Pressparty talks to Angels & Airwaves and Blink-182 star Tom DeLonge
Tom DeLonge isn't just a member of hugely successful punks Blink-182 - he's also the main man behind grand rockers Angels & Airwaves. We caught up with DeLonge to find out more as they prepare for appearances at this year's Reading and Leeds festivals in August.
Do you think Angels & Airwaves are more of a live band or are you better heard on record?
I think it has definitely always been a pretty amazing live thing, with the connection that we have with our audience. I think this year we have really solidified what we are known for live and how to present our band in a really cool and interesting way. It's taken us a little bit of time, like any band, but I think we're really doing something kind of special at this point.
It seems like visuals and image is quite a big part of the band?
Absolutely. Many years ago we decided that we would always want to accompany all of our music with something visual, and our live show is no different. We really take a lot of time on having a lighting show that is very intricate.
What would you say to people who think that emphasis on visuals detracts from the music?
If you were to notice at a show the amount of lighting we bring and the intricate programming to every piece of the show...and we don't take any breaks either during a show, so it is one continuous arc. And very theatrical. It's got a very cinematic feel and the band is really into that type of environment on stage.
For someone who hasn't really heard much of the band, how would you describe Angels & Airwaves?
I think musically first and foremost we'd be described as an atmospheric rock band, but I think that a lot of what we're known for is being an art project. We have spent a lot of time doing different types of media that go along with our music. We've put out a feature film, and we're working on two more at the moment, and there are a lot of other things - animations, television shows. I think that if someone is wondering exactly what Angels & Airwaves is then it's better described as an art project. And I think that's what gives us something a little bit more interesting than all the other bands out there.
I'm guessing you enjoy more creative control in Angels & Airwaves than your other band, Blink-182?
I think Angels & Airwaves is a total expression of me and myself - I really get to be myself. I get to try out new things and really put myself out there, I guess emotionally and artistically, and that's what brings me a lot of satisfaction.
Do you think Blink-182 represents the person that you are just now?
I think that everybody has a lot of different sides to them, and I definitely think that shows a piece of me when I was younger, for sure. It's always fun to have that. I think that one of ways that you stay happy is to have a little bit of eternal youth in your system.
Do you get annoyed at people who always just associate Blink-182 with immature jokes?
Well, that's what we did. That's what we are known for. That's how we made our career, by being fun and having fun.
So would you say you're perhaps the happiest you've been in a long while because you've got both bands you can tap in to at the moment?
Absolutely. I feel enormously satisfied artistically, and it's a big deal to be a musician in a band and feel that way. Not many people have that chance.
Which band do you think comes more naturally to you?
They both have their moments. Naturally I think if people hear the last Blink record, they'll hear a lot of who I am now, which I think is representative of Angels & Airwaves. It's kind of how I write music these days.
Personally, how long do you think you'll keep on playing music?
I'll do it for my entire life, absolutely. I definitely think I'll be doing this in my grave. Just don't get buried next to me.
I can't really imagine you doing Blink-182 when you're 80 years old though...
It would be weird saying d*ck jokes when we're 80, but we'll see.
Any new albums planned for Angels & Airwaves?
This year we're releasing the score from our movie. We're also releasing a remix record, which will be a large group of songs we've remixed ourselves along with some other people, towards the end of the year. And we'll be recording a live album and live DVD this year for release next year.
You've got the Reading and Leeds festivals too. I'd never really associate Angels & Airwaves with festivals...
We're not really made for festivals, but it's an incredible festival so we're very happy to be part of it.
Do you think you have the kind of music that could win over a festival crowd of people unfamiliar with your music?
I hope so. It's all about having something that's a little bit different than everyone else. At a festival you don't really have much control. It's more about being on the flyer a lot of times than about actually performing, just for people to know that you're part of something big.
So there's a very bright future for Angels & Airwaves?
Oh, yeah. World domination. We're not stopping until this becomes one of the biggest projects on the globe.
Watch the video for Angels & Airwaves 'Surrender' below:
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