Devin Townsend is a singer, guitarist, producer, father and husband. Devin got his start singing for Steve Vai and playing with the Wildhearts but it was with his extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad that we came to know him as HevyDevy. Now, nearly three years since Strapping's swansong and in the wake of a self-imposed hiatus Devin is back—drug, alcohol and skullet free—to unveil his latest masterworks. Ki is the first of four albums set to be released this year by the Devin Townsend Project, a group of revolving musicians that features a familiar voice, and face, up front. I caught up with Devin to talk about Ki, as well as the next three albums. Along the way we got to talk about the future of Strapping Young Lad, his views on the Loudness Wars and his adventures in babysitting/producing.
SputnikMusic: How are you doing?
Devin Townsend: Good, man. How are things with you?
SM: Okay. I'm enjoying my Victoria Day holiday, I guess...
DT: Oh, cool. Where are you?
SM: I'm in Toronto right now.
DT: Oh, really?
SM: Yeah. You're in BC, right?
DT: Yeah, I'm in Vancouver.
SM: How are you enjoying it? It's kind of a bizarre holiday for me.
DT: In which way?
SM: It's supposed to be for [Queen Victoria's] birthday, right? But it changes every year.
DT: Heh. I didn't even know. In all honesty, man, it's like... I find holidays to incredibly frustrating for the most part because it's usually the day that I'm right in the middle of something and I need to get something done, and everybody is like, “Oh, it's Queen Beatrice's third aunt's uncle's..y'know...fun party day,” and therefore everything is closed between 2 and 7. And I'm like, “yeah, but I need a fucking compressor.”
SM: I don't get it. It's supposed to be May 24, but May 24 is on a Sunday [this year]. It's confusing.
DT: Either way, I'm working, so...regardless of whether it's a holiday.
SM: You're not really on a 9-5 so it doesn't really matter. So I guess you're working...are you working on the rest of those albums? How is it going?
DT: Second record...I'm just trying to get it together. I'm doing a preset for this Drumkit From Hell program that's just coming out, so I'm trying to get that uploaded right now. Then the second record, I've got to do editing all day on it and...it's good man. You know it's just like onward and upward, right. The first record is done, second one is in the works, third and fourth to follow. I'm just kind of plugging away every day.
SM: Are they already all written?
DT: For the most part. There are a couple things here and there will be refined or re-written but I mean for the most part they're all...
SM: You've got the groundwork.
SM: I actually just heard the new album for the first time the other day. It's good, I like it, but it's definitely different for you. It's still got your signature sound to it...
DT: I think the thing to remember with this record is that it's the first of four and it's meant to be an introduction to it. There's going to be a lot of people who know me from stuff I've done in the past and kind of cock their heads at it. But I mean, I think, for me, I had to just be honest with where I wanted to go at this point in my life. Specifically how I wanted to perform these records, because the third and fourth records are definitely a lot heavier. And uh, you know, I thought, okay, well how do I introduce this whole thing? Do I introduce it with, like, a bunch of fanfare, and like...trumpets and all that extra stuff...or do I just kind of do it quietly? And I think the quiet approach definitely made sense for me at this point, because I definitely don't want to push it down anybody's throat. I definitely...I'm not trying to make, like, some sort of profound statement. I'm just writing music, and this particular piece of music spans four records and this is how it seems to want to start. So I think there's going to be people that hear Ki for what it is and really like it, and there's going to be people that hear it and want it to be something else and then will probably be confused by it. In the context of what it means with these four records it makes perfect sense, and I hope that when the other three records are out people may able to go back to Ki and say, “Oh, wow, I never actually heard it as what it was supposed to be heard for, I was kind of listening to it to be...and wondering why it wasn't Strapping and why it wasn't DTB or whatever,” but it's definitely that way for a reason.
SM: You just kind of wrote it. You were on sort of a self-imposed hiatus for a while, did you just feel like you had to get it out there?
