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I first “met” the genial, super creative DC-based Matthew Levin through a mutual music friend, which is what led to the interview I did with him a few years ago about the videography and editing he did for Ride’s 25th anniversary edition of their classic Nowhere. We’ve kept up a fun correspondence about music in general and I decided to ping Matthew again about his new psychedelic television channel, Translove Airwaves. I conducted this interview before Matthew left for the Liverpool Psych Festival, so a few questions are dated. Thanks to Matthew for putting up with my questions, and best of luck with your new venture!
EK: We have spoken before about the work you did forRide’s 25th anniversary of Nowhere, and since that time, you have started your own television channel. Please tell us all about that. How did that idea germinate, and has your original idea expanded? Where did the name Translove Airwaves come from?
ML: Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for your questions and interest in my project! Yes, Translove Airwaves is my new, psychedelic, travel TV series I’ve been working on now for a year or so. The series will follow me and my search for the psychedelic experience and reaching a higher state of consciousness through the music, artists, musicians, healers, scientists, virtual reality designers, and other psychonauts I meet on my journey! Each episode will come from a different location around the globe, will explore a different aspect of psychedelia, but will always feature bands and live music. Think of it as a psychedelic, Anthony Bourdain, formatted show, where everything is centered around music instead of food. The original idea came about after seeing the band Television in DC last year. They were really brilliant and I was inspired by them. I was talking to a friend at the show that used to host a radio show about the idea of starting a new project using my love of music that was visual, not just another radio show or podcast. It’s definitely expanded and evolved into something much bigger and richer since coming up with the original idea. In terms of the name, Translove Airwaves, it comes from a line in a Donovan song, “The Fat Angel”, from his Sunshine Superman album. The line is ‘Fly Trans Love Airways, gets you there on time’. Trans love airways was a play on words of the old TWA, Trans World Airlines, so my play on words is Translove Airwaves. I’ve actually reached out to Donovan’s team, and told them about the project. I’m using the song underneath some great animation I had commissioned for my trailer. They like the idea of my show, so maybe I can even get the man himself to make a guest appearance!
EK: Is it Internet television only? Or could someone like me stream your channel on a Roku? Is it a paid station? If not, do you think you will move toward a subscriber model in the future?
ML: In about a week and half, I’m going to the UK to finish production on my pilot episode. London, Liverpool Psych Fest and the new psychedelic revolution. My plan in terms of distribution is to try and shop the pilot and my outline for the whole 10 part series to any network that will listen! Viceland, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime. If I don’t get any bites, I might just put it out on my Youtube Channel. But for right now I’m thinking big!
EK:How are you getting the word out, social media and interviews like this one?
ML: Yeah I’m trying to get the word out through my website, social media, and good old fashioned word of mouth! Interviews like this definitely help spread the word, so thank you very much, E! I will be blogging and posting pics and vids from my upcoming trip, so stay tuned (check out Translove Airwaves on Facebook and Instagram).
EK: What bands have you filmed and interviewed so far? Which bands are you planning to work with?
ML: Wow, there are a lot of bands I’ve already shot and spoken with, and their a lot more coming up. The Black Angels, Super Furry Animals, The Horrors, RIDE, Slowdive, Jesus & Mary Chain, Kraftwerk, Love & Rockets, Kikagaku Moyo, Ulrika Spacek, Rancho Relaxo, Magic Shoppe. I could go on…
EK: When did your interest in film and video start? Do you have somebody who heavily influenced you?
ML: My interest in film started as a young boy. My mom is a performance artist in LA, and she’s been involved in some films over the years. She was showing me art films at a young age, and it just blossomed from there. I went to film school in Oregon, and I watched a film a day for 4 years. I would list Billy Wilder, Kubrick, Antonioni, Jordorowsky, David Cronenberg, and Hal Ashby as inspirations.
EK: Is there anyone else out there covering the genres that you are?
ML: I think there is more coverage in Europe, and even the far East than in the States. I hope that my show will be carving a niche that is out there. I definitely think there’s an audience for all things psychedelic. The fact that all of the psych fests are popping up all over the world and bands like Tame Impala, The Horrors, and Temples have had some mainstream success, makes me think that people are craving this stuff.
EK: Can you discuss any future plans you might have to scale this up a bit?
ML: As I mentioned, I’m going to the UK next week to complete filming for the pilot. I have a crew that will be with me and have I’ve lined up a lot of interviews and will be covering two music festivals along the way. My plan is to complete my pilot show and then try to shop it around to a network to fund the whole series. I’m thinking big with this project!