Devin Townsend hits Australian shores with The Devin Townsend Project, the tour kicks off tonight and HEAVY had a chat with Devin about what is coming up and what he has been up to recently.
HEAVY: So, what is happening in the world of Devin Townsend at the moment?
Devin: its fucking hot in Canada and I’m not a big fan of the heat, Spending a great deal of time trying to get this Casualties of Cool record finished, getting ready to film the Ziltoid TV show, touring a lot, taking the kids to school, arguing with my wife, you know all that life stuff while I’m doing an immense amount of professional work all with this heat wave which is making it almost comedic in a way.
HEAVY: Yeah, the heat can really mess with the days plans. About Casualties of Cool, is that a solo project or is that attached to one of your other bands?
Devin: I don’t know, I guess we’re going to have to figure that out when it comes out, it’s a different group of people, an amazing drummer Morgan Agren, he’s played with Fredrik Thordendal on his solo record, he’s a f***ing amazing drummer and this girl who sings a lot of it with me because I’m always trying to get out of singing, I’m singing about half of it and I don’t want another guy singing it because when I do it live I’d much rather be on stage with a woman than with another guy, so I found this girl who sang on Ki and her voice is f***ing good man, it’s just so different from anything that I’ve worked with, just very respondent and bluesy and it’s just awesome so, Casualties is a mixture of a lot of different things for me, however it’s another record for me, but the primary thing I like about that project is that I had no pressure to do it, there’s nothing it compares to in my catalogue, maybe Ki in a certain way but different, people tell me that want to hear some more strapping or another Ocean Machine, as soon as I’m told to do something, I do the opposite, if you want it, don’t ask me to do it. So with Casualties, since I was working on it while I was working on Deconstruction, while I was writing Ghost and Epic Loud, it was never something where it would be like “well this is the one people are going to really like”, it’s just something I made because it’s something I felt compelled to do in my spare time and as a result of that I just want to f***ing, it’s one of the records that I’ve made that I actually really enjoy listening to. It will come out and some people will really like it and other people will just wait for Ziltoid.
HEAVY: It’s got to be a good feeling when you put out something that you know whether people love it or hate it, that you still really enjoy it.
Devin: As it’s turning out, it’s turning out perfect, so whether or not people hate it or love it, it’s one of the only records I’ve done if not the only record I’ve done where I’ve thought it was perfect.
HEAVY: Speaking of some of your other albums, what was the influence or main agenda behind your Ghost album as I see that it’s very different to the rest of your catalogue and it really stands out for me?
Devin: Ghost is, that type of music is pretty much my favourite type of music, that real sort of spa channel, you know it’s got that real sort of fluty stuff, like Massive Attack and all that stuff, I mean, I love that, when I was a kid I’d listen to all that new age stuff, that’s what I’d listen to so if you could imagine, that was my trip, you have all these people who want me to be like when I was 22 saying “I can’t wait for you to do another City” or “I can’t wait for you to do another Ocean Machine” and I’m like, you really think I’m holding out on you? You really think I can do that but I’m choosing not to? I mean f***, you got to be f***ing kidding me man, you can’t be who you were, I think after Deconstruction I was like okay, here is your heavy record, it’s confusing but this is where I am at with heavy music at the moment, some of you aren’t going to like it, some of you are, so how am I going to finish the project, by saying f*** you, whether or not that was cool, this is who I was and this is who I am and you know if there’s anything about what I do that is attracting people, I mean a lot of the time it’s not the music, I think it’s because I’m not full of shit, it really isn’t and it’s going to confuse people but there might even be an element of excitement for the people because they don’t know what going to happen, I mean brutally, I don’t know what’s going to happen, I have ideas and compulsions but it’s rarely what I expect it to be. I’m going to do what I’m going to do or I’d be lying to you and the reason I’ve had so much success is because I’m not lying to you. I love it.
HEAVY: Yeah I hear you, I’m really looking forward to hearing both Casualties and Ziltoid.
Devin: Ziltoid is a little different, Ziltoid is a lot of fun, it’s going to be really hard to dislike it, with the TV show and the puppet, I’m thinking to myself, you know you start to think of success and failures with the project, even if it’s not that good, I’m going to put some money into it, it’s going to be a bad ass puppet, it’s going to be these concepts that are just f***ed up right, but I’m going to finish it and we’ll throw it out, it’s so absurd that people’s first reactions will be like “okay…” you know, it’s this weird thing but it’s so much fun, there’s so many places to go with it. Ziltoid is different to Casualties like that, Casualties is a record you will listen to alone in your room.
HEAVY: Are you guys looking forward to coming back to Australia?
Devin: Oh yeah dude, god, I mean yeah, it’s dreams coming true in o many ways, being able to exist in the industry is one thing, being able to exist in the industry as long as we have in amazing, but to be able to come back to these beautiful places that a lot of people are not fortunate enough to see, you know, how else can I say it other than it’s awesome.
HEAVY: Do you find it hard putting together a setlist with so much great material?
Devin: It’s hard that in we’re introducing a keyboard player now so there are a lot of changes in the way we’re doing things, with amps and stuff.
HEAVY: So you’re not using the Axe FX stuff?
Devin: We are but it will be in conjunction with Mesa Boogies, I’ve always loved the Motorhead stuff, I just love it, that real tough rock thing, that energy, I don’t like the Dream Theater thing, I’m not saying they aren’t great players because they are, it just doesn’t resonate with me, that real progressive stuff that is in the head, I miss the testicles involved. We had the Dream Theater element but I missed that Motorhead approach.
HEAVY: Do you get many requests when touring different countries for the Strapping Young lad stuff or your previous material?
Devin: Sometimes, but I mean, the thing is I played Strapping Young Lad on Retinal Circus with Jed Simon but you know, I felt it was a little disrespectful to the stuff, I mean, I still haven’t figured out, I’m kind of f***ed off with the whole thing, I feel angry at the situation in some ways, not directed towards people, just that period of my life for legitimate reasons, but since people don’t really just let it lie sometimes my reaction is to tell people to just f*** off, so the more people talk to me about Strapping the more I dislike it which sucks for me because it’s part of my life and I love it, I haven’t really had the opportunity to process it and really come to terms with it, when people tell me to play it I’m just like f*** you, it’s not the reaction I want to have with it, I just need time to figure out how I feel about it, it’s 12-15 years of my life so I don’t want to feel irritated about it, I just need to think about it more, so playing those songs felt really wrong to me, thinking you know, this isn’t what I should be doing, I need to figure it out, it transpires in ways that are different than I expected.
HEAVY: So is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans here in Australia before your tour kicks off?
Devin: You’re awesome, I mean, the fact we’re given the opportunity to come back and play for you means we will do whatever we can to make it the best possible time for all of us, it’s just going to be fun, life’s too short, so thank you, that’s what I’ve got to say to Australia, thank you.
Australia Tour October 2013