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Devin Townsend Project

Devin Townsend ProjectTouring in support of his new album, Epicloud, Devin Townsend has blazed a fiercely individual trail for 20 years, constantly devising forward-thinking and unapologetically original music. SHANE PINNEGAR checks in ahead of Townsend’s Tuesday, October 15, show at Metropolis Fremantle.

Through all of Devin Townsend’s musical career, he has followed his own vision. 

An early job singing with Steve Vai ended with the unhappy singer pooping in his boss’s guitar case.

“My reason for fighting for all those years,” he says down the line from Vancouver, Canada, “was not some sort altruistic thing – it’s just because I want to be happy. I hate being miserable – it sucks! The goal is to work through it, and by working through it, you gotta fight. Otherwise you’re gonna have people who are going to step on you, and tell you the way they want it. You have to fight – it sucks, I don’t like fighting – but I will, because I’d rather fight than be unhappy.

“I encourage people to take control of their own contribution,” Townsend says, explaining the freedom he allows the members of his band in the studio or on stage.

“However it’s within the parameters of the vision. I might say that on this project we’re working on now, this is the vision. The parameters of it mean that it can’t extend past this example here on this side, and this example here on that side, however, your job is this area – in between these two points – and what you do in there is entirely up to you. However, the only thing I retain over it is veto power – ‘nope, you went too far, let’s pull it back a bit’.

Interesting. One wonders whether Townsend considers himself an artist, a scientist or perhaps even an alchemist, in this respect?

“I rarely consider myself an artist,” he counters. “I can see how the combining of elements to create something else can be viewed as some kind of alchemy – but it’s not with the intention of doing that, it just seems to be what happens.

“And in terms of science, I like to establish order in chaos, and I do like patterns – but I don’t like repeating patterns. So, to answer the question in a really roundabout way: I have an interest in all three of those things – art, science and alchemy. But I’m just having a good time, and that’s really what it comes down to.”

As for potential setlists for his Australian tour, Townsend says he’ll play material from most of his career.

“I don’t play any Strapping Young Lad,” he clarifies, “but I do delve back into some of the earlier records like Ocean Machine, Synchestra, Terria, things like this. But the band are able to represent a lot of what we do and give a cross section of emotional width that allows the show to be engaging. So it’s that – we’re utilising most of the back catalogue to give the show dynamics.”

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