Canadian singer, songwriter and producer Devin Townsend spoke to Metal Blast about how he is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. He said (see video below): "I am a hybrid of a lot of things. I am well aware of the chaos and the anxiety that it has brought to my life, being surrounded by people who are vulnerable, older. I have kids. Having to pivot work, the uncertainty of it all, the political and social discourse that's so toxic, all these things result in a mindset that I could excuse myself for feeling like all is lost. However, I don't feel that way. I feel incredibly grateful for things that I maybe have taken for granted in the past. And that has also extended to the audience. I'm so grateful for this career that I have that I've gone as far as I can to try and make as much good content, and try and make it something that I can provide, with my skillset, something that helps rather than hinders during this period for other people. But it's not easy.
"The other day, I was working on something — I was putting up a podcast or something; one of the things I was working with — and while it was printing, I just fell asleep," he revealed. "That's just what happens now… And I realized that there's this low-humming anxiety that has permeated all of our lives that, although I feel very grateful and very able to cope in the ways that I've learned how to, that anxiety in my life is sky high — like everybody else.
"So, it's weird. It's a hard question for me to answer, because all signs point to I should feel the worst that I've ever felt, but I don't."
Devin, who has always been open about his mental health issues, went on to confirm that things haven't been easy for him while he has been in quarantine.
"I do struggle, but it goes in three-day cycles," he said. "That's why it's been interesting, because I'll go for three days where I'm just, like, 'God, I can't. I can't.' And then, all of a sudden, I can.
"I think the things that are really important to bring to light in terms of the mental struggles and the fallout of this, which is gonna result in a lot of mental illness, I think, is that there's also this faction of society that, when you ask them how they're doing during this period, they're quick to say, 'I've never been doing better. I've been doing great. This is the best I've ever done.' I know there's certain friends of mine that say that; there's a lot of people that say that to me. And I think that they're maybe projecting a little bit and maybe they're not taking into consideration, or being honest with, how difficult it actually is. And I think one of the biggest problems with dealing with a society that's coping with these mental issues is when we downplay how intense it is.
"I think it's okay to be depressed, and I think it's okay to be despondent every now and then, regardless of whether or not you've got any predisposition to mental illness, because this is a depressing and despondent situation for a lot of people, and to allow yourself to feel that, I think, is really important," he added. "But also, simultaneously, to not allow yourself to get so caught up in that that you're wallowing. And the ways that I have found to manage it are meditation and exercise, and the awareness that I'm not alone with this. And if that person is able to pull themselves through, then so am I. And that helps."
Devin will release "Order Of Magnitude - Empath Live Volume 1" on October 23, a document of his 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.
"Order Of Magnitude - Empath Live Volume 1" will be released as a limited deluxe 2CD+Blu-ray+DVD artbook (including expanded artwork and photos), limited 2CD+DVD digipak, standalone Blu-ray, gatefold 3LP+2CD vinyl box-set and as a digital Album. The Blu-ray disc includes a bonus behind-the-scenes documentary, and both DVD and Blu-ray feature a 5.1 Surround Sound mix.
In June, "Empath – The Ultimate Edition" was released, the definitive version of Devin's latest studio album. It features a glorious 5.1 Surround Sound mix with accompanying visuals, plus a host of bonus material including mixing lesson, documentary, as well as a live set filmed during his April 2019 acoustic tour.