Devin Townsend Talks ‘Z2′ Album, Upcoming Plans + More
Devin Townsend was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. The rocker spoke about the creative chaos of recording the 'Z2' album, his thoughts on the enjoyment of playing live as opposed to the studio process and he also revealed his plans for the upcoming year. Check out Full Metal Jackie's interview with Devin Townsend below.
How ya doing my friend?
I am good. Good to talk to you.
You've used the word "chaos" to describe making 'Z2.' For you particularly in the case of 'Z2,' how does an imperfect working scenario ultimately affect the music in a positive way?
I think it's all how you choose to approach it. I think anything can end poorly if you let it and I think the success of this record for me is that it could have ended really poorly, but it didn't. It ended up being something I'm really proud of. It just takes effort, like anything else. Things go your way 2 percent of the way and the rest you just have to roll with it. That's what we did. Chaos contributes to it in some way.
Once it was finished, how much different was 'Z2' from what you first envisioned?
For me, the one thing I've got going for me in terms of my attributes as a musician is vision. But that vision is not as specific as maybe it would appear. It's more like a color, that's the best way to describe it. I had an idea of what I wanted it to feel like, at the end, but trying to get it the right shade of that color -- you're bumping around in the dark. Essentially, 'Z2' ended up feeling the way that it should, but it was through a considerable amount of trial and error that it took to get there. There's certain periods where I kept going down the wrong avenue on this record and sort of backing it up and starting it over again -- again, defined why the record is a success to me because we didn't give up. [laughs] There you go.
As a musician, which satisfies you more -- creating music in the studio or bringing it to life onstage?
I'd say it's about 70/30. 70 percent for studio and 30 percent for live. It's like anything, though. You do one thing to the exclusion of everything else and after a while you get bored of it. I think live stuff is certainly stuff I enjoy doing. I do like performing for people and bringing it to people. The only drawback for me is just the limitations of the human voice. I tend to write a lot of things vocally for myself that, realistically I either have a hard time singing or can't sing. So the combination of those two things means that you go on tour for a couple of months and there are some months there -- we were in Poland a couple of years back, I couldn't sing at all. I remember, it's so demoralizing. But at the end of the day it's such a great pleasure to play live. [laughs]
I'd say being at home or in the studio or being functional as a musician in a way where I don't have to interact with people is ultimately what I prefer. But, getting out there and rocking every now and then is pretty wicked, too.
It's one thing to consciously take a break, another to actually shut down a creative mind. You plan on beginning a yearlong hiatus from recording and touring next year. What would you like to do, if not making music?
Just to refine that and back up a bit, I've been interviewed for 25 years straight and because I speak very much like I write, sort of say what's on my mind -- an honesty turrets, is the best way to describe it. When I gave that interview about taking a year off, it was at the last week of 'Z2.' The fatigue was catching up to me, we were on tour in the Czech Republic, and I was just pissed off, right? The reality of doing strange Prog-Heavy Metal about farting aliens is that you can't take a year off. I can't take a year off, it's my job. I've got people that depend on salary, everybody in my world. I depend on being able to make a living. I can't take a year off.
However, what I can do is learn from the experience and be able to refine what I take on in the future so the situation that resulted in the chaos of 'Z2,' which was a lack of foresight on my front. Hopefully that's something I can prevent. So the next year is going to be spent, after the Royal Albert Hall show, promoting it and touring it. Like you say, it's a creative mindset. I never stop writing, it's just that I have to be a little more careful as to what to I commit to. That's what the break will entail.
Thanks to Devin Townsend for the interview. The 'Z2' album is currently available at Amazon and iTunes. Look for Devin Townsend on the road at these locations. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.
Check Out Devin Townsend's Lyric Video for 'Rejoice'