DT: I think the self-imposed hiatus also had a lot to do with the fact that I was unsure why I was doing things I was doing, and then I came to the conclusion...I was like...a lot of the reasons I was doing things I was doing is because I was stoned out of my head. When I took the drugs out of my system I realized a lot of the reasons I was having problems playing and doing interviews is because of that. Because I was kind of participating in this kind of fantasy world that really was taking away from what I'm here to do, which is just to write and perform. So in that hiatus I kind of came to the conclusion that, I'm like, well you don't need any of this shit to do what you do, in fact it actually makes it harder for you to do what you do when you're stoned. When I started writing again I found that I wrote just a ton..a ton of music and Ki seemed like a really appropriate intro to it because it is so restrained. You know, you do what you do.
SM: I found it interesting though how every once and a while it did seem like you did want to speed it up or get really heavy, but you never really did on the album. It kind of teases you a bit.
DT: That's the whole idea. That's definitely on purpose. I think in terms of how I even wrote it...I wasn't able to get angry or...serious while I was writing the record. I had too much at stake to lose my shit. For this first record there's a couple points on it where you're like, “okay here it goes, here it goes” and it just doesn't...the blue balls, right? I think for folks that really really love Strapping that's the stuff that can be very frustrating, but for somebody who's maybe my age and maybe going through some similar things I think they can probably relate to that. Because going to those extremes ultimately, for me at this point in life, doesn't really do anything but leave me with a bunch of shrapnel to pick up after the fact. So it wants to go, but it doesn't. On the second and third records it definitely does go, but for this first record I wanted to illustrate that idea of restraint.
SM: The production is a little more restrained too, there's not as much of a wall of sound...
SM: I've heard a lot of it was live, and you can tell with the one song you just kind of jammed out... Is that something that, when you eventually do tour, are you going to have some of the jammed stuff or is that going to depend on who you're touring with, who is in the line-up.
DT: It depends on who I'm going to tour with for sure. I think that a lot of it was just being honest as well. I know I spent so many years with Pro Tools, making everything perfect and constructing this image of myself that makes you seem like you're Zeus on top of a mountain throwing lightning bolts, right? But I think at the end of it you've got to be honest, it's like, I do what I do, right? There's like a human element to it that if it's completely absent then all of a sudden the music itself becomes kind of synthetic in a way. So just for this record I wanted to do something that's just like...yeah I really like jamming, I really like spur of the moment stuff and I didn't want to edit the drums, I didn't want to edit the bass, I didn't want to put tons of samples and shit on everything. Will I do that on the future? Oh yeah, of course. But, I mean, for this one, I kinda wanted to do with certain people, “get comfortable, there's a lot of music coming,” and I don't have enough invested in that identity of me being “wall of sound buddy” to do it this time. It was important for me to stand out and be, like, “this is where I'm at, y'know? Like it or lump it, it's like...this is where I'm at”. I think that there's definitely a certain faction of the audience that are just like, “well it's a boring record and I don't like it”, and I'm like “that's totally cool, good to know actually because I think it's great and maybe as a result of that maybe we were never meant for each other in the first place.”
SM: Different strokes for different folks. I don't think it would have suited the wall-of-sound anyway.
DT: Totally. And in all honesty, I tried man. I tried doing the wall-of-sound with it and it just kind of ruined it...it turned it into a not-so-good Strapping record. It's like...Ki is supposed to be what it is...clean guitars [muffled]...and as soon as you try and force it into a different category it just becomes a bad version of something else. It just did what it wanted to do and again, the second record Addicted is a much heavier record, there's a lot of loops and chaos and then the third record, Deconstruction, is a very complicated, very heavy record that should satisfy people who know me for a certain thing.
SM: You've said that Deconstruction is going to be the heaviest thing you've ever done, but in what regards? Is it going to be heavy as in the last half of “Info Dump”, which was just really overbearing, or is it going to be...do you know what I'm trying to say?
