Tom Delonge talks Angels & Airwaves, where nightmares, science fiction, violence and magic coexist

October 22, 2014 by Ryan J. Downey

Tom Delonge talks Angels & Airwaves, where nightmares, science fiction, violence and magic coexist

There’s no new A Nightmare On Elm Street installment this Halloween, but the trailer for The Dream Walker introduces the world to a new dreamscape and a post-modern hero named Poet Anderson. Years before the iPhone and just a few months after the dawn of YouTube, Blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge had a broad, multiplatform vision for his project Angels & Airwaves. An ambitious project spanning at least one new album (slated for release in December) and an animated short film, The Dream Walker blends science fiction, fantasy and action with a bit of philosophy. In true DeLonge form of go big or go away, plans for novels (both standard and graphic), comic books, a big budget live-action movie and much more are all underway. As mixing entered the eleventh hour on the collection of songs he made with multi-instrumentalist Ilan Rubin (who manned the drums on the most recent albums from Paramore and Nine Inch Nails), DeLonge took a break from the unending whirlwind of creativity to tell us more.

Watch the newly released trailer for Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker below:

The last two AVA albums and accompanying film—Love and Love: Part Two—explored the theme of human consciousness. The Dream Walker deals with the connection between dreams and reality. What got you thinking about dreams?
TOM DELONGE: Dreams came into my mind when I saw a documentary about nightmares. Nightmares are basically tools to help prepare you for real world events. I’m also a stargazer. I would sit and think about how if there’s no linear way to travel to these really distant places, who’s to say when you dream, you’re not there? I worked on two different screenplays, one more sort of coming-of-age and one more science fiction, both about playing with frequencies and traveling to places through consciousness. This rich story developed for what became [The Dream Walker protagonist], Poet Anderson.

Tell me about the look and feel of the dream world in The Dream Walker.
The goal was to have a place where nightmares, science fiction, fast-moving violence and landscapes, and wondrous magic can all happen in one place. I wanted the dream world to look like Blade Runner. What you don’t see in the trailer—which is the main thrust of the books and feature film—is the Dream Walker. All of this concept art we have sitting here in the studio, those are the Dream Walkers, which is what Poet eventually becomes. 

What’s the significance of the orb on the album cover?
Dream Walkers are good, but there are bad guys, too. They’re all basically fighting over you when you sleep, to influence decisions you’ll make when you wake up based on stuff you don’t even remember from your dreams. [The orb] is a halo, this ball of light, spinning around them. It’s their soul. It protects them and is used as a way to fight their enemies.

It’s exciting to see you finally able to realize this kind of stuff.
Yes. Angels & Airwaves have always had this ethos about seeing the world in a different way and making your experience unique to yourself. The difference now is we have a company called To The Stars, which is up and running and staffed. We have the resources to do this correctly. We’re still a small, boutique organization, but we have a New York Times bestselling author writing the [first] novel; we have comics and graphic novels with international distribution coming out this fall. The second draft for the live action film is almost finished and we’ll be pitching that around the end of the year or beginning of next year. I want to do some animated features, as well, because [the short is] so fucking cool.

It’s very cool. The trailer has a little bit of a Tron vibe, to me.
It does. I took my favorite characters and I smashed them all together. Boba Fett, Tron –

That’s the same way to make a great band!  
It is! When I write songs, I’m just trying to be like the guys I looked up to as a teenager. I always wanted to be in Descendents. [Laughs.]

The trick is to mash-up those influences to make something new.
That’s the goal, yes. I’ve always thought that if you get the right elements and you mix them together, you get something that’s definitely a new twist. That’s the idea of [what we’ve been creating]. This is like taking all the elements of all the greats and smashing it into one world and making it a bit more violent, scarier and faster-paced. And then we provide a soundtrack that’s very modern, plus a novel that’s very rich in detail—that’s winning. [Laughs.] It’s everyone working together on the same thing. That’s where I saw art going. I saw a kid using a computer to record an album in his living room, then using the same computer to make a movie and then doing them both together and putting it out. That’s the future of art, in my opinion.  It might not happen for a little while. It may not be on the level of an Iron Man movie or something like that. But I think it’s going to come. And we plan to be on the tip of the spear with what we are doing here. ALT

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interview tom delonge angels and airwaves

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