On October 23, we get an early Halloween treat with the release of Order Of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1 from Devin Townsend via InsideOut Music. Fans will have a variety of formats to choose from including 2CD/DVD Digipak, 3LP/2CD box-set, and Deluxe 2CD/Blu-ray/DVD Artbook. Devin kindly shared some time with us to talk about the new live album, his quarantine concerts, and a bit about his podcast.
When the pandemic forced the shutdown of all live events, Devin like many other artists reached out to fans online. His Quarantine concerts featured Devin in his studio playing a wide variety of his music to fans who joined the live stream. These shows were very well received and much appreciated. I asked Devin how important these shows were to him while being stuck at home.
“Well, really important” replied Devin. “I’ve been saying to the audience for so many years how thankful I am for this job and how grateful I am for people to support it. Specifically, nowadays when there’s really no need to support physical media. Like why would you (laughs) it doesn’t make any sense right? So the fact that people do is something I don’t take lightly and it gave me an opportunity to show that I felt that, I guess. And it’s also nice to have some sense of community as well.”
Order Of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1 features an incredible band which included Mike Kenneally (guitar – ex-Frank Zappa), Markus Reuter (guitar – Stick Men, The Crimson Project), Morgen Agren (drums – Kaipa, Mats & Morgan, Frank Zappa), Nathan Navarro (bass), Diego Tejeida (keyboards – Haken), Ché Aimee Dorval (vocals/guitar), Samantha & Anne Preis (vocals) and Arabella Packford (vocals). While the musical performance is incredible and sounds fantastic, the film footage is immersive. The viewer can easily put themselves within the show. I asked Devin if they set out with a goal to create such an intimate feel with the video.
“I think what tends to happen is the band and the performance dictates what gets filmed” answered Devin. “One of the most interesting things that happened with the Empath Volume 1 band that I was hoping for, but certainly hadn’t completely expected is that these ten people and the crew would form a bond that was very communal and very intimate.”
The playing by everyone in the band is jaw-dropping. The performances on “Heavens End”, “Deadland”, and “Castaway/Genesis” are standouts. The seamless interplay of the band on stage is captivating. I asked Devin what was most satisfying about that performance.
Devin responded, “It would be the personal aspect of it.” Devin continued “Finding people at that level was really interesting to me because they’ve done so much that the conversations were never about music or work at least. So when we’re off stage it’s always, let’s talk about books, or movies, or songs or whatever. But it was never about gear, or…and there was something about that that I found on a social level to be just so refreshing.”
It is hard to not feel a bit wistful when watching of Order Of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1 given that we currently cannot experience live music in close quarters with many people. However, this live album and DVD are a great reminder of how awesome live music can be.
Check out the rest of the interview video where Devin provides more details on the live album and talks a bit about his podcast. The podcasts provide insights from Devin into his life at that time he was making some of his older albums. They make for a nice compliment to the body of his work which now includes the engrossing Order Of Magnitude: Empath Live Volume 1