RockYourLife! had the opportunity to meet Angels & Airwaves few minutes before their show at Le Bataclan. Towards backstage where Matt Wachter (bassist) and Ilan Rubin (drummer) are waiting for us. While Ilan seems to have a rest in the sofa, Matt is listening to old Dr. Dre stuff. Just arrived, a MyRock Magazine on the table, Matt took the One Direction poster and asked us who it was. We laughed to start with and we then introduced him quickly the new English boysband. He looks really cool and relaxed. Before starting the interview, he hardly managed to wake up Ilan a bit jet lagged.
How are you?
Matt Wachter (bass) : I’m ok thanks! Can we leave this song while we talk?
Ilan Rubin (drums) : Oh yes, brilliant idea! Leave the music during an interview. (laugh)
M : Nobody asked you dude! No one ask you! You’re not in this. (laugh) Anyway, do you guys want something to drink?
Why not, thanks! Are you happy to be back in France?
M : Oh yes!
I : Absolutely! It’s my first time in France…
M : Is it?
I : …with Angels & Airwaves.
M : Oh, I was like “What? No?”.
Do you like France?
M : Yes, we do. We always have great shows when we come to France. I think the venue burned down last time we wanted to play here.
There is actually a venue which burned recently called l’Elysée Montmartre but I’m not sure it’s that one. You played in Paris last year in La Cigale.
M : We did! It was La Cigale we played! So it weren’t that venue that burned down. Anyway, we have great shows here, at least when one of them doesn’t burn down. (laugh)
We know Atom left the band few months ago. You’re in now (Ilan). How is it?
I : I’m in now yes. It’s going quiet well.
M : Good answer!
Did you start to write yet with Angels & Airwaves?
I : Yes, there is some feature releases that have been mentionned, some score, some stuff from the movie and some remix stuff. I’ve definitely kept busy since I’ve join the band.
We know you have several projects on the cards at the moment. There is talk of a new film and a cartoon – can you tell us a bit more about it?
M : Yes. All the things have been worked on. I don’t know how big it’s going to get but actually the idea is to make a movie with every record. Nothing has been started yet but it’s planned.
About the film “Love”, it’s a bit complicated…
M : Yes. (laugh)
Are the next one going to be as complicated?
M : No, no, no. The next one is not going to be a cerebral and deep you know. I think it’s going to be a little more easily digestable for the people.
Talking about “Love”, did the film came up to your expectations?
M : Yes, it did! It was five years in a making so we definitely kind of went through it. It’s just a very long process, a lot of evolution. And I think the final project, everybody were pleased with.
Where does this particular passion for video come from?
M : You know, to be honest with you, we didn’t have that much to do with the fact of making a movie. Our part had more to do with the music. So when it came to effort filming the movie, we were pretty hands off. Tom had lots of conversations with the director about the larger scope of the idea of the movie but we didn’t do much more than the music.
You’re going to play five songs of “Love Part II” tonight. How did you choose the songs you were going to put in the setlist?
M : Now we’ve got four record to pick from for our live shows. It just comes down when we think about the setlist, we try to create a kind of emotional ligne you know.
Critter, the 5th member of AvA is no longer with us anymore. As a way of paying hommage to him, could you quickly summarise his character for us and remind us what role he played in Angels & Airwaves projet?
M : Yes, he very much was the 5th member you know. For the band he was kind of our muse. He was the guy when you had an idea he was taking your idea and… Making it better. (laugh) You know, he was like “Ok! Well, just sit down and let’s record it!”. And I always said that after he was putting his finger Critter on it, he “Critterised” it. (laugh) Then he was just making everything better, I don’t know ! And for me personally, I won’t speak for Tom… I feel like he gave us the confidence to just do something that was great and not just good! Going in to every session, every recording, anything, there was always a bit like nerves, like “don’t want to do this right now” and he was the one who were like “Come one! Stop mucking about!” (laugh) Yes… It’s been a strange year for sure. He should be celebrated. Lot of people don’t know about him and people don’t ask questions about him but, he was the 5th member, he really was. He was a huge part of this band.
Can explain us quickly the important place you attach to your Modlife?
M : Yes, it’s just hard to be present a lot but for us, it’s a good way to stay in touch with our fans and keep them kind of involve in our world and what we’re doing all the time. It’s a great platform for that.
