Interview with Peter Royburger, DEVCORD

Peter Royburger (Devcord)

Austrian musician and guitarist Peter Royburger is a man behind a progressive death metal project Devcord who recently launched an album entitled ‘Dysthymia.’ We chatted about his musical upbringing, picking up a guitar, and more.

How would you describe your initial exposure to music?

When I was three years old, I got my first musical instrument which was a small children’s keyboard. My parents told me that I already started composing melodies back then. Moreover, my mother always used to sing.

Were you in the music programs in school while you were growing up?

Yes, I attended a secondary school with a focus on musical education. It has definitely influenced my life up till now.

How did you get into playing guitar?

One day, when I was 9 years old, I took my toy guitar and pretended as if I was playing my favourite songs myself. When my dad entered the room and saw this, he asked me if I wanted to learn how to play the guitar for real. Of course, I said yes and you know what happened then.

Did you start to listen to music differently once you discovered guitar?

Absolutely, I was so fascinated by this instrument that since then I have always listened to songs with the ears of a guitar player. When I began, I tried to play all kinds of different songs that had a cool rhythm guitar. Soon later, I also started learning solos.

Who were some of your early guitar influences?

When I started playing solos, I studied the ones of Daniel Jones of Silverchair, but also some pieces of Metallica’s guitarist Kirk Hammett.

Tell me about your guitar technique.

What I think is “special” about my technique is that I’ve never used a guitar pick. My longer nail of my right index finger serves as a substitute.

Recently, I’ve been learning sweep picking, but as it is very difficult you need a lot of time, precision and exercise.

What guitars are in your collection? What is your a guitar that you trust the most?

I am a proud owner of a collection of 16 guitars. Just to name some of the brands, I’ve got guitars of Fender, Gibson, Paul Reed Smith, Ibanez and Music Man. But I have to say that I am a big fan of PRS guitars.

With the advancement of the technology and amp/effect simulation, do you still use pedals?

Of course! Next to my studio project Devcord, I am in two more different bands that play live gigs.

Therefore, the good old stomp boxes are essential for me, because I like to experiment with analogue and digital sounds.

In your opinion, what are the three skills that every guitarist must bring to perfection?

I think the coordination and timing of the two hands are vital as well as the precision and the speed.

How did you work on perfecting your rhythm and solo parts?

I always start playing guitar parts very slowly and then I accelerate the speed more and more. It’s important to keep the precision throughout. And of course, that needs a lot of repetition and exercising.

Devcord - Dysthymia

Back to music… You have launched an album with your progressive metal project Devcord. Lead me through its creative process.

Well, the initial goal was to compose a progressive album. That was clear, but there was no definite concept. More or less, I thought: „Let’s see what happens.“ Normally, songs are completely arranged before you start recording. In Devcord’s case, most of the tunes developed spontaneously while recording – bit by bit, so to say. That made the creative process especially exciting for me!

What evolution do you feel “Dysthymia” represent for you as a composer and guitarist?

Through Dysthymia I noticed how important it is for me to write songs that are rich in variety. On the album, you can listen to hard death metal parts, but there are also calmer bits that even come without drums.

Not every song needs growling, in my opinion. I think I learned to work intuitively over time.

What were the biggest challenges you faced as a guitarist when making these songs?

While recording the album, I found out how imprecise I was playing. At a live gig, you wouldn’t really notice these small mistakes, but on an album you have to have an exact timing. My biggest challenge was to play as precise as possible. I had to replay some parts a lot of times until they were as I wanted them to be.

How do you go about channeling inspiration into writing?

First, I have quite vague visions in my head where a song should go. For example, when I was writing Reaper’s Helpers, I wanted it to sound like a nightmare. This is why I used so many eerie sounds and disharmonies. While recording Agonal Breathing, it was clear to me that I didn’t want the different parts to repeat themselves. The details came spontaneously with every song.

Back to tech talk, tell me about your guitar rig you used for recording the tracks?

I am afraid that this answer is not going to be very spectacular. All of the sounds of the guitar parts developed with amp simulations on the computer. I didn’t use any stomp boxes or amps. Instead, I use AmpliTube, Guitar Rig 5 and EZ-Mixes. Of course, I played the guitar myself! If I had the money, I would definitely prefer real amps in an appropriate studio room.

What are your five favourite pieces of gear in 2018, and why?

Honestly, I have to say that I´m not up to date regarding the newest gear in 2018. So I can´t really answer this question. But my latest purchase is the Fender FSR ´70s Jazz Bass MN Natural.

What comes next for Devcord?

At the moment, I am working on an industrial metal album with a friend of mine. Maybe, that will be my next release. In any case, I want to record a second Devcord album. But this will take some time. Rome wasn’t built in a day…

Check out Devcord on Bandcamp and Facebook.