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Devin Townsend

Devin Townsend first came into the public attention in 1993, when at the age of 19 he was picked by Steve Vai to betheVocalist on his Sexand Religion album and the accompanying world tour. Previous to this Devin was playing theVancouvermetal scene with his bandNoisescapes. Noisescapes recorded a demo, which was sent out to several labelsincludingRelativity Records, the label on which Steve Vaiwas signed. Devin thought that a way to make this demo grabpeoples'attention was to mail it wrapped in a pair of his old underwear. Thistactic worked, because a copy wound up withSteve Vai,who was im ...read more

Devin Townsend first came into the public attention in 1993, when at the age of 19 he was picked by Steve Vai to betheVocalist on his Sexand Religion album and the accompanying world tour. Previous to this Devin was playing theVancouvermetal scene with his bandNoisescapes. Noisescapes recorded a demo, which was sent out to several labelsincludingRelativity Records, the label on which Steve Vaiwas signed. Devin thought that a way to make this demo grabpeoples'attention was to mail it wrapped in a pair of his old underwear. Thistactic worked, because a copy wound up withSteve Vai,who was impressed with Devin's vocal abilities and decided to include him in hislatest project.

Shortly after he finished touring with Vai in 1994 Devin landed a gig touring with The Wildhearts, beginning a longrelationshipwith TheWildhearts' singer Ginger. Around this time Devin also contributed guitar parts to the Front Line AssemblyrecordsMillenium and HardWired.

Following this, in 1995, Devin began writing and recording his own music under the name of Strapping Young Lad.StrappingYoung Ladbegan as a solo project, with Devin performing vocals and playing most of the instruments on Heavy as aReallyHeavy Thing.

The same year (1995), Devin released a pop punk parody album under the name of Punky BrĂ¼ster called Cooked onPhonics.This albumwas created with the help of fellow members of the Vancouver metal scene, and people who helped recordtheHeavy as a Really HeavyThing album.

In 1997, while continuing with his Strapping Young Lad project, Devin released an album called Biomech, under the monikerofOceanMachine. This release has caused much confusion over the years, because shortly after its initial release, Devin'slabelHeavyDevyRecords requested that the name of the project be changed to Ocean Machine: Biomech, and the artistbechanged to Devin Townsend.Many fans however, still refer to the artist as being Ocean Machine. Interestingly, theAustraliandistributor refused to change the CDcovers, and the album is still released in Australia as Biomech by OceanMachine.

Over the years Devin has become known for creating a completely new studio and touring band for each solo release.Thismay be partiallyexplained by the fact that while the solo releases are thematically similar each release usually has averydifferent sound to that of theirpredecessor. Devin has stated that each album has a different sound because he writesfromhis experiences of the past year, and what heis feeling at the time.

In 2003 Devin changed his approach to his solo material by stopping releasing albums under the name of DevinTownsend.Devin nowreleases music under the name of The Devin Townsend Band. Devin has stated that The DevinTownsend Band willbe a much morepermanent band that those assembled for his previous releases, and was created toparallel and opposeStrapping Young Lad, with his moremellow music released by The Devin Townsend Band, and his moreangry music releasedby Strapping Young Lad. More information on thisproject is listed separately.

He has also dabbled in electronica, initially with the Project EKO EP, which was available as a bonus with the Special EditionofAcceleratedEvolution, and more recently with the dark ambient record Devlab. His plans to release another ambientelectronicalbum reached fruitionwith the release of Hummer in November 2006.

Devin Townsend still releases some material under his own name, but this material is only available for purchase fromhiswebsite atwww.hevydevy.com . Devin has chosen to do this for material that he does not believe to be appropriate forthegeneral public, and thecasual listener. To date he has release two Demo albums in this way, as well as Devlab andHummer.

Devin Townsend produces, either alone or with others, all of his own work. He has also worked with other artists inproducingtheir music.Townsend's work is often very experimental and progressive. Utilizing digital audio tools and multitrackrecordingprocesses, Townsendlayers sounds, sometimes with several layers of the same instrument, and he will frequently laydown asoundbed of atmospheric noisegiving a dense wall of sound effect.

Devin Townsend has his own label HevyDevy Records. This label is used almost exclusively for his solo material, but hasalsoreleased acouple of releases for side projects involving members of Strapping Young Lad.

Devin Townsend has bipolar disorder and has had a self-imposed stay in a mental hospitaL. Devin has also used thedisordertheme in theStrapping Young Lad record Alien. From May 2006, after the new Strapping Young Lad release "The NewBlack"and a successful tour,hitting the road at the Ozzfest, Devin is taking a hiatus from making records to enjoy some timeoffwith his wife Tracy and their newbornbaby Rainer.

He will be back in 2007 with a new project style (like Terria or Infinity) he hopes to record in Spring.


