DATE OF INTERVIEW:
DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT
18th March 2017
RYAN VAN POEDEROOYEN
METAL DISCOVERY: What would be your dream musical scenario… like, a supergroup? If you could jam with any guys, who would you choose?
RYAN: I’ve answered this question before and it’s always the same. For a singer, it would be Mike Patton. And then it’s a toss-up between Geddy Lee and Les Claypool for bass. And guitar player, it’s very easy – it’d be Eddie Van Halen because I’ve been a Van Halen fan forever. If Dimebag were alive, it would be Dimebag.
(Ryan Van Poederooyen on Darkane's Peter Wildoer, and his drumming for Non-Human Level)
"I was like, “oh man, I don’t want Peter to hear this”… out of respect, because I knew how monstrous of a drummer he was."
Ryan Van Poederooyen at Rock City, Nottingham, UK, 18th March 2017
Photograph copyright © 2017 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Ryan Van Poederooyen Website:
Thanks to Freddy Palmer for arranging the interview
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Devin Townsend Website:
MD: For the groove?
MD: Cool. If I can run some drummers past you, who I think are some of the unsung heroes from the scene, for your opinion on their chops…
MD: A guy I’ve always admired is Steve Flynn. He should be a household name. He was a trendsetter for what he’s done in Atheist. What’s your opinion on Steve's drumming?
RYAN: You know, the thing about him is groove. The way he hits the drums, I love his connection. It’s not just technique; I think it’s the feelings and emotion that he puts into his playing. There’s always a solid, fluid groove.
MD: And his fills are just incredible.
MD: You’ve mentioned Peter Wildoer already but, again, another unsung hero. I guess he got a bit of recognition with the Dream Theater auditions, but went back to Darkane, and that band is still fairly underground, I guess.
RYAN: Oh, Peter’s a monster. I’m not going to lie to you – when I did the Non-Human Level record and I sent my drums, I was actually nervous, because Peter was singing and he’s a drummer, as everyone knows. I was like, “oh man, I don’t want Peter to hear this”… out of respect, because I knew how monstrous of a drummer he was. I think he’s extremely underrated. I’m glad that he got the exposure because of the Dream Theater thing. The thing about Peter, he can do all the crazy stuff and all that, but he can groove like nobody’s business… he has jazz chops… he’s a well-rounded drummer and I really respect that about him.
MD: And somebody you’ve just been on tour with – Blake Richardson. Another unsung hero. What that man does is just incredible.
RYAN: Yeah, you know what, I think he’s starting to get more noticed. He’s starting to show up in drumming polls, which he rightfully deserves. Blake is unbelievable. He’s just incredible and the nicest guy you’ll meet, but the thing I admire about him is that he can lay down the fattest groove but, at the same time, he can go off and play Dillinger-like passages within Between the Buried and Me, and it’ll blow your mind. So, again, another well-rounded guy – whatever you need to lay down, he’ll lay down for you. If you want him to go crazy, he’ll go crazy, but he’ll still groove. And groove’s an important thing to me, you know. All these drummers you’ve mentioned, I think that’s what they have in common. They might be technical and can do crazy stuff, but they all have a great backbeat and great feel. That, to me, is our job as drummers, man.
MD: Who are the unsung drumming heroes for you?
RYAN: Well, if you want to talk unsung heroes, then Baard Kolstad from Leprous… that guy’s gonna turn some heads. He’s young right now, but he’s starting to come up the ranks.
MD: And Leprous’ old drummer, who’s with Shining now…
RYAN: Yeah, Tobias.
MD: Yeah, he’s got some serious talent, as well.
RYAN: Another unsung hero. Another guy that blew my mind, I saw Gojira the other night, and the opening band… Elliot Hoffman, who drums for Car Bomb… wow… just an incredible drummer. Again, under the radar. But then there are the guys I absolutely love… my favourite drummer on the planet, right now, is Gavin Harrison.
MD: Oh, Porcupine Tree.
RYAN: He has been forever, you know. He’s just… ohhhh… he’s the epitome of groove and creativity and thinking outside of the box, and making everything sound good.
MD: Yeah, exactly, yeah. We already talked about Non-Human Level, but if you look at some online sources, it states the project is still active…
MD: So is there more stuff in the pipeline? Another album, maybe?
RYAN: I saw them in Malmö, Sweden, when we played there and they came out to our show and hung out, and we talked about that. You know, it’s like, is the door closed? Not for me, and Peter and Christofer were like, “not for us”. Recently, there were some posts online of people asking about it and both Peter and Christofer responded, saying, “yeah, I’d totally be open to it.” I think it’s just a matter of fitting the time in. Right up until early 2018, I’ll be on the road with Dev. If we were to even think about doing something… and they’re working on a new record, Darkane… so, if we were to even think about something, the earliest possibility would be a year from now to, you know, start getting some ideas.
MD: That would be some gap between albums! It’s twelve years already! It’ll be some sort of record! Actually, have you heard of Black Widow, a band from the early 70s?
MD: They had a forty or so year gap between albums. I was sent their new album to review in 2011 and looked up their last record, which was in the early 70s… I was like: “Is this the same Black Widow? Oh, it is the same Black Widow!” What a gap!
MD: You’ve said, over the years, that you’d like to work on another Terror Syndrome album at some point… is this still a possibility? Or is it a matter of time, again?
RYAN: It’s timing again and, yes, I will definitely do another one. That’s my goal. It just comes down to the timing thing. I’ve written, probably, seven or eight songs that I know I can use for it. And I just like the idea that… now that we’ve toured so much with all these different bands, I’d love to get some of my favourite friends, who I’ve met over the years, to play on it. That, for me, isn’t about breaking out a band and taking over the world and touring. That’s just about putting out some really good music with some good friends. So, I definitely want to make it happen, it’s just a matter of time.
MD: Purely for fun.
MD: As music should be.
MD: Finally then, what’s next for DTP, recording-wise, and will the next album be a more openly-creative process in the same way as it was for ‘Transcendence’? Or was that just a one-off?
RYAN: You know what, he’s talked about it quite a bit and… I believe, ‘Transcendence’ is our best-selling record out of all the DTP records.
MD: Really? Wow.
RYAN: It took things by storm. And it was pretty evident after this tour, too. Things spiked, way bigger than any other album release we have with the band. So, I think he said he’d like to continue in that direction… now, that was a very vague way of him explaining it. You know, it’d be nice if we were still able to contribute because you feel more like you’re a part of it… but I believe that’s what he means when he says, “we’ll continue along those lines and see what we come up with.” In the end, we could do that again, and he might not vibe on what we did as a band, and it might be all his music; or we can do it again and he’ll love what we do together as a band and go that way. But, you never know with Devin until the product’s out and I totally appreciate that because, in the end, it’s the Devin Townsend Project. He’s gotta be happy with it because he puts his heart and soul into it, as do we all, but it’s got to fit within his vision.
MD: So, watch this space… for fans and for yourselves, too!
RYAN: Exactly, yeah!