DT: I think it's all different. It's like...whatever your perspective on heavy is. My perspective on heavy now is different than what it was in the past. I mean, will it be heavy like City, that serious 25 year old anger? Of course not, y'know because I'm almost 40, I can't do that anymore. Will it be heavy like Alien, that super obsessive, super paranoid energy? Well no, because I'm not obsessive and I'm not paranoid right now. Will it be like “Info Dump”, where it's just destruction? No, not really because that's not where I was either. What I mean by heavy in terms of this record is...complicated. Tight harmonies, heavy production...intensity. It's not going to be, like, anger. It's not going to be, like, destruction. It's just going to be, like....really really...a tightly wound, really intense musical thing that's almost like symphonic music. And by heavy I just mean, I think technically more than anything else. Definitely sonically too, it's not going to be like hard rock, it's going to be heavy metal. It's not going to be...it's not Strapping, it's not Strapping, but it shares certain things with Strapping, like the sound and the speed in some parts and the crushing nature and elements of the sound and everything. But in terms of, “I'm 25 years old, fuck the world, fuck everybody, fuck me, fuck you, fuck your dog”...it's like...I'm kind of past that in a way.
SM: So it's not as pissed off?
DT: I mean it is, just in a different way. I'm almost 40, right? I'm just as pissed off as I ever was, but there's certain things that I know now that no matter how much I am pissed off about it I can't do anything about it. So just to be an adult about it, you have to realize...it's like, well am I going to waste tons of energy screaming about something I can't change or should I really work on fighting for the things that I can and in a way, that's a lot heavier to me at this point.
SM: I've heard...I don't know if you can touch on this, but I've heard that you might include an orchestra or a choir or something...is that in the plans?
DT: Oh, it is but the thing is...
SM: Easier said that done?
DT: ....I've got a very small record budget to do this, so you know it'll be a very small choir, very small...
SM: It adds up.
DT: I've also just decided to get all of that stuff digitally, right. You can get some really good programs. I mean the intention's going to be the same, it'll sound like a really huge crazy fucking symphony, right, but it might not be a huge crazy symphony.
SM: So you might bring the other production style back for that then? If it feels right?
DT: Actually the other production style is going to be very much that record and the next one. Like, Ki is very much...Ki and the last record are the only ones where the production style is different, actually.
SM: With Ki I noticed that “Trainfire” is kind of the odd one out. To me, it's kind of like an Elvis or a Johnny Cash kind of vibe to it..this boxcar musicians...
DT: Yeah, I definitely love Johnny Cash, definitely love Elvis. Just being honest with that motivation that song definitely seemed to be appropriate for this record because I'd written it and I really liked it, so I just felt I really needed to include it and then a lot of people commented on that record and I think, for me, it's important for me to be able say, yeah, well I love Johnny Cash. It was the first concert I ever went to, that guy was hard as nails. And, you know Elvis [muffled] the song “Mystery Train” I felt was brilliant, right, especially at the time. So I think that again it just comes back to being honest about whatever you feel like doing and again I'm not on a mission, I'm not trying to shove it down anybody's throat. It's just like...I make music, I've made a lot of music in the past 3 years and I'm going to do it all because that's what I do and you know I'm not insisting anybody buy it, or even sell it. I mean if you want it you can always download it. If you want me to tour, it would be great if you could buy something but again, I'm not doing this to make a point, I'm doing this just because it's what I do.
SM: You're not doing it for the sake...you're doing it because you want to do it.
DT: Totally. And I mean it even comes back to some jamming elements on Ki, it's what I wanted to do. And people are like, “we don't really feel like we want to accept that from you”. And I'm like, well then just don't....
SM: Just listen to your other stuff
DT: ...I don't know what to tell you, don't buy it then man. It's like there's going to be people that like it and people that don't and I think there's a lot of times when musicians, when they get into the interviews, are just like, “this is our best record of all time, we're here to redefine the genre and this is a classic” and all of this shit and I'm like, this is another record in a long stream of records and I've got three more to do this year. Do I like it? Hell yeah, I love it. It's one of my favourites I've ever done. But does that mean other people are going to like it? I don't know. And in all honesty I can't spend too much time worrying about it.
SM: And I mean it's not like there's any shortage of your past material. You're not at a point where you need to keep redoing the same thing. You've got enough out there...If it's not for you, just stick to what you do like, right?
