Part mad scientist part creative genius, Devin Townsend has firmly established himself as a heavy metal god. With a career that spans twenty-three studio albums and three live albums and countless miles on tour, Birmingham Live sat down with Devin to chat about Devin Townsend Project’s (DTP) newest album Transcendence and the tour that follows.
Transcendence is a compilation heavy metal and ethereal beauty. Unlike many of DTP’s other albums, this album was a compilation of Devin’s and the bands ideas. For Devin the “process was different in that I solicited the others. I felt I was repeating myself with my style that I’ve developed into and wanted others to come along and self edit.” Explaining how exactly this new writing went, Devin said that he “wrote the demos. This colorful idea x would be handed out to band mates and they would add their notes and make it better. From those parameters the song massed into shape.” Do not worry fans, the new writing style does not mean a totally new sound. Since DTP has been working together for many years those adding to the album already understand the ethos of DTP and so their inclusion really enhances the newest album.
Like other albums, Transcendence centers on a complex theme that highlights the time and place for DTP. Devin said that with every album creation there is “always a theme. For practical means it helps with the continuity of the record. Transcendence represents getting over oneself. I learned to let go of having my identity heavily invested in what I do. Having people invest in the album is part of that, stepping out of comfort zones in certain ways.” The album certainly reflects the journey of personal discovery and surmounting individualism. From the cinematic and ethereal opening of “Truth” the album descends into rhythmically thudding “Stormbending” “Failure” and titled “Transcendence.” There are of course more meditative songs that accompany the heavy metal, “Higher” and “Stars” are merely two of the tracts that wind together to show a more sensitive side of discovery. The album feels like one long playlist with each song intertwining into the next. It is not a mishmash of studio-contrived hits, but rather Transcendence unearths a wanderer’s path of discovery and enlightenment.
With the new album also comes a tour. This time around DTP will be embarking on a five-month tour with stops all over the world and numerous festival appearances. In regards to this tour, Devin said that the “process of tour is always similar; travel, fatigue on the voice, psychological and emotional challenges” all encompass a tour of this size. Despite that, DTP will no doubt put on a show that is massive and charged. With their immense back catalog and newest album the show will be crammed to the brim with energizing riffs and existential questions.
Apart from this album and the tour Devin is also in the process of working on a new project, The Moth. There is an obvious excitement in his voice when the project gets brought up. Interested by the “spectacle and absurdity in music,” Devin is masterminding a symphony that is “so over the top.” With themes rooted in “sex, death, violence, love” the project will be massive display of the grotesque nature of human love and longing. With visual images “rooted in power and war” the project will combine symphony orchestras with “men at war with cocks killing for power.” While the project is still in its very early stages, it certainly seems that the creativity to unearth such a project is every turning in Devin’s mind.
While the Transcendence tour may be without flying sex symbols and war iterations, it is certainly one that is not to be missed. The album upholds through musical hints at the journey of surrendering and transcending the void, which will be brought to life as the Devin Townsend Project takes the Institute stage on March 16th.
Interview: Kylie McCormick
Photograph by Rebecca Blissett courtesy of ilikepress PR