Punk rock superstar Tom Delonge rose to fame with Blink-182 in the late 1990’s selling over 28 million albums worldwide but, after they announced their indefinite hiatus in 2005, Delonge formed Angels and Airwaves. The band produced a different style of music to Blink-182 which has a deeper more mature meaning, voyaging into the world of love. Now seven years later Blink-182 are back together, after a four year hiatus, and Angels and Airwaves are touring their fourth album ‘Love Part II’ which was released with the feature length film ‘Love’.
As we met up with Tom in Manchester, on the last leg of the Angels and Airwaves European tour, it was clear he has two very different lifestyles; the matured Angels and Airwaves front man, who set up his own company To The Stars, which produces anything and everything, which can be labelled as ‘art’ from films to music albums and even websites obsessed with alien and UFO conspiracy tales. Then there is the younger Tom Delonge, the Blink-182 guitarist cracking d**k jokes and making jokes about making love to grannies.
We chatted with Tom Delonge about the past, the present and the future of Angels and Airwaves, the mysterious Poet Anderson and To The Stars;
It’s been one big long tour for you guys (Angels and Airwaves) so far this year America, Australia, Europe and now the UK, how has the tour been so far, have there been any specific highlights?
The whole year has been really good so far, no specific highlights, but I think the shows this year are the most passionate and most exciting shows we’ve ever done. I think this year people are really understanding what we’re doing and what we are trying to accomplish it’s really coming through, everything’s come together, the way we are presenting the music, the interaction with the fans, it’s a lot of fun, this is the best year so far.
Is this just due to the fact that the band has more material now?
The way I tend to think music works you have to be consistent, consistent that you care, consistent that you’re going to grow, consistent that you are going to get better. Then the fans will show their consistency and understanding, showing up and being a part of it. I think we are kind of at that point where it is really going to exponentially start to happen for us.
You are playing the Reading and Leeds Festivals in August, you played the festivals in 2007 with Angels and Aiwaves and in 2000, 2003 and 2010 with Blink-182, are you looking forward to going back?
Yeah, it’s nice to be a part of it because they are legendary festivals over in America, to be a part of it, it’s a really big profile thing to have your band a part of it. We’re not much of a festival band but we’ll do our best and we’re just happy to have the chance to play it. You know bands perform at festivals for a lot of different reasons, one definitely at our level, it’s to get your name out there and to be part of something that’s big and kind of legendary in its own rights. Sometimes bands do it just to get paid, we’re doing it because we are trying to grow.
What is your favourite AVA (Angels and Airwaves) track to play live?
They all serve a different purpose, playing a song like ‘The Adventure’ is always a joy and also playing something like ‘Surrender’ is really passionate. It’s where you really connect to the fans with what the songs about. We have a lot of those where each song represents something that’s really within us that we’re trying to get a point across.
Does that make it hard to pick a set-list for the live shows because so many of the songs have different meanings?
It is, yeah. I think the challenge for us is creating a show that is diverse enough to show all the different types of music that we do but also comes off strong enough so that people, who have never seen the band live before, have an energetic rock show, so we don’t want to many slow songs that kind of thing and we don’t take any breaks, like the whole show is linked together so there’s no stopping and its all got to work musically too.
How different was the process of releasing Love and then Love Part II through your own record label, To The Stars, compared to the first two Angels albums? Was this a challenge?
It wasn’t that much of a challenge, it was more of challenge to assemble the company, To The Stars. The challenge in that was trying to understand what the role of the company was. It’s not just a record label, it’s a production company. We’re not just a band, it’s an art project. We needed a group of people that could put out movies and that could put out albums and put out merchandise and different forms of media, animation and television shows and all these different things that we had aspirations to do. That was a bit of a challenge, a little bit stressful but recording the music and getting that out there that was probably the easier of all of the things we’ve had to do, even though we are still in the process of getting it out there.
Have you started writing any new material to follow up Love Part II?
Yeah, we have two movies in the works, we launched a website called StrangeTimes.com, which is the next big art project for Angels and there will be a lot of things associated with Strange Times. The second one is Poet Anderson, that’s about dreams and that’s going to be a really big project but that’s a few years off yet. So we’re working on a lot of different stuff.
Can you reveal anything else about Poet Anderson?
Yeah we will be releasing some information about Poet (Anderson) at the end of this year around Christmas.
You mentioned you have another two films on the pipeline does that reflect the success of Love (The Film)?
Love still has a ways to go, we haven’t released it in most of the world, it comes out in the next few weeks here (The UK) but in the film industry it was enormously successful by the critics and other film makers, so it has given us the opportunity to get a lot of attention for what we are doing next. Today I’ve been fielding a lot of those emails, choosing a partner for the next one and it’ll be fun.
When you are not working with AVA or blink what are you doing?
To The Stars is an everyday thing, gearing up on these films and these different kind of media ideas and partnerships and plans, it’s a full-time commitment and hobby.
Could you see it expanding far enough so that you could take a band under your wing?
I’ve thought about it and every couple of weeks I go f*** man maybe but I’m so busy, I do want some other band calling me saying ‘why are we not big in Germany?’ you know, I don’t f****** know. So I don’t know if I want that stress, but I do like a lot of bands and I would love to be a part of what they do, I just don’t know whether it’s for me or not.