Tom DeLonge truly runs his own world now.
The Angels and Airwaves frontman owns a property in Encinitas in which he takes care of nearly all of his latest projects, which are constantly expanding further and further from music. Whether it’s related to music, film, merch, or one of his many other ventures, all of DeLonge’s ambitions are housed under one roof.
“It’s a very liberating feeling for me as an artist to know I have one place where I can do pretty much anything I want to do,” DeLonge says.
Most recently, DeLonge’s been working on a novel inspired by UFO stories he’s heard over the years. Chasing Shadows is the beginning of DeLonge’s Sekret Machines work, which will include everything from films to albums and novels to live performances.
“My new company, To The Stars, is building worlds,” DeLonge says. “They’re what we call transmedia worlds, where I can tell a story that spans feature films, television, animation, novels, and other things. The holy grail of what I’ve always wanted to do is tell the story of what fascinates me beyond anything else I’ve ever heard in my life, and it deals with the UFO phenomenon and the secret space program that exists to deal with it.”
While most of his fans know DeLonge either from Angels and Airwaves or his former days with Blink-182, the songwriter is keen on pointing out that Sekret Machines may be the biggest and most important story he’s ever told. Forget being one of the defining voices of a generation of musicians, DeLonge says the machines in his book “have been the foundation of many important events throughout history.”
“I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” DeLonge says. “It goes back to me talking to people who have seen one of these machines. If you talk to anyone who’s seen that, it changes their life forever. It feels so much bigger and stronger than you are as a normal human being, that I just felt that if everybody had access to that kind of feeling, it could unify new generations of young adults in different areas of the world beyond just their typical belief systems about who they are, what god is, or what they should be a part of.”
Due to the tremendous potential impact DeLonge believes Sekret Machines could have, it’ll be spread across various media forms over the next several years so it can grow naturally. Angels and Airwaves will even dedicate entire albums to being the soundtrack for the story. DeLonge wants to make sure people see the reality of it rather than just writing the entire thing off as an elaborate farfetched sci-fi storyline.
“Sekret Machines has nonfiction and fiction combined,” DeLonge says. “You can watch the docu-series and see how I met these people, and then watch the television series and feature films to see how the events played out. It’s to ground it in the real world, so people know it’s not science fiction, but historical fiction.”
Just how real is it? Well, the stories themselves will be fictionalized to make everything flow together as a cohesive piece, but there’s plenty about it that comes directly from DeLonge’s own experiences talking to everyone from UFO witnesses to the federal government.
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“There are real facts in that book that were given to me by the highest level of the Department of Defense that have never been released in regards to the UFO phenomenon,” DeLonge says. “I think people need to understand the enormity of what this project is doing. It’s communicating to people what the government has never wanted to tell people because they didn’t think people could handle it.”
Sekret Machines might be DeLonge’s biggest voyage into the world of transmedia novel/film/music combos, but it’s not his first. Over the last 18 months, DeLonge and his company tested the waters with their Poet Anderson project, surprising fans and critics alike who thought the 40-year-old singer and guitarist was more of a one-trick pony.
“When we launched the Poet Anderson short film animation and the Poet Anderson novel, a lot of people saw that animation and thought it was sick,” DeLonge says. “A lot of people read the book and thought it was incredible. We made an arthouse science fiction film called Love, and a lot of people thought it was much more elevated than anything they’d expect from me because they know me from one band.”
Sekret Machines: Chasing Shadows is available April 5. To pre-order the book, click here.