Talking about communication, Tom’s now a kind of ambassador of “Keep A Breast“. Could you tell us a bit more about that foundation?
M : “Keep A Breast” is a great non profit organisation of San Diego. And L.A. now. It’s just a way to raise breast cancer awareness. And we actually share our headquarters with them, we’re in the same building. So it’s cool, we’ve really built a great relationship with them, we became really good friends with them so we alway try to support their cause. And it’s an easy way to make it, they always have people on tour and all. I mean, I guess the bracelet stuff and the shirts stuff, it’s cool, that’s punk rock! That’s what get people intention you know!
About “Strange Times“, it’s presented as Tom’s website but we’ve heard that few things concerning the band will be put on too. Could we know a bit more about that?
M : Yes, it’s the band’s website actually. I mean Tom’s behind it, it’s definitely an extension of his fascination with the other world and parallel and all but we’re all interested in it. I mean, in different capacities, Tom is definitely the one who obscess everyone. (laugh) It’s kind of impossible to be in this band and not hear about the latest conspiracy theory. (laugh) You know, we look at Angels & Airwaves as a community and “Strange Times” is kind of an extension of that.
Ilan, you’re ok with all that? (laugh)
M : Just say yes. (laugh)
I : Yes. Yes, I’m ok with it. “If we would written down and properly edit it…” (laugh)
(Tom comes in)
Tom Delonge (vocals) : What’s going on here? Is everybody ok? Nice to meet you! I don’t know but we have to play a show here tonight? (laugh)
Yes, we’ve heard about it! (laugh)
T : We’ve got to get this place free in something like five minutes if that’s cool? I’m not trying to be weird but I have to warm on my voice… And I have to drink a lot of alcool. (laugh)
T : Great! See you in five minutes then!
Then, turning to more recent events, draft SOPA/PIPA legislation, coupled with the dismantling of MegaUpload have sparked off discontent amongst internet users. “Love Part I” was available as a free download two years back. Did you take part in the debate which questioned the freedom of internet and copyright violation?
M : For me, all that’s too much around politics. Even if it does directly affect us, it’s not something that we concerne ourselves with. Without nowing that much in SOPA, we’re kind of somewhere in the middle because yes, obviously there is a sort of freedom. Bloggers should have the freedom to put up whatever they want. But also, an artist still needs to be payed then we’re somewhere in the middle. So, we want that what we do to get to as many people as possible. But we still need to make a living right? So, we’re really in kind of the middle of all that! Concerning “Love Part I”, it was just an experiment. For us, it was the first time we had an opportunity to put it on for free, then we thought “let’s try, let’s get the record as many people as possible”. And you know, it was great! We did over a million downloads. But what we then realised it’s that the record cost us a lot of money to make. We like “Oh, we’ll maybe do it differently next time” (laugh) But it was great, I mean, we’re glad we did it and I think it worked!
Still, about “Love Part I”, until the release of the boxset which united the two different parts, the album wasn’t actually physically available. The labels talk of the album being doomed. Do you share this point of view?
I : I personally don’t think so because, as we’ve seen over the past two or three years, vinyl has made a huge comeback. Then considering that it’s a more archaic format, I don’t see why the CD would be on its way out.
M : And I think for us, I mean personally, for me getting a record is part of a packaging, the photos, the artwork. You can’t have that with digital. Or you can, you can download the pictures and all on a pdf but it’s not the same than holding that paper, that packaging. You can’t reproduce that digitally. I hope it doesn’t go away you know, for me it’s kind of the romantic side of music, it’s part of the romance.
And to finish, there is a French festival called Rock En Seine. It’s exactly on the same weekend than Reading & Leeds Festival where you’re playing, can we hope to see you there?
M : Is it exactly on the same weekend? Then for doing Reading and Leeds I think it’s practically impossible for us.
I : You could do Reading, Leeds and there is that third day then… Hopefuly then. But I have no idea! Matt and me, we have both heard about festivals through Twitter and kids outside the venue. (laugh)
M : Yes, they were like “See you at Green Day then”, and we were like “What? What?”, we didn’t know anything about that! Then, if we’re able to do it, we will do it for sure!
(Tom comes back)
T : Alright guys, I love you, thank you for your time but I’ll need my bass player and my dressing room! (laugh)
M : Thank you guys!
Website : angelsandairwaves.com