SM: You're not running out of stuff.
DT: Totally and I mean...also the thing is people are going, “well we want you to do Strapping,” and I was like...why? “Well...City was our favourite record.” And I was like going...well I was 25 when I did that and to go back and do that now, and to pretend I'm something that I've resolved in a lot of ways, makes the whole thing a parody. I know that Strapping means a lot to me, I love that band and I'm very proud of everything we did. But I quit it for a reason. It wasn't because it was going downhill, in fact it was going uphill...but I'm just like...you have to be honest about it. People are saying, “well why can't you just do it?” and I'm just like...well you can't. You can't pretend you're something you're not, and when I say something I'm talking about 25 year olds, right? I'm almost 40 and in all honestly if that's what you like, dude, there's tons of band out there that are 25 years old and fucking furious, right? In all honesty...a lot more angry than I've got the energy to be at this point and it's not because I'm not angry, it's just that...
SM: It's different
DT: ...it's just like, well...you can rage about..for example the government all you want but if you're sitting back writing heavy metal and smoking pot, the government's not going to listen to you.
SM: No. And that usually happens with a lot of bands, they keep going just because they feel like they should and it starts to become obvious that it's not as honest as it used to be.
DT: That's the thing as well. If there's somebody who loves Strapping as much as I do...why would you want it to turn into a parody of itself? I wanted Strapping....I signed a five record deal, I did five records, and I hung on until the very end. Even though The New Black was a different intention, it was still Strapping. So for me, if I had continued, man, it would have turned into this joke. It would have been a bunch of old guys, bald guys pretending they were 25. Dude, every time I got off stage with Strapping I'd go listen to mellow music, read a book or something, and I started coming to the fact that when I was 25 I'd get off stage and I'd rage for like...until the next day, until we had to go back on stage again. Drinking and smoking and partying and all of that shit, and then all of a sudden I started going...man I really don't think... I really think I'm changing here. Am I still angry? Of course. There's people dying around me, there's people being born..I mean there's tons of things that'll make me be angry but if I'm not doing it for the same reason I did it in the beginning...and it's impossible for me to explain that to a lot of fans who are just like...I'll say “this is the reason why I quit”, and they're just like, “Okay, but when are you going to do it again?” and I'm like, “no no no, you don't hear me. This is the reason I quit, because what made Strapping important to me I can't do based on...strictly age”. And they're going, “okay, okay...so when are we going to expect a reunion?” and I'm going...let me say it one more time, and if you don't get it this time then we're just going to have to agree to disagree.
SM: So fans should just kind of assume...don't get your hopes up.
DT: Yeah, and in all honesty there's a lot of bands in my past that I wish would have stopped. Bands that are in their 50s now, still wearing leather pants, and I'm thinking to myself, man, something tells me that you're not as...when you were doing it, the thing I liked about the music was that it was fucked when it was happening, and I used to love that element of it. But when all of a sudden they're not fucked up anymore and they've ended up resolving some of that shit just based on getting older and then try and be fucked up again...it just looks...
SM: It's obvious.
DT: Dude...and I found that for myself...I was watching the Download festival and was like, man, that dude on stage, singing there, is about 2 months away from being an obvious parody of himself.
SM: Yeah. I mean sometimes it works. I just watched that d0cumentary about the band Anvil and it's really sad...I mean they are in their 50s they're still trying to make it, and then you have these other bands who are in their 50s and they just won't take a hint.
DT: Also, there's certain types of folks...there's certain types of people that can do that type of music until they're fifty but there's NO WAY I could. There's no way I could be like Anvil, no way I could be like Judas Priest, no way I can be like Iron Maiden. It's like... I can be Strapping Young Lad until the point in my life where that no longer is something that honestly happens. To be perfectly blunt, the energy that made City such an effortless record for me to do is the same energy that makes Ki a good record.
SM: Just in a different way.
