MTUK Metal 'Zine recently conducted an interview with Devin Townsend (STRAPPING YOUNG LAD). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
MTUK: What I said to you earlier about integrity and everything, that is the main reason why you're bowing out?
Devin: "Oh yeah, yeah."
MTUK: I can't blame you, you've had a child and everything and you've been in the media attention so much.
Devin: "By no means am I doing it for any altruistic reason. I'm not doing it to say 'I'm keeping my integrity,' I think I have more of a fear of success. I want to have a good time, I want to hang out with my friends and laugh about shit, I want to make music where I can just say 'Hey, check this out, this is crazy, have a listen…and anyway, what did you do today?' But as far as doing another album…"
MTUK: Being told to do another album and having a contract…you've had enough of it.
Devin: "Yeah and the thing with the STRAPPING thing is that, it might sound cheesy but whatever I say I'm going to do I'm going to do. I told them I'd do five records — I did five records. At the end of it they offered us this big deal, we'll re-sign you, we've got all these big bands that'll take you out on the road now. I just said 'I'm done, I told you, I'm done.' There's a good chance that if it hadn't gone to the level that it has then we might be doing it still."
MTUK: What are you going to say, three or four years down the line, you've had all the black metal bands like EMPEROR and IMMORTAL who've split up and then all of a sudden they get offers and they reform and headline huge festivals. What's going to be your opinion when you're asked to do that?
Devin: "Well I really hope that I'll be able to say no. It's like…"
MTUK: It's a difficult thing to give an answer to.
Devin: "It's only difficult because if my kids are starving… you know? But there's a good chance with the production and doing music elsewhere that that isn't going to be the case. I honestly feel that if you can make a living…success is completely…you're always going to chase it right? If you have success it's never going to be as big as what could happen next. You're constantly chasing this imaginary thing and at the end of it, I go back to the METALLICA example again…you look at 'Some Kind Of Monster' and those guys are fucked. Ah dudes, they look terrified, they don't look like happy people. You've got Kirk Hammett, 'I'm a cowboy now! I live out in the fields and I don't want anybody to talk to me about METALLICA.'"
On future projects:
MTUK: When you say ambient music, what is your idea of what you really want to go into?
Devin: "Well I really like, there's this band from Newcastle from years ago called ZOVIET FRANCE. I love them. It's just like moods. I like sounds right? I've got a little studio and it's a real modest studio, just a ProTools LE system etc but because of that if I have an idea to make a puppet record, three months later it's done.
MTUK: It's kind of like you've got GODFLESH, you've got STRAPPING YOUNG LAD and you've got JESU — the other level. So you maybe want to tone down things?
Devin: "Maybe not even that. There maybe some stuff I do in the future that is as brutal and heavy as STRAPPING, it's just not going to be STRAPPING. I think that's the main crux of it, I want the ability to do whatever I want without a whole fleet of lawyers and record companies analyzing it and telling me what to do. It's like the success of doing it that way doesn't mean enough to me as an artist or a person for me to fight about it. I'm not going to fight anymore I'm just going to do it the way I want to do it. Why am I going to do it that way and be so obstinate? Because I don't care enough about it to spend that much time on it. Ziltoid, from the first month to the last note mastered was four months. Without having any music to having a completed record was four months. It was a concept and a puppet and a record and a myspace and the sense of achievement for me was like 'great — done.' It's like when you've got a project at school, you do it and you hand it in. You don't sit around going, 'Remember that project I did? That was awesome — in fact I've got project three and four coming up…' I prefer to be like Ziltoid — that was great. I got to make a puppet and come to England and hang out and do some really ridiculous stuff and now…what am I going to do next? I've got a whole load of ideas about what I'm going to do next and they're completely different to anything I've done. And then they'll be done and I'll do something else right? I think it will be just put it up on my website and then whoever is interested in what I do can just access it and listen to it. But I definitely don't want to force it on anyone. I really like doing things myself too. It might not be super-slick or super-cool but at least I did it. I like doing layouts, I like doing art, I like doing puppets…"
Read the entire interview at www.metalteamuk.net.