Devin Townsend discussed his 2007 album, Ziltoid the Omniscient, on his latest podcast. Townsend’s podcast series has seen him discuss the recording process for numerous albums he has created, including Ocean Machine: Biotech, Synchestra, Devlab, The Hummer and The New Black.
Townsend began the Podcast discussing how he was preparing for his upcoming Halloween concert and making stems for various projects he’s been working on. Townsend also said that he’s been asked to confirm tours, joking that it is with the assumption that they are going to fall through due to the ongoing pandemic.
In the podcast, Townsend states he considers Ziltoid the Omniscient to be part two of his career. Townsend recalls how the album first began with him going to the Devin Townsend band and Strapping Young Lad to say he needed a change, both musically and personally, with Townsend and his wife preparing to have children. Townsend described the Strapping Young Lad album Alien as exploring his fear about having children. Townsend described fatherhood and the way in which it changed his outlook towards life to be less arrogant.
“Now that I look back 15 years later on Ziltoid, I realize that lesson was the next one in line,” Townsend said.
He describes the break-up of Strapping Young Lad, saying he had felt shaken to the core after those experiences. He chose to change his life around and “get a job” so he could take care of his family. He explained how he felt resigned with his music, navigating having a new child and struggling as a family and being a new parent. Townsend lists the times where he feared for his new child, the baby choking as their face turned red, a pre-natal class warning new parents of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
“This was real now,” Townsend said. “This is no longer some sort of abstract, existential artistic metaphor. This is a tangible thing.”
Townsend walks through caring for a new infant, losing touch with music and writing songs. He felt that if he had even tried writing music it would have been a terrible experience, and the time he was living in had new perimeters and couldn’t find inspiration.
Eventually, Townsend was able to piece the album together, picking at the guitar and searching for inspiration as he tried to get his gear together. He picked out the riff for “Hyperdrive,” the lyrics in line with the melancholy he was feeling being a new parent. After taking out a loan so he could have his own recording studio, the album eventually followed, with Townsend wanting to use minimal gear as he mixed it himself on his laptop.
On October 23, Townsend will be releasing his new live album, Order of Magnitude – Empath Live Volume 1, and is currently working on a new album called Lightwork. Last month, Townsend released a live version of the song “Genesis,” as part of his upcoming live album. He was also recently announced to be on the lineup for 2021’s Brutal Assault Festival.
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat