OneMetal I guess the place to start is, how are you?
Devin I think I’m OK, how are you?
OneMetal I’m fine! How was your movie premiere last night? (The Devin Townsend Project’s By A Thread DVD premiered the night before this interview at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square)
Devin Ah…interesting, I mean it was something I’ve never done before and there was some technical glitches in the beginning that we kinda had to do the old ad-lib through again, right? It seems to be that any embarrassment I felt was the fact that it seems like any of the major moments where I’ve had to sorta smooth over mistakes has been in the UK so far. So there’s a part of me that’s like, “Oh my god, I hope that people don’t think that we’re just like grossly unprepared all the time,” because we’re actually not. But that night there was a bit of a glitch at the beginning. It ended up being a lot of fun, it actually ended up being like a bunch of people just hanging out together and I like that.
OneMetal So tonight’s an acoustic show, you’re doing Download this weekend. Which do you prefer, the little shows or the big festivals?
Devin Probably the festivals but only by maybe a 1% margin. Y’know, they’re pretty equal.
OneMetalDo you think there’s a different kind of performance for here?
Devin Oh yeah, totally. But, I mean in a certain sense maybe not, right? Like, I think you exaggerate a little bit more on the bigger stages. But essentially I think you’re trying to get the same thing across, I think it’s ultimately just, without any sort of altruism involved, I think I’m just trying to connect with people in some sense, and I don’t think that that element of it changes that much whether or not it’s a big or a little show – it’s just the way that you do it maybe is a little different, right?
OneMetalSo what can you tell us about the Retinal Circus here in London in October?
Devin We’ve got a bunch of ideas that we’re still kind of putting into motion, it’s going to be awesome. But the bottom line is I haven’t started thinking about it yet because I’m still working on Epicloud. And I’m so one thing at a time man, that it’s like when it comes time to think about Retinal Circus I’ll think about nothing but. But I haven’t finished the project before so it’s sort of vague things in my mind but I haven’t had the chance to really sit with it yet.
OneMetalOne at a time? I didn’t expect that from you because you did the four DTP albums more or less at the same time.
Devin Yeah, well I think that… I think that from the outside it appears like there’s a lot going on simultaneously but most assuredly they all happen individually, like I can’t multitask. At all. (laughs) So I do one thing to the exclusion of everything else and then usually it just sort of sits while I do another thing. And then the perception when it all comes up together is that it happened at the same time, and there’s elements of it that happened at the same time, y’know I’m always thinking about other things. Y’know, I’m thinking about the Retinal Circus but when it comes down to the, the real brass tacks of it that has to happen individually or else it just gets muddled right?
OneMetalYeah… so, Epicloud; has it got a release date yet?
Devin September 24th I think, yeah.
OneMetalYou just finished the mix for that didn’t you?
Devin Thought I did! Until I drove around listening to it for the last couple of weeks and realised that there’s several things I need to redo. So it’s getting there, it’s getting there. I mean, the thing with Epicloud is after Deconstruction it was shocking to me in a certain sense that some of the metal community disregarded Deconstruction as a metal record because of certain elements of it that were foreign to metal – like, maybe the humour elements or the sort of randomness of the arrangements and all these sort of things. And at first I was a little taken back like, well I thought it was a metal record. But then after a while I was like, well, shit, if I’m not fully invited into that club, I might as well just do other things that I’ve wanted to do without feeling embarrassed about it, right? Like when I was a kid, before Judas Priest, before Metallica or any of that stuff it was all Def Leppard and the Eurhythmics and Slade and those sort of things, right? And so I decided with this record to make something that was very much in line with that and not worry too much about whether or not it’s going to fit in with the heavy metal elite clique or whatever, y’know? So I thought, OK well I really like Def Leppard, I really like Slade and I really like pop. Y’know I really like Vengaboys, I really like all that shit. (laughs) Y’know? But up to this point it’s been something I’ve been very cautious about stating because it’s not cool, apparently. But then after Deconstruction was sort of taken in that light where it’s like “well it’s not metal either” I was like “oh OK well great, I’m gonna do this then”, y’know? And so Epicloud is very much like that. It’s kinda synth poppy, rock and roll, hard rock, strange record right? But it’s really big! It’s really epic, I put like a gospel choir on it and all that. And then after Epicloud’s over, I won’t feel the need to do that for a while right? So, that’s the next stage.
OneMetalDo you see Epicloud as particularly distinct from the DTP albums?
Devin Oh yeah, yeah. I mean it’s all the same shit, it’s just another year. But each record is a reaction to the one before right? So, Deconstruction was so difficult to actualise it was just, there was so much that went into keeping it together – like, there’s so many tracks, and like the orchestra and all these guests and completely complicated arrangements that barely fit together and then mixing that. It was… it was just like a whole bunch of puzzles and then after it was over I was like… my brain was just like, my musical brain, the creative part of me was tired of puzzles. I didn’t want to make puzzles, I wanted to make something that was verse, chorus, outro, y’know? Intro, verse, pre-chorus, chorus, solo, chorus, outro, y’know? And so that’s what I did, and I found it just really satisfying. And I didn’t think I was going to make a record like that at first, I thought I was gonna make another Ziltoid record. But then when I started writing I was like “I don’t wanna fucking write this shit right now man, I just finished stuff like this man”. So I just started writing, and Epicloud is what happened and I think it’s great.
OneMetalSo is Ziltoid 2 a bit on the shelf now then?
Devin No, no no it’s just you gotta… you gotta be aware of what your creative mind wants to do because if you’re forcing something to happen you’re doing it for other people right? And I wanted to do Ziltoid, I thought I wanted to do Ziltoid, but every time I sat down to write I just, I wrote something simple. So by the time I had one Ziltoid song done I had like twelve of these songs kind of written, and I thought well it was obviously what is wanting to come out. And whenever I went to listen to my demos I didn’t want to listen to the Ziltoid stuff, I just wanted to listen to this Epicloud stuff, right? So it was obvious to me that was the next in line, so I did it.