DT: Just in a different way. To try and...what I found is when people were like, “all we want is Strapping” and I was like...well that's just going to make me money, that's just going to be my motivation, and then I go back to try and do it...what I had to do to re-connect with that was something that was effortless when I first did it with City...with Alien for example, even though it ended up being a great record, I ended up having to fuck myself up just to do it. And it wasn't fun, it wasn't like I'm making this art and making this music because this is what my motivation is, I was like...people want it so hear I go. I'm going to fucking do drugs, I'm going to drink, I'm going to go fuck myself up, I'm going to get into fights...I'm going to do all of this shit just to reconnect with it and then at the end of it you become this kind of pathetic martyr...because I'm like, “I'm doing it for you guys”, man, it's just like for me, as an artist, if you want to use that term, it's like...what I want to hear from me is what comes out...
DT: Well yeah. When I'm not trying to connect with it. I think the thing that you have to balance with that is there's going to be certain people that are going to be like, “well we just don't like where you are right now” and I'm like...well that's good to know in a lot of ways because I'd prefer to be disliked for being honest than to be loved for being a fucking parody.
SM: Is that how you ended up with so much material? It just kind of... you let it flow out, you didn't set out to do anything specific really...it just sort of happened?
DT: Totally. Like I say, there's going to be...people are going to hear the third record and go “oh wow, that's fucking crazy heavy. It's different, it's not Strapping but it's crazy heavy”. But again, at the end of this four record cycle there may be people who are just like, “okay, well now that he's said what he's said, now that he's done what he's needed to do, now that he's kind of all happy and he's not doing drugs and whatever, I've decided that I don't like him anymore”. I'm like...that's cool, man. That's totally cool.
SM: You don't want to let it control you.
DT: What...no. I'm not gonna.
SM: Are you still in touch with those guys though? You were with them for a while, so it's not like....
DT: Oh yeah.
SM: It's not like you broke off your ties to them, you're just not doing the band because it doesn't feel right.
DT: Totally. There's a difference between band members and friends, too. It sucks if you're in a band that's fairly popular and then the singer decides to pull the plug but then you also discover who your actual friends are, right? And what I've discovered with the Strapping guys is yeah, we've been friends for 15 years and that's not going to change.
SM: When you do decide to tour The Devin Townsend Project, are you a little bit worried or nervous just about being back in that sort of atmosphere, that touring atmosphere? Or is it something you feel you've completely gotten control over?
DT: Oh dude, I've got more than control over it. At this point, it's like...it would be nerve racking for me if the control that I've gained didn't result in anything positive but what I've found is that by having this control over myself I'm like...aw shit, I didn't even realize that I could have been doing this all along. Not musically, but just emotionally...the focus and the control I've got over my programs and my computers and my instruments. It's just so much more focused that I know for myself, when I'm around drugs right now, or booze or whatever...sex or anything like that now... Of course I know that in the interim it would be great but ultimately it's just going to throw me back, it's going to put me back months and months and months. If that's what you want, sure then go for it...fuck it, drink it, smoke it.
SM: But you've been there, done that.
DT: Yeah, dude. In terms of the future, it's like...I really, really appreciate this focus right now and if the only thing I have to do to keep that focus is to deny myself things that ultimately are just a diversion...it's no problem now.
SM: Are you almost excited to get back on the road then?
DT: In a way. I mean the first thing I'm going to do is a bunch of clinic tours throughout America and Canada and just be...talk, play, sing...do some stuff, talk about the process, ask questions, answer questions and kind of give people who are interested in music more of a hands on kind of thing as opposed to coming out in a big burst of fog and lasers and shit and just being “IT'S MEEEEEEE”. Just be like, yeah, actually it is...it's me.
SM: You've got an interesting perspective, you do the production side a lot now and you do...you can go on a clinic tour and you don't need to come out and shred for 45 minutes, you can talk and you can...
DT: But I mean during those clinic tours I'd love to perform....
DT: ...do some acoustic stuff...and I think in a lot of ways, kind of taking back that veil a bit definitely helps me as an artist too to be able to say...sure there's some crazy stuff, there's some complicated stuff, heavy stuff, mellow stuff, whatever...but ultimately this is how I did it, this is why I did it and this is the process I used in order to record it...any questions? In terms of making it the kind of hyperbole like a lot times, these shows...and that's the thing about shows that always bugged me so much is it kind of made the band seem like this larger than life thing but it's like...nobody is larger than life. Humans are humans, we all shit and eat and fucking worry and have to pay bills, right? So to kind of present yourself as some sort of, like I say Zeus on top of a mountain throwing lightning bolts...it implies that you actually think that about yourself and I fucking certainly do not. I'm just a musician, I'm a nerd and I just do my thing and I think I write good shit and I think that if I could perform for people there's no reason why it can't be a smaller thing.
SM: As a producer, how do you feel about the Loudness Wars that are going on? Like the new Metallica album is so hard to hear because it was just so loud.
DT: I actually bought that record and listened to it twice, and it was not because I thought it was a bad record, it just sounded fucking bad. On Ki when we mastered it I told the mastering engineer, I was like...I officially pull my hat out of the loudness wars. Dynamics are what it's all about for me so with Ki it's a quiet record, it's a dynamic record...
SM: And then when it builds up...it builds up you can hear it properly. It's not a bunch of noise and it's not maxing out.
DT: Totally and I mean I think the thing is it's like any trend...that Loudness Wars is going to continue and go for it, man. And on the second record I'm doing I'm going to get it mastered by some big cheese guy who's probably going to pin it but I mean I'll try and pull it back a bit. But for Ki it's about music and it's about the personal experience of the guy or girl who is listening to it and if it's on your iPod and you want it louder just turn it up. If you don't listen to the record because it's not as loud as the Metallica record then that's fine, in all honesty I'd prefer you go listen to Metallica.
SM: How does it feel having the family life? There was a video circulating of you talking about a baby crying and you called babies “need blobs”...has that changed now that you have a son of your own?
DT: Hah. No. It's reinforced. I mean...birth, other than death, is the most common human thing. You've got breathing, eating, shitting, birth and death. It's just life, man. I'm heading towards forty, I've got a kid, there you go. It's not a profound a profound artistic change. And do I like babies? Of course, you love your own kid, but are babies hard work? Fuck yeah. I don't know what to say.
SM: Is it a benefit then to do a lot of your work yourself, being able help with production so you can be at home, at least be around...is that a benefit?
DT: Well, yeah. Of course. But a lot of people are like...just go on tour, let the wife take care of the kid and I'm like yeah, but the world is full of assholes..
SM: You want to know your kid, too.
DT: And I don't want him to be an asshole. But in terms of my output, I mean shit, I've done four records this year so it's definitely not slowing it down and in all honesty, when people say “how is having a baby changed your world?” I'd say that if I hadn't have had a baby there's a good chance I would have just quit. I would have gone and fucking made furniture or something. Honestly. But having a baby it was like...well, I've got to make a living. What am I good at? Music. Should I produce? Fuck no. That's like babysitting, I've got a baby at home, man.
SM: But you have still been producing, right?
DT: I mix now, but I don't produce.
SM: You don't produce anymore? You do keep busy though, you do some guest vocals...you did a remix on a Protest the Hero EP...is that stuff you wanted to do to keep busy? How does that stuff come about?
DT: Well...they either contact me...I think Protest the Hero's manager contacted my management and then I heard...I've never even met those guys right, so...I'll do whatever...honestly, if there's a killer production that comes in I'll do it, for sure, but the thing is I did some good productions over the past few years but dude I did a lot of shit, too. That was the thing that really crushed me, right? I never really got a band that came to me that I was just like “this band is killer”. I mean had a few that were like that, of course, but a lot of times it would be bands that would come to me and they didn't have their shit together and they'd be fighting amongst themselves and the songs weren't written and it wasn't rehearsed and the drummer sucked and they're like, “yeah and we've got fifteen grand” and I'm like...fuck, okay, well you get two and a half weeks and in order for it to not be a totally shitty record that means two and a half eighteen hour day....eighteen and a half hour days over two and a half weeks just so I can make the record slightly above average.
