DEVIN TOWNSEND Looks Back On Infinity Album - "I Was So Convinced That Was All Me, Like 'This Is Me...'; That's How The Record Failed In My Mind"
April 7, 2019, 2 years ago
Devin Townsend recently spoke with Riot Act about his new album, Empath. He talks about working with an orchestra, inviting Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger to do backing vocals, and incorporating multiple genres together as a musical metaphor for empathy.
Townsend: "I remember when I was struggling with Infinity because I was so convinced that was all me, like, 'This is me.' And that's how that record failed in my mind, for me. Not that the record failed, because I claimed it, I was so precious about it. I met a lady who was really getting into meditation at that time and she gave me an example of what she thought art was and it just stuck with me since then. As artists, we are blessed or fortunate to have brief glimpses of truth, you know, whatever that is. However, that comes through trauma, seeing someone being born, seeing someone die, a great love, loss, it doesn't matter.
As artists, which I think we all are on some level, we are fortunate enough to have a glimpse of the infinite, and then what an artist does is through his or her bias, like me, a middle-class white Canadian male, there's going to be certain things about the way I choose to interpret those experiences that aren't going to resonate with people that don't like what makes up my personality. They may hear my interpretation of something that's beyond me and say, 'I don't like it, it's too congested, it's too compressed, I don't like his voice', whatever. That's just my interpretation of it. In my mind, the truth of what art is is the same with every artist, like, it's just when I recognize something that I love.
It's not 'that' that I love, it's the fact that it's in honor of something that I think is true. When I see a great sculpture, I don't think to myself, 'Wow, I really want to hang out with that guy'; my thought is, 'This makes me feel joy because in his or her work I see something that is beyond us.' And because they've gone through the effort as a person to try to strip away so they get closer and closer to that truth, eventually artists get it closer, not right, but pretty close. In that sense, yes, your filter is what defines the aesthetic of it, but the truth of what art is has got nothing to do with us, it's, like, 'Holy shit, how awesome is that. See? Look at this, see? This is the best I can do.' I think that as an artist, the one thing that we can be proud of is that we are in service of that, and I fucked it up a bunch of times."
Check out the interview via Spotify here.
Devin Townsend's new album, Empath, is out now via InsideOut Records. Watch below as Devin unboxes the different versions of the album:
On this album Devin has decided to see what would happen if all the styles that make up his current interests were finally represented in one place. To finally shake the fear of expectation and just do what it is he was meant to do creatively; Empath, true to the name, is about allowing the audience a feeling for a variety of musical emotions. The musical dynamics represented on this single album are broad, challenging, and immense. To approach this sort of work with a long history of what makes heavy music “heavy,” allows this to be done with a type of power rarely heard. This is a statement about not only pursuing creative freedom in a conservative scene, but also trying to show that heavy music is truly a valid musical tool.
Empath is released on Limited 2 CD Digipak (including an entire disc of bonus material), Standard CD Jewelcase, Gatefold 180G 2LP Vinyl + CD + LP-booklet & as digital album. Order here.
"Spirits Will Collide"
"Singularity Part 1 - Adrift"
"Singularity Part 2 - I Am I"
"Singularity Part 3 - There Be Monsters"
"Singularity Part 4 - Curious Gods"
"Singularity Part 5 - Silicon Scientists"
"Singularity Part 6 - Here Comes The Sun"
"Spirits Will Collide" video: