DEVIN TOWNSEND Talks Riff Writing - "Don't Lose Sight Of Your Own Style"

July 18, 2017, 5 months ago

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DEVIN TOWNSEND Talks Riff Writing - "Don't Lose Sight Of Your Own Style"

Music Radar recently caught up with Devin Townsend (Devin Townsend Project, Strapping Young Lad) to discuss the art of riff writing. Following is an excerpt from Townsend's masterclass.

Listen To Others

Townsend: “If you’re stuck with an idea for a riff then take advice from others. For years, I was a legitimate solo artist and I listen back and if I’m honest with those old records there is a bunch of stuff that could have done with some honest, objective advice. Now, I don’t feel afraid to ask for advice. I just have to really work on my reactions when someone tells me that they don’t like something! How you react depends on how much of your personality you have invested in what you do. When I was younger I don’t think I had as clear a sense of identity as I have now. Now I have a lot of confidence in who I am to the point that someone saying that a riff needs to be better doesn’t feel like someone’s creative critique is based on my personality." 

Don't Lose Sight Of Your Own Style

Townsend: “To this day I always get criticised for using too much echo, but I like it. Sometimes it is difficult because you are second guessing. Even the soundman will say there’s too much echo, but I like it. There is a different connection to it, but that doesn’t mean that it is wrong. I think that if you as a guitar player have something about your style that you enjoy yet other people say it is not appropriate to whatever is happening, you’ve just got to fuckin’ do it anyway. Sometimes you need the wherewithal to say no. If you are soliciting advice and you say, 'No, that's different', but if you are not soliciting advice and someone tells you that they don’t like what you do then there is only one option, and that is that you have to tell them to stuff it."

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