BiomechIn 1998 (just after the release of Strapping Young Lad's City), Devin Townsend released a new albumentitledBiomech. Biomechwas originally released under the band name Ocean Machine and Townsend himself explained thatOceanMachine was the opposite ofStrapping Young Lad in the way that the songs were in a more mellow and progressivestyle,rather than the metallic industrial thrashings ofSYL.

Ocean Machine released only one album. While Ocean Machine was more or less a solo project of Devin Townsend, heformeda band fortouring purposes (including many members from the 1998 lineup of Strapping Young Lad) and that bandtouredextensively in 1998 and1999 through Europe, Japan, Australia and Canada (sometimes only as "support" to DevinTownsendon the Terria Tour). Tour dates can befound here: Devin Kingdom.

Songs from the album have been, and still are, performed by The Devin Townsend Band and Ocean Machine is nowconsideredto be a part ofDevin Townsend's solo career. Since all of Devin's albums after Biomech have been released underthe nameDevin Townsend or The DevinTownsend Band, new prints of Biomech now read Devin Townsend: Ocean Machineinstead ofjust Ocean Machine. This is the same forairings of the music video for "Life".

Devin saw his music in colours and explained that Ocean Machine was blue whereas Strapping Young Lad was red. Bassdutieson Biomechwere handled by JR Harder while the drums were performed by Marty Chapman. Townsend completed allotherinstrumentation on the album,which includes vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, synthesizer, all production on thealbum andof course all song writing duties. A videowas made for the track Life, easily Biomech's most mainstream song.

No SleepIn 1998, Strapping Young Lad released their first live recordings on an EP titled No Sleep 'Til Bedtime. It wasjustbefore the EPwas released when Devin announced he and SYL drummer Gene Hoglan would be entering the studio to workona new project called Infinity.It was assumed at the time that Infinity would be a new "band" similar to Ocean Machine.Themusic Infinity would be coloured white,according to Townsend.

InfinityWhen Infinity was released, it was to the surprise of Devin's fans as the artist was credited as Devin Townsend andthealbum asInfinity. Previously it was assumed Infinity would be the band name. The second surprise was the nudephotograph ofDevin that was usedas the cover art. The artwork for the disc was completely white with a naked Devincrouching (coveringhis more "explicit" body parts) andgrinning like a madman. This image was unlike what was seen of Devinthus far. A video andsingle/EP was released for the stand-out trackChristeen, but as with Life, Devin was dissatisfied withthe outcome as hebelieves his music doesn't translate well to film.

It was also with the release of Infinity that Strapping Young Lad began touring as The Devin Townsend Band andmergedsongs fromBiomech and Infinity into a separate set.

PhysicistDuring this era, Devin began working with Jason Newsted (who was still a member of Metallica at the time) andthepair of them,along with Tom Hunting of Exodus, completed a 3 track demo under the name IR8. After this, Devin andJasonbegan talking publicly about anew project they were working on called Physicist (or Fizzicist) which they claimed wouldbe"heavier than Strapping Young Lad". The IR8tape was leaked, and aired by a Californian radio station that James HetfieldofMetallica was currently listening to. Metallica were unhappywith Jason working outside of their band and made it difficultforhim to continue with Physicist. This prompted Devin to record the albumhimself with his Strapping Young Lad bandmates,butas a Devin Townsend album.

Physicist's combination of Extreme metal with more mellow "pop" melody was a massive hit with fans and critics alike.

TerriaTownsend followed up Physicist with Terria, a warm and organic progressive album that had more atmosphericandsoothing parts thancrushing riffs. Terria was recorded with Gene Hoglan on drums, Craig McFarland on bass and JamieMeyeron keyboards.

SYLIn Feb 2003, Strapping Young Lad released their self titled follow up to City. A month later (March 31) a brand new lineupof The DevinTownsend Band released A.E and for the first time, the two bands toured separately for their separatealbums,once again creating a clearline between DTB and SYL.

Accelerated Evolution was released to grandiose praise from critics, fans and musicians like Steve Vai. It is also the firstalbumreleased byThe Devin Townsend Band.

SynchestraA live "in studio" DVD was included as a bonus with the Special Edition of the second Devin Townsend BandalbumSynchestra,released January 30, 2006 to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Devin describes Synchestra thus.

"It's a really dynamic, colorful, and long thing thats been worked on now in some instances since before 'Infinity'. Thisrecordwon't demandmuch from you, it will be an inviting and a summery nature theme. There's some dark bits, but just forcolor,and nothing imposing. It playslike a movie. oh...and it's big" HevyDevy Forums May 31, 2005.

So far, the only touring Devin has been doing to support the new album Synchestra is the beginning half of the Opethtourwith DarkTranquillity. It is highly unlikely that the DTB will tour extensively again until 2007, due to Devin and his wifeTracyexpecting their firstchild in October 2006. The video for the first single from Synchestra: Vampira - first aired onlineMarch 17,2006.

Taken from hevydevy.com « hide

Similar Bands: The Devin Townsend Band, The Devin Townsend Project, Strapping Young Lad, Punky Bruster, Casualties of Cool

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