Devin Townsend opened up on some of the financial details of his band, explaining to Music Radar how the money aspect can impact an artist in various ways:
“I don’t make huge amounts of money, but I make [enough] money, thankfully, that I can support my family and continue to do what I do without having to compromise, necessarily.
“But I’ll tell ya, man, every time you have something that has some sort of success – the last record did well for me – or I made a song that got on to a soundtrack people liked, and you make a bit more money off of that, man, it’s like, crazy as an artist to constantly be tempted with repeating yourself, for the sake of hoping to y’know, get a little bit of extra money.
“It’s like, your wife is happy that you can get a new dishwasher, or whatever, you know, the tendency is to even subconsciously convince yourself that, ‘Oh, that’s what I should be doing; I should be making another record like that,’ when, as an artist in the truest sense of the word, your only obligation is to continuously call yourself out on your own bullshit, and hope that where you end up next is exactly where you should be, however that manifests itself monetarily or commercially.
“Sometimes it’s hard to be like… ‘I can’t do what I know people want,’ because it’s not in line with where I’ve gone, but that’s just kind of a part of it.”
And this is things like disbanding DTP?
“That’s one example of it, but it’s as good an example as any because the mechanism is the same. With DTP, for example, it’s a hard thing to answer concisely, but, in order to pay for lots of people’s salaries in the climate musically in this industry that we’re in now, the only alternative was to relentlessly produce product, relentlessly tour. All these things.
“I mean, all that is great, because it builds the brand, but it becomes a vacuum in a sense that you have no real time to process what’s going on. What I’ve found with my own creative process is that it needs to have a constant sort of self-analysis just very practically to be inspired. Otherwise you just get really bored.
“We toured for so long and with such relentless scheduling, that by the end of it all I was writing about was that. Things at home were falling apart on some level, like even physically, the house needs tons of work and I’m not there to do it… and the whole thing that is required for me to get to the next stage artistically really is more involved with me just being able to grow with life, as opposed to keeping it all at bay.
“By touring the way that I had done, all it was doing was keeping the rest of my world at bay, in the hopes that that touring world would transpire into, like, a lot of income or whatever. Ultimately, man, I toured for 11 months, 10-and-a-half months last year, and the band… I don’t know if we broke even. There are certain residuals which come from the exposure, but ultimately, I was working to fund the work, and I didn’t need to.
“When I sat back and looked at my life and my family and my mental health and my physical health and my objectives as an artist, I had to make some really hard decisions with that DTP situation that affected a lot of people, y’know?
“Ultimately, that is the most practical example of having to follow your creative motivations wherever they may lead, even if it means making things that are viewed as a selfish decision, or even if it means the next thing that I do confuses people who have some sort of investment in what I’ve done over the last little while. That’s how it goes.”