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Canadian musician, songwriter and producer Devin Townsend has traversed many sonic avenues in his solo career and is not one to be accused of limiting his artistic exploration. However, according to the man himself, not all musical experiments are successful, and can even sometimes lead to making songs that are, in his words, “f**king disgusting”.
“I went to L.A. and I wrote with a team who produced all the Nickelback stuff recently, Daughtry, all the American Idol people who win, and I wrote a song with them,” explains Townsend in an interview with Decibel. “And I hate it in such a way that is hard for me to quantify.”
Townsend says he was advised by people in his “world” to meet with the team and write some music because the uncertainty after wrapping up his work on his latest double-album Z2 was “dangerous” for his career.
The Canadian musician says that while he personally likes the people he collaborated with, the same cannot be said about what they produced together. “I told them yesterday or the day before that I’m not putting it out. There’s no f**king way I’m putting it out,” he continues. “I can’t spend twenty-five years sticking to my guns to try and sell people this. It’s everything I dislike about music, with my voice on it. It’s f**king disgusting.”
Townsend goes on to describe his disdain for the formulaic process of writing radio-ready rock songs and how it betrays the nature of artistic expression. “It’s a shame,” he says. “When people are like, ‘Nothing you’ve done is as good as you did when you were younger.’ And I’m like, ‘You may be right.’ But what I’m doing now is exactly what I feel like I should be doing.”
“So what do you do?” he continues. “Do you go write a f**king pop song and cash in and then spend the rest of your life thinking, ‘I could have stuck to my guns but instead I sucked a cock…’.”
Townsend also expresses his opinion of the current metal scene and his response to the “sellout” criticism of Sky Blue, the first disc from his Z2 double album.
Townsend was last in Australia in October 2014, taking part of a series of guitar clinics, giving others insight into his diverse skills.
Read the full interview with Decibel here.
Image: Devin Townsend Project Live At Palace Theatre, Melbourne 13/10/13 / Photo: Anwar Rizk