The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Ryan Van Poederooyen Devin Townsend Project - Interview
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Ryan Van Poederooyen

As the drummer for the Devin Townsend Project, RVP as he is also known is probably one of the most positive and friendliest musicians that you could possibly know and a fantastic drummer too. Not only will he be on tour in Australia with DTP this week but he is also hanging around after the tour to travel the country with his drumming masterclass. But as we find out in our chat with Ryan during rehearsals for the tour, these masterclasses will be so much more than just your average drum clinic gig. If you want to be inspired or motivated in some way in your life, these events will be something that you may want to check out.



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Andrew: There's a couple of reasons why you are coming to Australia this time around, obviously touring with Devin Townsend Project but also you are doing your own masterclass here as well. We're looking forward to seeing you here for quite a while!

Ryan: Yeah that's right! I guess it's 4 dates we're doing with DTP, going to do Brisbane, Sydney and then 2 shows in Melbourne and then I'm going to do all those cities with my masterclasses along with Perth and Adelaide as well. So I guess I will be sticking around in Australia until, about November 9th is when I fly back. So I'll be there for a bit which will be the longest stay I've ever had there and I absolutely love that country so I'm pretty excited to stay there for that long.

Andrew: I guess the last time you were here was about 2 years ago and when I spoke to Devin just recently (listen here), he was pretty excited to be coming back again so it's nice to see you coming back!

Ryan: Yeah and that was our own tour I believe from what I remember, it must of been about 2 or 3 years ago because we did Soundwave and then we came back and did another tour and then we went to Japan after that. But yeah it's been a while and I think the main reason that happened was just we were getting the Z2 record together so there was a bit of a break there that broke up the touring for us and we needed to get a new record out anyway. BUt I'll tell you, we're really excited to come back and play the Z2 stuff.

Andrew: How has the response been so far? Have you been getting a lot of good feedback on the new songs?

Ryan: Yeah it's been incredible man! We just finished playing Royal Albert Hall in April and we played the entire album in it's entirety and it was sold out.

Andrew: I had read recently that there is a DVD coming out from that show.

Ryan: Yeah man, the DVD is coming out in November at different times. I don't have the exact dates on me but it's going to be a worldwide release in Europe and England and all the other places are going to follow suite a couple of weeks after I believe. I think it's late November when that's dropping and yeah, it's a full on 3 hour concert of us at Royal Albert Hall. The first half is us playing "Dark Matters", the entire album, basically Ziltoid 2 in it's entirety from start to finish and then there's an intermission and then there's a by-request set that's about an hour and a half long.

Andrew: How did the by-request thing come about? Was that something that you had always wanted to do?

Ryan: Yeah I think they talked about it and I know Devin was keen on it so we basically just set something up on Devin's facebook, which has a ton of traffic and just put the question out there. If there was songs you guys would like to see us play at Royal Albert Hall, what would they be. And then he got thousands of comments and he just went through them all, we had someone go through them all and we chose the most popular songs. The ones that were voted for the most and we threw them in there.

Andrew: Was there any surprises in there as well?

Ryan: Yeah I think one of the biggest surprises was something like "The Death Of Music" off "Ocean Machine" which we did do. It's a really interesting song and I never really thought that people would be really big on that but that got a ton of votes so we ended up playing the last 3 tracks off "Ocean Machine", we may as well have played that whole record! But yeah we did "Funeral", "Bastard" and "The Death Of Music", we did all of that and it was all requested. It was a really cool show man, that's something I will never forget. There's some awesome behind the scenes stuff, some great pictures, a cool book that comes with it. It's definitely quite the package and then there's going to be just the blu-ray and then some special behind the scenes stuff on that or you can buy the deluxe edition which gives you the book and all that stuff as well.

Andrew: The last tour in Australia you had video screens and stuff like that, can we expect the same kind of thing this time around?

Ryan: Yeah and you know what? To be honest, I'm almost positive there will be the video screen. We've been doing LCD screens too but I don't know what's happening too much on the production side of things on this tour so my guess it's probably going to be a projector onto a screen like we did last time. But you never know depending on the budget and stuff, we may have LCD screens like we've been doing in the past year. But we always like to bring production, Devin's really into the theatrical side of things live so there's no way we will bring a show that's less than the last time we played there, put it that way.

Andrew: Yeah definitely. The Devin Townsend experience is always something to watch, it's an awesome thing to see actually.

Ryan: It's a ton of fun to play in too [laughs].

Andrew: [laughs] I would imagine so! The other thing of course is the masterclasses that you are doing after the tour. I remember you had mentioned that this is not just a drum clinic only, that there's some other aspects in there as well. Can you elaborate a little on some of those other aspects that you will be talking about in these masterclasses?

Ryan: Sure! Basically my approach to these masterclasses, I've done clinics in the past and done them more in a typical drum clinic kind of way like it was based all on drums, techniques or how I played different things. This time I wanted to do something completely different and I wanted to gear it to any musician, not just drummers so even music lovers, you don't even need to be a musician. So how I'm going to be doing it is I'm going to be playing selected tracks from the different bands that I've played in. Obviously Devin Townsend Project and Devin Townsend Band and other bands that I've played in and there's going to be a method to the madness as to why I play the songs I do which I will explain in the clinic. And then on top of that, there's several things that I will be talking about, I'll obviously give an introduction background on my life to date. I'm going to talk about stuff like that, how to prepare for your big break, introduction to gear and how endoresements actually work. Because everyone is always curious, like how do I get them and when you're there, how do they actually work? So I want to make people aware of that kind of thing. Stuff like my vision on songwriting, coming up with parts for songs and my approach to all that stuff. And I've always been big into fitness and health and positivity, it's a pretty huge part of my music career in many different ways and it's going to be really interesting to explain how all that lends itself to my career. So there's all these different things that I'm going to talk about and it's applicable to anyone that comes. My biggest goal though is to make sure that everyone walks away educated with things that are hopefully not normally talked about in clinics and most of all, I want people to walk away inspired and motivated.

Andrew: OK so what inspires you these days?

Ryan: You know what man? It's wierd, everyday I'm just trying to make every day awesome! For example, when I set goals and stuff, I'm not the type of person who is like, I'll be happy when I hit that goal'. For me it's making every day as awesome as it can be and enjoying the journey towards that goal. It pretty much is what inspires me on a daily basis, is that goal that making sure that every day is awesome. There are so many things, like music can inspire me, I love teaching and seeing my students get better as I teach them. But I find different things every day. Photography, I love it, it inspires me and makes me happy. There is so many different things that I look for, it really depends on what I'm thinking about that day because I can look at so many different things and be inspired. It's just the way I've always been, I was brought up that way. My parents were super positive and they told me to just always look around yourself and be grateful for the things that you have and that are around you and you'll find inspiration everywhere. And you know what? They are right, if you look hard enough, you can find inspiration, you can find positive things in your life every single day if you look for it.

Andrew: Yeah definitely, and doing what you enjoy as well is a big part of being happy and having an awesome life.

Ryan: Oh one hundred percent man! That's one thing that I really want to get through at these clinics, I want people to go out there and not just be a musician or whatever. When they walk away from this clinic, I want them to be the best they can be and some of the advice I'm going to be giving them can be applicable to becoming a lawyer, a doctor, a professional athlete, a musician, whatever. Bottom line is when you're doing something you love, that's one of the biggest contributors to happiness. And when you start making money doing what you love, it's amazing, it's the best feeling ever. I think the most successful people, when you're doing something you love, you're going to make the most money because it's just one of those things. How can you not when you're putting all your heart and soul into it. It's a really cool thing and that's one I want people to walk away with.

Andrew: Absolutely! So what for you then is the most difficult thing about being a musician and being in a band?

Ryan: You know what? It has nothing to do with other band members or I don't get too stressed out at gigs or anything, I think the biggest thing for me is I'm a perfectionist. So it's me battling that it's alright to make mistakes and I always learn from my mistakes which is a good thing when I did them. But that would probably be one of the harder things I have to deal with because every show I want to go out and nail absolutely everything and I put this pressure on me and it's kind of like a little game that I play with myself but it creates a really consistent gig for, gig after gig that I go out and play. That's probably the biggest thing. Everything from the band members to touring on the road, yeah that can be tiring sometimes but everytime I'm tired or if you have a bad day or whatever, I can sit there and go, 'Well shit, I can be back at the restaraunt job like 10-15 years ago'. Life is good man, I'm not going to bitch about it right! So I would say one of the toughest things is that it's alright to screw up here and there and never get down on yourself, and I don't. It's just sometimes I need to remind myself of that.

Andrew: Yeah it's exactly like you said before about being grateful for what you have I suppose.

Ryan: Exactly!

Andrew: I do have a couple of questions that we try to ask everyone we interview and I'm hoping you can answer them as we always get some interesting answers. If you could be a fly on the wall for the recording of any classic album in history, what album do you think that would be?

Ryan: That's a wicked question! What would it be? You know what? It's a tie for me in a sense, it would probably be the Beatles "Sgt. Pepper" and I would say the other one would definitely be Pink Floyd's "The Wall".

Andrew: Pink Floyd is a pretty common one that we get but the Sgt. Pepper album, why that particular one?

Ryan: Just one of my favorite albums and the lyrical content and everything that they talk about seems drug influenced [laughs], and it just makes me wonder what it would of been like to be in the studio. Where were they at mentally when they were doing that record? The Beatles were always a very interesting band, everyone was so interesting as individuals in that band so I think that album specifically would of been pretty cool to be in the studio to see.

Andrew: Yeah I would of loved to see the recording of that one as well, it's an interesting album. One final question for you personally, what is the meaning of life?

Ryan: The meaning of life man, is simple. It's happiness. To live life to the fullest, to do things that make you happy, to work hard, be grateful every single day for what you have and enjoy every single day to the fullest. The meaning of life is happiness, we're here to succeed. I firmly believe that. If you just sit there and settle and make your goals and settle for a mediocre job or you set mediocre goals for yourself, all you will achieve is a mediocre life. So you know what? Dream big, go hard and if you shoot big and maybe even if you don't get there, chances are you'll achieve a lot better than a mediocre life. So to me the meaning of life is happiness, it's just doing everything that you can to achive happiness and a well rounded life, something to be grateful for and enjoy the journey the whole time.

Andrew: Awesome, that sounds fantastic and good advice for anyone to move on from a negative part of their life. Anyway thanks for your time today and we will see you in Australia very soon!

Ryan: Yeah thank you very much Andrew, you have a great day man.


November 2nd: Adelaide - The Gov.
November 3rd: Sydney - Wesley Conference Centre Theatre
November 4th: Brisbane - Princess Theatre
November 6th: Melbourne - Gasworks Theatre
November 8th: Perth - John Inverarity Theatre

Tickets and tour info at Thump Music

with special guests PERIPHERY

October 22nd: Brisbane - Max Watts
October 24th: Sydney - Roundhouse
October 25th: Melbourne - 170 Russell
October 26th: Melbourne - 170 Russell

Tickets through Oztix, Ticketek or more info at Soundwave Touring.

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on October 19th 2015