’t a vanity project. This isn’t all about me. This is a collection of artists working together and that’s why we say Angels & Airwaves is not a band, it’s an art project. It’s totally fine that one day Poet Anderson will one day be gigantic and will have 30 people working on it.”

WHO’S WRITING THE NOVEL?
“Suzanne Young is a bestselling author who just wrote a book called The Program, which was a huge book last year. I got in touch with her and it was kind of a match made in heaven in terms of the pairing of her kind of skillset – the darker, cerebral type of young adult fiction – to what we’re doing with Poet Anderson so instantly it was like we were off to the races. She’s deep in the book now and it’s being co-written with myself.”

HOW ARE YOU BALANCING ALL OF THIS WITH BLINK-182?
“[We’re talking about] building websites and getting ready to start recording a record, so that’s all coming, but there’s no timeline at the moment. We’ve just got to see how it rolls. We’ll either move really fast or take our time and go slow. We’re just getting to that point of starting.”

ARE YOU FINDING IT TRICKY TO BALANCE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE ON YOUR PLATE?
“I’ve been working on this project in particular for two years now. It goes in spurts. The Angels & Airwaves and the To The Stars projects are full-time for me, but the Blink spurt is coming soon. The spurt is coming… now that’s a very Blink thing to say.”

Angels & Airwaves' fifth album 'The Dream Walker' is out on December 09 via To The Stars Records.

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