Devin Townsend: “I’m a pretty tranquil person, but that’s mixed with a constant undercurrent of anxiety and intensity”

Devin Townsend
(Image credit: Paul Harries)

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past three years, it’s that everyone dealt with the pandemic in their own ways. Some artists wandered deep into the void and made their darkest records yet; some chose to embrace the calm and unlock their inner zen; some leaned into the chaos, or went ultra-pop as a form of escapism, or ignored the shifts in mood entirely, or chose not to make new records at all. Ever the man of a million thoughts, Devin Townsend couldn’t settle for just one option.

The omnipotent prog-metaller wrote hundreds of songs over the COVID era, siphoning material into different categories. The more chaotic songs were bundled into The Puzzle, while those a little more serene went into Snuggles. Both albums arrived last December, accompanied by films (and in the former’s case, a graphic novel), paving the way for one of Townsend’s all-time biggest musical epics: Lightwork. Coupled with an ancillary album of B-sides titled Nightwork, the ten-track opus follows Townsend on a sprawling journey through sound, as effervescent as it is profound.

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…