DEVIN TOWNSEND Doesn’t See Music As A Self-Serving Pursuit But As A Conduit For Shared Human Experience

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In a world obsessed with fame and validation, Canadian musician Devin Townsend known for his genre-bending soundscapes and emotional lyrics, recently shared a unique perspective on the purpose of music. Rather than bask in the glow of adulation, Townsend finds the true value in his art surprisingly close to home: in the act of self-discovery and the unexpected connections it creates.

“I think that musicians aren’t necessarily responsible for songs,” he mused in a recent interview with Interviewing The Legends With Ray Shasho. “You’re responsible for picking the songs out of the air. And that comes from a combination of circumstance and habits on some level as well. And so if people are affected by the music, then I’m grateful for the music, for being there rather than feeling like a sense of pride on a personal level. I’m proud of the work that I do, ’cause it’s a lot of work, but not the music necessarily. And the other thing is, where I have tended to sort of go over the past couple of years, with pandemic and everything, is, like, well, what’s the fundamental value of what this is? How much of my connection to doing what I do is maybe got its talon in a need to be heard, a need to be seen, a need to be validated, or a need for any of these things. And if so, fuck, it’s a lot of effort if it’s just because you’re wanting attention, for example.”

This statement, initially counterintuitive, reveals a profound truth. Townsend suggests that the creative spark resides not in an artist’s ego, but in a larger, intangible realm, waiting to be tapped into. And it’s through channeling this universal energy, through wrestling with one’s own inner demons and translating them into sonic tapestries, that music acquires its most potent power: the ability to resonate with others on a deeper level.

This isn’t to say Townsend dismisses the impact his music has had on countless listeners. He expresses immense gratitude for the role his art plays in people’s lives, acknowledging it as a “service” worth dedicating his time to. But his focus isn’t on the applause or accolades. It’s on the raw, vulnerable process of introspection and artistic expression, and the shared humanity that emerges from it.

“So the place that I landed with that has been helpful to me is, okay, well, don’t think of it in the sense that the only reason you’re writing music is just so you can be seen. If it helps other people by you sorting your own shit out in some or not, and then writing about it and then people relating to it in a way that maybe they’re not capable of expressing in the same way, then that’s a service that you’re providing that I think is worth your time. Because what else are we gonna do in life? You’ve gotta do something, and so that seems like it’s a worthy thing.”

“I think the expression of any creative avenue at this point is rooted in… I’m very thankful for the opportunity to do it, and that’s where my inspiration seems to come from lately,” Townsend concluded.


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