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Devin Townsend Discusses Upcoming ‘Ridiculous’ Box Set, Ziltoid Musical

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Did you hear the one about the cheeseburger? The Devin Townsend Project had a big Styrofoam one as part of a concert series last summer in London, England, and soon you’ll get to see it on DVD, entitled ‘By a Thread,’ due out this summer.

“I submitted the mixes for the audio and we just finished the cover,” Townsend tells Noisecreep. “I think the entire project is like a 10-disc set or something ridiculous.”

Last November, The Devin Townsend Project performed four concerts for each of their four albums – 2009′s ‘Ki’ and ‘Addicted’ and 2011′s ‘Deconstructed’ and ‘Ghost.’ Billed as “An Evening With The Devin Townsend Project,” the first three were held at the University of London Union, and the final one at Union Chapel.

“Well, we’re going to do the four DVDs, four audio discs [CDS], one of bonus footage, and because the shows are too long to fit the encores on the audio discs, we have a disc of just the encores,” says Townsend, on the phone from his native Vancouver.

Each show was the full album, plus encores of various songs, he says.

“There’s bonus material from ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Deconstruction.’ We did a bunch of Punky Brüster stuff [Townsend's debut from 1996] and for ‘Addicted’ [concert] we did a bunch of old catalog stuff, just to flesh it out. So the people that come to the show are not just feeling ripped off that we played for 55 minutes and then buggered off,” he laughs.

Townsend chose to title the DVD set ‘By a Thread,’ he says the band only had two rehearsals to prep for all four concerts with different auxiliary players for each. “We’d just finished eight months on the road and we pulled it off, right. We had a little choir and big Styrofoam cheeseburger that came down from the roof,” he says, matter of factly.
Cheeseburger?

“The record ‘Deconstruction’ had this silly metaphor based around a cheeseburger so we just thought we’d have some friends in London build us a huge cheeseburger,” he explains. “Among the things that could have gone wrong would have been a six-foot wide cheeseburger crushing the choir or one of the four bands completely shitting the bed and it just being a complete disaster – but glory to the brave, right?!”

The prolific musician already has his next two release lined up. The Devin Townsend Project has five dates in Australia at the Soundwave Festival, Feb. 25 to March 5, and will be cutting drums for a new recording while there after the final show in Perth, then returning to Vancouver.

Erich Sadie

“I’m doing this record called ‘Epicloud,’” Townsend says. “Over the course of the full record, there’s sort of new agey stuff, jazzy stuff, really heavy stuff. We basically cover the gamut.
“‘Epicloud’ is the first record that I felt confident enough to include all those things on one record so it goes between melodic hard rock to schizophrenic heavy metal to country to really ambient stuff and it’s all in one place.

“I’m using a gospel choir, a string section and a horn section for this one as well,” he says. “On ‘Deconstruction,’ I got to use the Prague Philharmonic and really go far into making an absurd album as over the top as possible and on ‘Epicloud’ I’m trying to take the same advantages to make some things musically very pleasing, as opposed to just claustrophobic.”

A concert in London, Oct. 27, at the Roundhouse is already sold out and Townsend says another will be added. The night is billed as “The Retinal Circus: The Devil Townsend Project.”
“We’ve got orchestras and circus performers and it’s really going to be cool,” he says.

Watch The Devin Townsend Project’s ‘Juular’ Video

Townsend is also excited to be headlining the sidestage at UK’s Download Festival in June at Donington Park. “We just found out.”

Adding to his work load, he plans to follow ‘Epicloud’ with another Ziltoid album. 2007′s ‘Ziltoid The Ominiscient’ was his tongue-in-cheek rock opera about an alien.

“We’re doing the Ziltoid Musical and we’re gonna do it in London as well,” Townsend says. “It’s this huge puppet.”

Sounds like there’s a film in there somewhere?

“I think I’ve been under the radar for so long that I’m hoping at some point, somebody who makes films or somebody who has a ton of money says, ‘Hey I think it would be really cool to invest an amount of money into making a dumb puppet [laughs] and then who knows where we could take it.”

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