Q&A: Angels & Airwaves Bassist Matt Wachter on Illegal Downloads, Tom vs. Jared, and DIY Punk"/>
While Tom DeLonge worked tirelessly to prove his post-Blink-182 incarnation would forever change rock music, Angels and Airwaves' lineup was filled with former members of Box Car Racer, The Offspring and 30 Seconds to Mars who created music flush with power chords and anthemic choruses. And the group's third album Love, a guitar-driven alt-rock record meshes with aural synth lines, was even available for free download on AvA's website.
Bassist Matt Wachter chatted with us over the phone last week about the new album, the band, and the tour that stops in Seattle at Showbox SoDo tonight.
Hey Matt, what are you up to today?
At the exact moment I got the call I was actually reviewing rehearsal tapes for the tour. There's nothing like last minute planning, right?
Was working on the new record different than when you first joined the band around the time of I-Empire?
The situation was very different--we all had our side projects, and it was a bit of a challenege getting everyone on the same page and literally in the same room. Every record has its own set of challenges, and this one wasn't any different. I don't know if I buy into the cliche that great struggle produces great music, but in this case that was definitely true.
How did the decision happen to offer it for free download?
At the time we weren't on a record contract, so we saw this as an opportunity to put it out a free record. Kids are still going to download music, but this way they can get it from us with no signup, no mailing list, just click-and-download. For us, it was most important to get the album to as many people as possible.
So where does that put you in the whole RIAA vs. Pirates debate?
I don't know where I stand. On one hand, I feel like music should be free and musicians should be finding other forms of income. Bands really don't make that much money from record sales anyway. But at the same time, if you have a carpenter work on your house, you're not going to get that for free. The music is still our product.
How has working with Tom (DeLonge) on AvA been different than working with Jared Leto on 30 Seconds To Mars?
They're both very similar people in the the way they look at things creatively, and I think they're cut from the same cloth artistically. It's kind of weird when I see Tom reading a book that's the same as what Jared would read. But Tom and I come from the same background in punk rock, so we really have a common language.
That punk-rock background is shared at least a little with everyone in the band--does it come out in any particular way between you guys?
It definitely comes up. We're all big fans of The Descendents, and we've talked about doing a cover album of punk songs. I don't know if it'll ever happen, but right now the mindset really comes through because we're in the same kind of situation, literally doing everything ourselves. We're back in the garage--its just a lot bigger this time around.
So how about the movie--I saw the trailer, it looks pretty epic and involved. I know it's been pushed back a few times, but what can fans expect?
We started filming back around the time that I-Empire was being recorded, but it took a while, and thematically I think everything kind of lined up with the new album. It's coming out later this year, and like you said it's really just an epic sci-fi movie. I'm cautious to use the word "epic" because it's everywhere, but that really best describes it. None of us are in the movie either, but Tom had this idea years ago and we got teamed up with a really talented cinematographer in William Eubank. Really we're more of a collective of artists that are lucky to have such talented friends, and we want them to be a part of Angels and Airwaves.
Is there anything else you want to say about the tour?
We're just really excited about it. I think we're excited about every tour--but a lot of thought and a lot of planning went in to creating the show. I want to emphasize show, because it's more than just a concert. If we could fit Cirque de Soliel into a small club, we'd do it. Just maybe not as many acrobatics.