During a conversation with United Rock Nations, Devin Townsend talked about his upcoming new album "Empath," the record's topics, and more.
You can check out a part of the interview below (transcribed by UG).
Listening to the new album 'Empath,' we have the impression of creative deliverance. Of course, we find elements you've already explored, but this time it seems like you went further. Do you feel free again writing music?
"I don't know about that. I feel like it's always dependant on the moment. There are some times the fact that I went as far with 'Empath' as I did has put me in a position to have less fear in the future, but also maybe because I just finished the record and it was so much work, every time I pick up an instrument now I'm creatively empty.
"This is a question that is best answered maybe in six months from now, but I think the answer is yes."
In the beginning, it was a feeling of chaos on your mind then after each song it was better?
"This whole process was very frightening for me because I think I was willing to go further with it than I have had in the past.
"So I think it would be very romantic for me to state that I did this whole process with an absence of fear, but the truth is much the opposite where the entire process was very frightening, I think."
Let's talk about the songs. We picked three that we want to talk about. The first one is 'Spirits Will Collide.' It has a particular vocal approach, on the verse...
"'Spirits Will Collide' is a song that has two sides to it. First, ever since I was a teen, I wanted to make heavy versions of something that sounds like Enya, very strong link to Enya.
"But the point of this song is very important to me because it's almost the point of the whole record, and that is - it's about not killing yourself, it's about not committing suicide.
"Hopefully, the words in 'Spirits Will Collide' will help maybe teens or people who have depression to understand that, well, so do I. I've had many people in my life tried to kill themselves or have unfortunately killed themselves.
"And I think that a lot of times, social media and internet in general promotes this idea of a perfect life that, when you're looking at Instagram, people post these pictures of their perfect life, and it's very easy to feel that you're not as successful, you're not as spiritual, you're not as beautiful, you know.
"It seems to be rooted in this fear of being seen as weak or vulnerable - which we are. 'Spirits Will Collide' is a song about - if you feel like there's no hope, maybe just know that you're not alone and please don't take your own life because what will you do is leave the people in your life in a place that is very difficult."
We also love the song 'Sprite.' It's a very experimental rock song, tell me more about it.
"I guess the theme of 'Sprite' is the same as 'Spirits Will Collide' in some way. The idea that you look around and if you really look closely, you'll see that so many people are hurting, so many people are broken hearted, so many people are broken in general...
"And that song, in my mind, was... I had an image of people in space, like, isolated, very alone, but sort of floating in space and naked. I wrote that song in the middle of the process, and I really liked the feeling of it.
"I liked the idea that it got a progressive kind of rhythmic to it, but I don't think it's progressive to the point where it's unapproachable, I think it's still pretty groovy."
You will be offering a complete bonus CD of unpublished tracks. We didn't hear it so we didn't know what are the songs. Can you tell us more about that?
"While I was writing 'Empath,' I wrote so many songs, and because of the way I record, my demos are very close to sort of final album recordings.
"Where the 'Empath' is 100%, the demos are maybe 82%, and that's not to say 'Empath' is 100% because it will never be perfect, it's frustrating."
So, when I started debating as I was working through the record as to whether or not 'Empath' should be a double record, and I talked to the label and to the people who were involved, I came to the conclusion by myself that I just do not like double records.
"When I hear that somebody has released a double record, my reaction to it is not positive. I think, 'Oh god, that sounds like work, it doesn't sound like an experience that I'm looking forward to.'
"I like the idea of saying everything you need to say on one record, however, if I have enough material for a double record, what do I do? So I decided to take all the music that I thought established what it was that I tried to do with 'Empath' and put it on the main disc and then released the other stuff.
"So basically, 'Empath' is technically a double record, I just don't want people to perceive it like that. The first record is the one you should listen to, but the second one is complete, you'll really like it, it's good."
"Empath" is due out on March 29, you can check out "Genesis" below.