Devin Towsend Project Feature 2011

It’s been two years since Soundshock have managed to delve deep into the mind of Devin Townsend and looking back you can see how far this man has come both personally and in the metal scene. In 2009 ‘Ki’, the first of his four album plan under The Devin Townsend Project guise, was unleashed and Townsend seemed unsure of what way this concept was going to go. The album somehow showed his two musical personalities stripped back and refined into something more comforting via the calm and beautiful elements that ‘Ki’ had to offer.

Since that day, album number two, ‘Addicted!’ has hit airwaves, it’s typical Devy-esque pop-metal vain attracting new fans from left, right and centre, helping DTP sell out half the venues on their latest UK tour and land festival spots. ‘Deconstruction’ and ‘Ghost’ are starting to rear their heads as Devin’s newborn beasts and you’d think Devin would be drained and exhausted but his attitude today can only be described as calm and content. In the past, he has been described by journalists as erratic and downright insane but it

would seem that the end of the project has helped him find out who he truly is, and all that oozes

from him today is downright passion.

‘Deconstruction’ and ‘Ghost’ couldn’t be any different to one another, however Devin has decided to create and release them simultaneously. So does he have a favourite? “It’s not like babies but like having two friends and when the chips are down, who do you choose to hang out with?” he explains. “It’s not like you don’t like one of them but you know. I think that going into it I knew I’d always go with the Ghost direction but I needed to say to that part of me that likes heavy music and the people, the fans that were from the Strapping era, ‘look, it’s not like it goes away, it’s just different now”. Although Devin is clearly passionate about everything he’s ever laid his magical hands upon, it soon becomes apparent that ‘Ghost’ is one of his proudest moments to date.

“A lot of my things in the past have just been like drama, drama, drama! ‘Alien’ or ‘Infinity’ or any of that shit is so like self absorbed with self importance but ‘Ghost’ was just a bunch of songs, with a bunch of words that make me feel a certain way, and I like it that way.” And after listening to the final chapter you can see why, each song capable of giving you tingles through an acoustic, country blend with additional electronic elements to add to the New Age feeling.Apparently it’s been a sound he’s wanted to create from the age of ten, and the album shows that he can play a plethora of ways and this album was the final style before he moved into future projects. For Devin, his lifestyle that surrounds each era has been as essential as the album itself, be it involving diet, medication or general routine. It would appear that these two albums reached

a point where Devin was comfortable in his tee-total, vegan body and just trying hard not to over work.

“With these two, I knew the amount of work that it was going to take and the amount of effort it was going to take and I was really hell-bent on letting it get the best of me, so keeping control was a big thing. My routine was very funny because in the past I’ll think I have to do this and stuff; this time I was like I’ll take the weekends off, I’ll go for dinner at 5, and if it gets overwhelming, I’ll watch Antiques Roadshow. Seriously, ha-ha!”

Control. It’s something that seems to have come up a lot today and it concludes that Devin has for now safely got his emotions on a leash. When listening to the completely over-the-top, orchestral whirlwind that is ‘Deconstruction’ you can almost hear the swansong of Strapping Young Lad, despite the fact the songs are not particularly angry, and more about, well, cheeseburgers.

“Well I think I’ll definitely be making more heavier music, I mean I always will but I think what I was trying to prove to myself was that Strapping didn’t control me. In fact, since I broke the band up there’s been a lot of people who say, ‘We miss Strapping’, and I’m like yeah but I am Strapping in a lot of ways. He continues, “Anyway, when I realised it doesn’t control me, I thought I’d let that part of me have its say, I’ll let that part of me have free reign to say whatever horrible thing it needed to say. But what I found is that from the shadows of my mind, when I was clouded with drinking or whatever, the things that that part of my personality wanted to say was a lot more difficult for me because it didn’t have to be accountable. It was like a mask.”

It was inevitable an orchestra was going to be used at some point or another after the epic aural universe Ziltoid created, so for Devin it was finally time to use it to his advantage. “It [the orchestra] was really expensive but it was one of those things where I was like, I can’t afford it but fuck it! I think it’s cool because there’s no rules to that record at all, we’re just going to make something that’s so OTT and I like that, as a person I think I’m pretty safe I’m not a real risk taking person, I mean sometimes in very slight ways but I’m pretty Canadian ha-ha. So that’s where the decision was made, if we were going to invest the money in something, then lets invest it in the cheeseburger song!”

He can’t help but laugh at himself but Mr. Townsend could talk for hours about music, it runs through his veins and despite the project coming to an end, you know that there is always plenty more to come. Despite just finishing the European tour, involving stage invasions, Ziltoid’s pop radio station and bad dancing to ‘Bad Devil’, Devin will be returning to our shores in November to perform ‘Ghost’ and ‘Ki’ in their entirety; needless to say he’s as excited as we are.

“I’ve realised that a lot of what makes live performance so fun is that so much of the music that we do and the communication that I do is based through the computer and that kind of neuters that real experience. And I mean the music has all been so heavily based on real experience for me that it’s always nice to share it with people and have the reaction that they relate. I get to share certainthings.”

Feature by Lily Randall

Deconstruction’ and ‘Ghost‘ will be released June 20th via Inside Out/Hevy Devy

The Devin Townsend Project play Bloodstock Open Air on 12th August.

The Devin Townsend Project is also due to play ‘Ki’ and ‘Ghost’ live in their entirety on 10th and 13th November at London Union Chapel respectively.

Published at Soundshock.com

Transcript can be found here

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