SM: So you just don't want to babysit. You don't want to do it just to make a living, you want to do it if it's right.
DT: Totally. If I'm with a band that is killer and has their shit together and has rehearsed and likes me for a reason and can realize that when someone says, “hey man, that's a shitty riff”...not that I'd say that, “but that's a superfluous part and we're trying to make something here that's timeless” and they say “hey, I understand. Let's talk about this...let's make this happen.” But a lot of the bands I got were just like...babies, just fighting with each other. And I mean...not all of them, and there's no way I'll name names. But I did some amazing bands, specifically over the past couple of years, but there was the odd one where they came in and they were just so not prepared and I found that I would take that stress home with me and I'd be like...because I get into whatever I do. Whatever I do I'm going to give it 150%, right? So if all of a sudden I've got some band that's unprepared and crying and all of this shit then I take that home with me. But when I do have a band that's awesome, every day I'm like “let's kill it, let's do it”. So right now I'm going to do my four records, I'm going to mix some records for some bands and then in the future, and even now, if some band came to me that was killer and said, “let's do this record, we've got a decent budget”...
SM: If you can get excited about it.
DT: Totally. What it takes for me to get excited about it at this point is, like...if you're in music, man, you're lucky to be in music. You should be fucking thanking your lucky stars you're not flipping pizzas for a living. You know what I mean? And so when I have bands coming to me miserable or the singer is miserable or the bass player is miserable I'm just going, well, why don't you go get a fucking job, dude? You're lucky to be doing this for a living. Maybe you've been fucking spoilt your whole life or whatever, but dude you are lucky to have people in your world that are willing to help you make this shit. And so the fact that I have to play this game with you at this point just fucking ages me.
SM: It's not for you.
DT: No it's not. But I mean, dude, bring me a band that's amazing, and I've had some amazing bands, and it's fun.
SM: Do you enjoy collaborating, though? That's basically how you got your start, you started with Steve Vai and then you were with the Wildhearts for a bit..
DT: I'll tell you what I want to do in the future, and this is no joke. I want to play bass for somebody who is awesome. Hah.
SM: I can understand that. You're still in touch with Ginger from the Wildhearts, right? So is that..
DT: Kind of, kind of. We'll see. Ginger is...Ginger is a brilliant guy, it's just a hard relationship for me because I'm also...I like consistency. Ginger, he's such a brilliant guy and some days he's one way and some days he was another...
DT: Yeah, and I haven't talked to the guy in so many years, man, it's like that might have changed. I think he's brilliant, I love his music, but I mean if I'm going to play bass for somebody, I want it that it's like we sit in a room together there's no drama, there's no...I'm Canadian man. I like shit the way I like it. Basically I'd love to play bass for...find a girl who is an amazing singer or find an amazing guitar player or an amazing drummer and everybody can just hang out in the same room and I can just quietly sit back and hold shit down. That's what I want to do in the future.
SM: Is that how Ki felt? You've got kind of an interesting line-up of guys, you've got a guy from a Beatles cover band who works in a music store, you've got a guy in his 60s...
DT: I'm still the leader, though. It's still my songs, my ideas. Basically it's like, man, I play bass every night. That's what I do. I practise bass more than anything else. After the day is over...guitar and editing and interviews and all of that, at night, dude I go home and I play bass. So eventually I want to play bass. We'll see what happens
SM: We will. We'll see if anybody responds to that.
DT: I doubt they will. But in the mean time...I'm practising.
SM: You're busy enough.
DT: I'm going to have to get going here, I've got some more to do and we're a little over...
SM: For sure. It was nice talking to you.
DT: But I really appreciate it man and I hope there's something in the next three records that maybe you'll get into.
SM: No, I like Ki a lot actually, I'm curious to hear where you're going with it.
DT: Thanks, buddy. You're the first Canadian interview I've done so peace man, have a great day.
SM: You too.
Keep up with Devin Townsend by checking him out on Twitter and MySpace. Ki is in stores everywhere on May 22nd.