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Devin Townsend: Sobriety Is Key for Working on Multiple Projects at Once

Christie Goodwin, Redferns

Devin Townsend is metal’s mad scientist and he refuses to let his mind go idle. Townsend is working on multiple albums for 2011. He has also released a free, five-song live Devin Townsend Project EP, which can be downloaded here.

Additionally, Townsend is working on not one, but two albums he plans to release this year, titled ‘Deconstruction’ and ‘Ghost.’ How is the singer/guitarist doing it all? He is surprisingly lucid and forthcoming about this mental state. “In terms of keeping my s— together, the #1 key for me has been sobriety,” Townsend told Noisecreep. “It’s not as glamorous and the parties are weaker, but my nature has always been to try and make interesting and complicated statements, and for the level of complexity involved with these current records, things such as file management and computer maintenance on down to just keeping my work area clean were essential components in not letting the sheer bulk of work become overwhelming.”

Townsend essentially simplified to succeed. “So I ate well, slept when I was tired, and whenever the level of intensity got too much, I simply turned the computer off,” he said. “I think part of keeping the fear in check was realizing that ultimately, it wasn’t too important and it didn’t really matter. It was not ‘permitted’ to control me … a definite choice.”

Townsend elected to release the digital EP for free since everyone already downloads and steals music anyway but he is also trying to keep fans interested beyond. “For sure, yet there is such a stigma about downloading that I think ultimately it overshadows the artistic motivation of ‘I just want as many people to hear my music as possible,’” Townsend said. “Why? Because I love it and I think the intentions are healthy. The Internet has been wonderful for me in order to be able to connect directly with people and I think that making things available for free is a show of respect on both sides. There’s a definite awareness on the ‘artists’ part that downloading exists and is a part of the landscape now.

“If people can get the music for free, there’s two questions: One, why should they bother to buy it? Two, how do artists pay their rent?” Those are poignant concerns and highlight the very real conundrum facing the music industry in 2011. Townsend, continued, “I believe if you provide good music as almost an advertisement for your artistic vision, then ultimately, the people who want you to keep doing what you do based on that exposure, will support you in other ways. Buying a shirt -if the shirt is good- or buying a special edition with a ton of goodies, buying a personalized version and so on and so on… the record stores are still charging $20 in some cases for something that costs $2 to produce, so there’s no incentive.”

Overall, Townsend wants to provide incentives and extras. “I want to keep doing music, and I think by providing cool things for free, you provide that incentive. People aren’t stupid, and no one wants to be lied to,” he said.

Metal needs more truth tellers like Devin Townsend.

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