Devin Townsend, as regular readers of this blog know, is something of a hero to me. He makes the music he wants to, and doesn’t care about trends and following the herd. He’s the dude, and his new albums are fucking severely awesome.
Devin said something that really struck a chord with me in this new interview. He said, “When I perform, it’s a blown-up version of who I am.” I relate to that. When I write for this blog, it’s the same thing: An extreme, exaggerated version of what I think and how I am. Nutty. What else did Dev say? He discussed the creative process.
“The way I write is I pick up a guitar, let it all out and make it as good as it can possibly be,” he says. “But I remember when I was doing Ki, Ghost or even Deconstruction, it came out exactly as I wanted, but I knew for a fact it would bother people. I was concerned that some parts of my audience would see it as an insult if I wouldn’t deliver the kind of music they wished me to create or that they would see it as a deliberate attempt to make them angry, because I’m doing something different. That’s absolutely not the case. To be completely straight-up with you, I write what I write and it’s coming out the way it’s coming out and I’m trying to capture that the best I can. Sometimes it comes better out than other times, but it’s always completely honest.”
When asked about the shift from crazy, pot-loving Strapping Young Lad frontman to his calmer, sober current self, Devin said it’s all about honesty.
“When I started to realize that Strapping Young Lad was more becoming an act that I was getting better and better at doing, it became very difficult for me to have normal interactions with people because there was an expectation of how I would behave, but as of now, when I perform, it’s a blown-up version of who I am, but there’s no big difference between the person that’s talking to you now and the guy that’s playing the music on stage,” he says. “Nothing that I would say on stage I wouldn’t say in normal life, you know? That’s the main difference. With Strapping, the way I was raised, sarcasm was a very important part of the family dynamic and after I got older, I started to realize that if you’re trained from a young age not to be angry, sarcasm and humor are good outlets to vent your anger. For me, it was important to acknowledge that was very gratifying to be that vicious to the audience. Doing drugs, eating spicy food or sexual misconduct, it’s the same impulse of instant satisfaction. That was the image people got from me in my Strapping days and the interaction with people after the show was based on that image. Nowadays, it’s more like what you see is what you get, like the normal informal dude I am right now.”