DEVIN TOWNSEND On ‘Epicloud’: ‘I’ve Never Done A Record Like This And It Felt Natural To Do So’

Altsounds recently conducted an interview with Devin Townsend, Canadian multi-instrumentalist and ex-STRAPPING YOUNG LAD mastermind. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Altsounds: Where the hell did “Epicloud” [the latest album from Devin Townsend to be released under the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT banner] come from?

Devin Townsend: No clue. It surprised me as much as anyone, but to be fair… I think the fact that I decided to “go with it” when it started appearing says more about my approach than if I tried to force out something that wasn’t coming naturally. Regardless of what your feelings are about “Epicloud”, it’s what I felt compelled to do and as such, I back it. It’s a sound that maybe I’ve been hesitant to do for a long time based on what people’s assumptions of me may be as a result, but then again…It’s one of 25 records that I’ve done, and in the history of “each record being different,” it makes good sense to me.

Altsounds: What were some of the thoughts and feelings that were going through your mind during the recording process?

Devin Townsend: During the process, I tend to not think at all about what I do. Instinct and “autopilot” play the majority of the role, and the pragmatic side of me is usually most concerned about the technical aspects rather than any implications of the actual content. This way of working is effective in terms of “getting shit done,” but often poses temporary confusion once its completed as I objectively stand back from it, and the listening experience puts me in the position of having to confront the motivations. During = “let’s get it done,” after = ‘Holy shit! I made a freaking pop record! …WTF?!?”

Altsounds: Were you worried at any point about what your fans or peers would think once they heard “Epicloud”?

Devin Townsend: Once it was done and I listened to it, yeah. However, that fear forced me to confront the fact that maybe I had more invested in my reputation of being “edgy” (if that is the case) than is healthy. So you know what? Fuck it. I like commercial stuff. I like hard rock. I’ve never done a record like this and it felt natural to do so, so I did. Eat a bag of shit.

Altsounds: You’re obviously very used to working with many other musicians while recording your albums. How did you find working with a full gospel choir?

Devin Townsend: It was interesting. I had to be clear with them from the get-go that I’m not a religious person. The lyrics and my theme are of course based on “spiritual” ideas, of which the sound of a gospel choir plays into quite naturally…but I wanted to be sure they knew that a) I wasn’t trying to take the piss out of them and b) It was definitely NOT a religious statement. “Epicloud”, I suppose, is more about love and vulnerability set to heavy sounds, and the dichotomy of those two things not only interested me, but them as well.

Read the entire interview from Altsounds.

Performance (September 14 in Denver, Colorado):