Heavy metal, progressive rock and genre-bending artist Devin Townsend recently sat down for a nearly two-hour podcast discussing the making of his albums Synchestra, Devlab and The Hummer. This podcast is the eighth video in the series that started four months ago.
Regarding Townsend’s reason for creating the series, Townsend stated, “My intention from the beginning was to go through all the records or at least the significant ones and by doing that by the time I get to Empath it is, at least in my mind, clear that the trajectory for what I’ve done is not random. It’s based on a lot of things. I regrettably didn’t have the emotional maturity when I was younger to articulate to the people that were going through it with me.”
Townsend explains “Synchestra was significant for me for a lot of reasons. First it’s the first album that I mixed. It’s the first album that I did at home. I did it on an iMac. It’s the first time I allowed myself to be a little more honest with my lyrical approach.”
For Synchestra the thing that was really sort of turning my handle at that point was this technique that I had sort of discovered with Ableton Live where I would take an existing song and I would bring it in to Ableton Live. I would take a sub mix of the song I was working on, just bass, drums, guitar and whatever state it was in and I would import that from Pro Tools, which is my main editing platform, and I would line it up in Ableton so that it was on the same tempo. Then I would take sections and loop it. I would then import random pieces of audio from other bands or voices or my own instrumentation and then I would set it so that those pieces of audio that I imported would be automatically cut so the transients lined up to the tempo and then I would just take those transient markers and just move them and then pitch them and add effects to them. So it became this really interesting, in my mind, warped sort of background sound.
In Synchestra , I use it throughout but notably in the song notes from Africa in the background of the song there was this looping pattern that was done in the same way and I just found that very appealing at that point.
According to The PRP, Townsend perfomed a livestream on Sep 5 with guitarist Wes Hauch (ex-The Faceless/Black Crown Initiate), bassist Liam Wilson (Azusa, ex-The Dillinger Escape Plan) and drummer Samus Paulicelli (Decrepit Birth).
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat