Canadian singer, songwriter and producer Devin Townsend was recently interviewed by Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio about his upcoming “Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1” release and how he’s been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked if he thinks the music industry will be forever changed because of the COVID-19 crisis, Devin said: “Yes. I think everything will forever be changed. I can’t think of anything that won’t be. That’s not necessarily to say that it will be bad, but… Even last night, I had two separate dreams about being in crowds of people. The year before last, I had a couple of really exciting experiences. I went and spent a bunch of time in India and I went and spent a bunch of time in China. And both those places have a population density that is crazy. And last night, I had two separate dreams — one that I was in China, and one that I was in India, and in both of the dreams, I was panicking, because there was too many people around. I was just, like, ‘Man, how do I find a way to function with this amount of people?’ And I think that maybe all of us have got that kind of internalized sense now — to a certain degree, at least, depending on what your view on this scenario is of what is a safe environment to be in. And I think, at the very least, it’s gonna take a while to shake that.”
Pressed about whether he thinks anything positive has come out of the pandemic for musicians, Devin said: “Yeah. I’m trying to figure out what. My knee-jerk reaction is just to say yes, but I don’t know why. I think there’s something to be said for the tenacity that it requires to maintain a positive frame of mind through an environment of relentless negativity that benefits us as people and as artists. Because I think you can kind of take one of three paths with a scenario like this. You can either run with it and try and pivot your life so that you can continue to create, or you can be resistant towards it and go at it from the angle of fear and, who knows, victimization. And then there’s the other side where it sweeps the legs out from underneath you, and it can be the end of you, to a certain degree, professionally or otherwise. And I think that it gives the industry an opportunity to see how much can be done in the face of this sort of thing. And it was a lot. And I think that it ends up that we — at least I — didn’t recognize the amount of things that I was capable of doing when the chips were down. And that will benefit anyone who takes that point of view in the future, because, all of a sudden, we’ve got all this new skill set, like OBS or Twitch or podcasts or streaming or concerts or any of these things. “For me, it was like having kids as well. Prior to having kids, I didn’t think that I’d be able to do it. I’d be, like, ‘There’s no way I could be a father. There’s no way.’ And then I found that it was just, like, I guess you don’t give yourself enough credit sometimes for the things that you’re capable of. And a lot of times, the ways that that is tested is through adversity. When things are going great, there’s no need to see how you’re gonna rise to these occasions. It doesn’t have to happen. The obstacles create the need for solutions, and those solutions are interesting.”
“Order Of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1” will be released on October 23. The set has been described in a press release as “a document of [Devin‘s] winter 2019 European tour that saw him taking on possibly his most ambitious live show to date.”
Recorded in December 2019 in London, U.K. on the penultimate night of the tour in support of his latest album “Empath”, this run of shows saw Devin joined by an incredible lineup of musicians. The band was made up of guitarists Mike Kenneally (ex-FRANK ZAPPA) and Markus Reuter (STICK MEN, THE CRIMSON PROJECT), drummer Morgen Agren (KAIPA, MATS & MORGAN, FRANK ZAPPA), bassist Nathan Navarro, HAKEN keyboard player Diego Tejeida, and guitarist/vocalist Ché Aimee Dorval, as well as vocalists Samantha and Anne Preis and Arabella Packford.