It's been two decades since Devin Townsend away from his alter ego, Strapping Young Lad, and began performing and recording under his own name -- albeit under band monikers such as the Devin Townsend Band and the Devin Towsend Project.
The latter is the Canadian musician's current concern and, according to Townsend, has become even more of a band with "Transcendence," his seventh album under the DTP banner. It's certainly diverse, with touches of hard and progressive rock and heavy metal, as well as rich melodicism and plenty of flashy chops. And he says that the more collaborative approach he took on the album was indeed a, well, transcendent experience for all concerned...
Townsend, 44, acknowledges that he feel less like a guitar hero and more a band leader these days. "I think that to a certain degree it's a matter of just time," he explains. "Things change, man, and I think that, inevitably, things have to change; If you don't you're just going to end up repeating yourself. My goals as a person are very much in line with what I write about. I want to be a better version of myself, ultimately. Being a musician is a brilliant vocation, and I'm honored and humbled to be able to do it for a living. But also I don't want to be a version of myself when I'm older that's less developed than when I was younger. That wouldn't make any sense. So part of that evolution includes being more of an ensemble-type character, I would think so."
That, in turn, changed the working environment for "Transcendence" when the DTP convened to record it. "I'm very fortunate to have a group of guys that are very sensitive to my needs as an artist, very adept at being able to fill in the blanks in ways that sound like this band, which is great," Townsend notes. "Ultimately what I bring to the table as my most significant contribution is the vision. That's the thing that I can only do on my own, right? And it's not something you can conjure up; It's akin to archaeology, you kind of see something stick out of the dirt and try to excavate it until you can see what it is."
After the DTP finishes touring in support of "Transcendence," Townsend plans to step outside the group to work on "a symphony next, which is a massive undertaking. I'm currently in the sort of formative stages, which includes a lot of prep and delegating. I'm trying to make it so that I foresee the effort that's going to go into it and have all those kind of eventualities covered so when I actually started creating it I'll be composing and in the creative flow rather than trying to get the gear sorted out or get logistics together and all of that. I've got a skeleton worked out right now, so it's down to jsut what it's going to sound like and getting the logistics of it together."
Devin Townsend Project and Between The Buried and Me
Thursday, Sept. 22. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.
Tickets are $27.50.
Call 313-961-8137 or visit saintandrewsdetroit.com.
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