Devin Townsend

Devin Townsend Opens Up On Disbanding The Devin Townsend Project & Strapping Young Lad: “They Were Really Great, Both Of Them, But It Wasn’t Right”


Devin Townsend‘s “Empath” studio documentary series continues today with the below second episode having been released. The series finds Townsend discussing the creative process of the album with videographer Mike Zimmer via calls recorded throughout the actual writing/production process for it. This particular episode also finds him opening up on the decision to disband the Devin Townsend Project. Speaking on that to Zimmer at the time, he stated:

“Leaving DTP and everything was really, really challenging for a number of reasons. As an empathetic person, I hate the idea of hurting people. Everybody’s got their hopes up and we’ve got a cool thing rolling and then I pull the rug out, you know, similar to what I did with Strapping [Young Lad]. I’ve spent a certain amount of time thinking about that and whether or not that’s like a self-sabotage thing or whatever.”

Honestly I think it comes down to co-dependence for me and I think this is something that I’ve been struggling with since day one. Because so much of my self-worth is invested in whether or not I have the approval of others—specifically friends or people that I care about—I find that I end up snowballing into things. And then before you know it you’re doing something. Before you know it you’ve been on tour for five years and the next step requires taking another step which is going to commit you to more and more things.

What it is that I have to say, what it is that I’m trying to say… it’s worth trying to get it right. Both Strapping and DTP weren’t right. They were really great, both of them, but it wasn’t right. Maybe I’m deluded in thinking there is such a thing as ‘right.’ So I think a lot of what I’ve had to come to terms with this particular creative period is I’ve changed as a person from who I was ten years ago.

And all the things about my life that, professionally, made sense up to this point just no longer make sense. I’m sorry guys, but that’s just how it is and I have to pursue that, right?”

Later in the conversation he went on to state:

“I’m so concerned about what other people think of my decisions that I second-guess things that I intuitively know I should do. Fortunately, I always do it, even amidst the psychodrama and the ‘should I?’ or ‘shouldn’t I?’ and apologies and humming and hawing— amidst all that I always do what I know instinctively I should do, even when I don’t understand why I should do it.”

Digging in deeper he also reflected on his self:

“I feel like my whole identity as a musician and as an artist has been split. I’ve been stuck in duality for so long that it functions literally as two entities, one of which is competent, calm and determined to do exactly what it is that needs to be done. And then there’s this other petulant 15-year-old neurotic anxiety-ridden kid that is panicking about everything all the time.”

Empath” will be in stores on March 29th and Townsend has plans to tour with a more flexible new band later this year.