Devin Townsend is Seeking $10 Million to Write a Symphony About Dicks
Noisey just published an EXCELLENT interview with Devin Townsend that’s a must-read for any fan. If you’ve followed Devy over the years you know the guy’s a complete open book and his interviews are always entertaining… but this one’s chock full of so much good information!
To start: Devin is remarkably frank about what it costs to keep his band going on a monthly basis even when they’re not touring ($14,000!), and the necessity of doing meet-and-greets to pay the bills even though doing so doesn’t play well into his personality. He’s also incredibly candid that at this point he keeps pumping out regular DTP rock records just to “keep the boat floating” and “to keep everyone’s salary paid.” He makes it clear he’d rather be doing other music, which he’s been saying in varying degrees for years now.
But the real revelation in the Noisey piece is that Townsend is seeking $10 million in funding to write and record a symphony about “dicks and vaginas and death” which he wants to turn into one of the biggest live shows on earth. The symphony is The Moth project he’s previously hinted at, and yes, he’s completely serious about sourcing $10 million for it:
Noisey: The Retinal Circus and Z² were both big, overblown rock shows. If you had the money, would you do that with every gig?
Devin Townsend: Just you wait. I’m here at Sony tonight to pitch something I need ten million bucks for! The whole show is a metaphor for sex and power, and the idea of it all being related to some sort of God who’s ultimately futile. But it’s this symphony with all these cocks and vaginas and death and it’s gotta be so over-the-top, with symphonies and choirs and it’s got to include the best of the best and it’s so fucking expensive! I’d like to not think about money, but what I want to do is just get so much money, absurd amounts of money, and just put it all into this thing that’s a fundamentally unsellable spectacle, but make it so palatable that halfway through you’ll just be like, “The fuck are we watching here?” I love that idea of absurdity and spectacle coming together. The Retinal Circus was like a high-school play; Z² and the Royal Albert thing was fun, but again, it was more like a rock show. But what I wanna do now is just blow things up, right? So I need ten million bucks…
Is that project going to be The Moth?
Yeah. It started out as just being a symphony, but then I was like, “I can’t get ten million bucks to just do a symphony.” I needed to make it like a musical, with orchestras and choirs, and if I try and be like, “We’re gonna redo Steinbeck, we’ll do The Grapes Of Wrath” then it’s gonna get lost in a sea of that shit. But if you make it just fucking absurd and a spectacle of fundamentally unsellable items and concepts but with the same production values as The Phantom Of The Opera, I think it’d get people’s attention, right? Ultimately, it sounds like a load of fun; I wanna get a load of buddies together to work on this concept that I think is pretty interesting. I do the Devin Townsend Project and all these rock records, but that’s shit I’ve been doing for twenty years—it keeps the boat floating more than anything else. I’m gonna die whenever, so I just want to make a statement. And it’s about nothing. I haven’t got a point I wanna make—I just wanna have fun.
You’re pitching this idea now, so is anything finalized?
It’s sorted, in a way. Manifest destiny, right? It’s gonna happen, buddy!
Would The Moth be a one-off show?
It can’t be! That’s the genius part of the pitch—we’ll never recoup unless we do it everywhere! It’s this brutal, grotesque depiction of sex/power/death/God but I don’t want it to be satirical, like a comedy show. But it’s going to be ridiculous. So I’ve gotta pitch it in a way that legitimizes it and I’ve gotta do it with a straight face!
How much music has been written for it?
I had this orchestrator come and stay with me for a month, and he’s done Spielberg, Slumdog Millionaire and stuff like that. He’s fucking brilliant and so far out of my league, but he’s really interested. So he came over and we started working together and dude, it’s so good. So when we propose the idea, it’s not gonna be like a pipe dream, but it’s this really well-thought-out thing with all the orchestration and the art and the logos.
Is there a tentative date for when The Moth will happen?
It’s gonna take so much and I don’t want to nickel-and-dime it. If it takes a year or two, I can do another DTP record. I’ve got tons of music, and if that’s what we do to keep everyone’s salary paid or whatever, we can do some more rock songs—so there’s my contingency plan! Good, right?
If the whole Sony thing falls through… anyone got $10 million lying around they can donate to Devin Townsend? MetalSucks will gladly chip in some homemade latkes, Vince’s taxidermied bobcat and Emperor Rhombus’s left nut. Those’ve gotta be worth something, right?
Read the full interview at Noisey.