Devin Townsend, Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend Band
The Devin Townsend Project
Tell us a little more about yourself. How and why you started playing, who and what inspired you etc?
My name is Devin Townsend. I am a 36 year old Canadian musician. I began playing at age 8, and have been active professionally for many years. I initially was fascinated by the musicals of the 70s in that they provided my young mind with very broad strokes of emotion that were easy to grasp. I was interested in creating emotions based on the manipulation of language and frequency, and for many years now Ive been refining that. I have been in several bands (Strapping Young Lad, Devin Townsend Band etc...) and run a studio in which I produce and mix other acts, as well as churn out a constant stream of my own material. My thought has always been to eventually start making symphonies with heavy music as a dynamic. Not rock operas in particular, just huge chunks of thought that are punctuated by the production styles that suit the emotion - heavy production for the dynamic and loud bits, and subtle production for the opposite.
What songwriters and musicians inspire you today and where do you see your musicianship in five or ten years from now?
I have been inspired by many things. As a pre-teen the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Weber and his ilk, the Monkees, Jimi Hendrix etc. As a teenager, I was very much interested in new age music, (Paul Horn, Kitaro etc) while at the same time being excited by the more visceral stuff like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Wasp. I have always been a fan of deep production, and as such, was very taken by Hysteria (Def Leppard) and the Trevor Horn productions of the 80s. In my 20s, I was listening to lots of Industrial music, as well as Death metal and Black metal, as well as loads of more ambient music, such as Zoviet France, Rapoon, and The Young Gods. I have always been fascinated by pop as well - the Abbas and such for the immediacy. Throughout though, soundtracks and classical have always been a constant. Stravinsky and John Williams and music for films. In 5 or ten years I see myself making FULL FLEDGED bizarre symphonies.
What is your relation to electronic drums?
I would say that my relationship with electronic drums goes back to my relationship with real drummers! As a singer and guitar player, Im well aware of my own hang ups and ego, so I can safely say that all guitar players and singers are alike in some ways... also, all drummers are
alike in some ways, and I have yet to find one that can a) learn quickly enough and b) no cost me a fortune to record. And this is not to discredit any drummers in my world, Ive played with some of the best, Its just that MY creative process moves very quickly, to the point where I have problems keeping up and explaining myself. What Ive always wanted was for a drummer to read my mind and then play it perfectly, consistently, and dynamically. My last solo album was called
Ziltoid The Omniscient, and was an experiment to see what I could create if I had complete control, and on a budget. I bought ez drummer for around 200$ and decided that I would use it to write and then record, and the process blew my mind. I was able to move much faster than ever before, and commit as I went. And although that record is a bit of a comedy album, on the surface, I began thinking of SUPERIOR, and the control I could have over that. Ziltoid was
completely bare, no eq, no sound replacement, everything on that record is my version of EZdrummer. I am not a tweaker I want to just GO. I have no desire to tweak computer gear, its all about the writing, and cutting out the financial (and emotional) expense of working with a
drummer, in terms of making complicated music. 2.0 takes the process I learned in EZdrummer, and takes the the authentic sound quality to the moon. I am working on my first project with 2.0 due out this winter called Deconstruct. Toontrack has changed the way I create.
Any new exciting projects coming up in the next year that you can tell us about?
The new project I am working on is a 4 record epic project that ends in a box set and a tour next year. The idea is to make a sprawling story that covers much ground stylistically. From Jazzy and ambient elements all the way up to symphonic and devastating metal. The project is called DTP (Devin Townsend Project) and the first record, Ki comes out in a month. The third record of the series, Deconstruct is exclusively going to be using the 2.0 Superior system.
In closing is there anything you would like to pass on to the Toontrack.com visitors?
For the artist who has a very clear vision of what he or she wants out of their music, these products are the absolute pinnacle of what can be achieved. I have tried other similar type products, but as someone who is fascinated by drum recording, as well as current sounds,
nothing has its ear to the ground in the way Toontrack does. This company holds the key for folks like me.