STEVEN WILSON INTERVIEW
Steven John Wilson is an English musician, singer, songwriter and record producer, most closely associated with the progressive rock genre. Currently a solo artist, he became known as the founder, lead guitarist, lead vocalist and songwriter of the band Porcupine Tree.
Twinmusix got to speak to Steven Wilson about his new album, his upcoming tour and more.
TM - How are you?
SW - Yeah I'm good, I am in Tokyo at the moment
TM - How is Japan?
SW- It is a pretty incredible place, have you been here before?
TM - No, it is on my bucket list
SW - It is definitely like another planet here in the best possible way
TM - What is your favourite thing to do there?
SW- Shopping especially record shopping, they have some of the best record shops in the world here. I am a bit of a collector nerd so I always have fun going record shopping here.
TM - What is your favourite artist to collect?
SW - I don't really have a favourite artist to collect, I am always very curious to collect someone I don't know rather than going out and buying copies of Records I already know of artists. I already know I go out and buy stuff I amm not familiar with and haven't heard before. I spend my time listening to new music rather than artists I already know.
TM - Is there anything you've really wanted do like hold a koala?
SW - I have done that before for other tours, there is never really enough time to see a country and absorb the culture, geography, landscape and history. I have always been under pressure to squeeze as much time into the little time I have. One day I'm going to come over there and do a proper holiday / vacation.
TM - You should definitely come and check Australia out properly, there is so much cool stuff to do here.
TM - What can fans expect from your Australian tour?
SW - This show is a very spectacular immersive show, I kind of think of it as a king tour cinematic experience it's quite ambitious in terms of the way that the music and the visuals work together and lots of fun. Fans that have been following me for years will be pleased that the show encompasses a lot of my history, it also encompasses a lot of my songs from the last 20 to 25 years of writing and recording music. It is designed to be a musical journey and I really tried to take the people that come along to the show on some type of Journey with music and great musician ship quadraphonic sound so we have sound coming from the back and front of the room so it is a really immersive spectacular experience.
TM - How do you pick the set list for touring?
SW - I mean in a very fortunate position where I have a big back catalog of songs obviously when you go into it you were going to focus on whatever your record is this particular to is based around my current record To The Bone, which is primarily concerned with truth what is truth how everyone has an idea of Truth and that is very much perception and your idea of truth is filtered through your up bringing, your geography, your history, your religion and politics all of those things colour your idea of Truth. This idea of Truth actually being perception so this show was always going to be about those concepts and subjects. Then I have to go back into my back catalogue and see what type of songs can go in that type of show so there are songs in my career i have written with a similar type of theme but in a different way.
TM - Have you ever considered doing a talking tour?
SW - It has been suggested, doing some Q&A based thing I think I will do that someday, I do like to discuss how it is like being a artist in the 21st century which is a whole different kettle of fish. Since I started making music which is about 25 years ago how much do industry has changed it and how much and how much being a professional musician has changed and how much the whole job has changed since when i first started that is fascinating to me. I would love to go and talk to Young musicians about that and share my experiences from someone who started in the industry when it was a different time and a different era a different model from a thesis now something I'd like to do Someday.
TM - I was listening to some of your interviews this morning, I think it's been awesome to hear from your point of view as well you have some really good points.
SW - I formulated my way like a lot of people in this industry, you have to formulate what your way of doing things so being a artist and a photographer like yourself you have to find your way of doing things and the way that works for you and I haven't had a very conventional career quite the opposite. My career has been very Unconventional in the way I have done things I am not a mainstream household name by any stretch of the imagination but I do have a very successful career and a lot of that has to do with doing it in a very selfish self-indulgent way and finding my own path musical.ly under Business Wise. I like to think that is interesting and would be interesting to be with younger musicians or just fans are like.
TM - How have fans responded to your new album?
SW - Very well I think it's one of those things that is a signature of my career is every album I have made is different to every album I have made before. The way things usually go is there is a mixture of acceptance and some people are sceptical of the music evolves and changes particularly on this record because it had a slightly more song based approach more accessible some may even call it pop sensibility some of my longer term fans for very sceptical about that. I think what has happened over the last year or so is people have learnt to love the record they come along and see the music live and it starts to make more sense to them and I think over the last year since it's been released its has become a very record and the songs are very much highlights in the show.
TM - Andrew Partridge help write on his songs on your new album what was it like working with him?
SW - Andrew is being great and he is been my friend for a few years now, he has been one of my friend writing Heroes. I grew up with XTC one of my favourite bands, still to this day but I worked Andy over the past couple of years now on his catalogue and his music. We have got to know each other very well and he is a very good friend
someone who I have a lot of respect for, it was kind of a logical in a Development in a kind of way of our friendship and our collaboration to ask him to write lyrics one of the greatest British songwriters of all. For me a real honour and privilege to have him working on my music.
TM - If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be and why?
SW - I don't think I think in that way, I think collaboration is about chemistry I don't think about picking your favourite musicians from the past music it doesn't work like that. I have been very fortunate to collaborate with a lot of my heroes but in terms of collaborating musical.ly I would rather find unknown and up and coming artists people who have good ideas rather than established musicians if that makes sense you.
TM - Yeah it makes sense I think it's really cool that you're happy to collaborate with up and coming musicians.
TM - If you could have any band play one of your songs which band would it be which song and in your style or theirs?
SW - A lot of people have covered my songs over the years and I think some of them are fascinating. I think what I love is when someone approaches the music with a completely different perspective, there was one guy who was a cello player and they recorded my songs is only using a cello and it was absolutely incredible. I didn't know this guy, I didn't know his music I was completely blown away with what he did with the music.
There was also this Indian guy who did a version of my song perfect life on a Sitar which is a traditional Indian instrument. Those are the things that excite and surprise me how the music can work in completely different context.
TM - Would you ever consider the ring in Orchestra tour?
SW - I would love to do that, it is not something I am doing anytime soon but I would love to work with orchestral musicians, maybe I would write something of that format instead of trying to adjust my current music to know you have those musical forces available to you and Accurately to write something for them would be incredible maybe one day.
TM - You are a massive Prince fan, you have a favourite memory of watching him live?
SW - I have seen them a few times over the years, I think he was a reminder of when it is done well what an incredible performance it can be. I think he was so far at the top of that particular game, when you see him live you like that is how you do it it's a listen to everyone else how to be a star and a live performer and how to capture everyone In your hand.
The last time I saw Prince was in 2009 or 2010 and he play 21 nights in the same venue in London, at this point I am already someone who has been in the industry for many years and cynical. I do not go and see a lot of live bands in some ways, it is like going to the office going to see another band perform live. I went to see Prince and I am so happy I did not only because that was one of the last times I got to see him play in London but also it reminded me that I could still be carried away and like a 15 year old kid again of someone that could be blown away with that much charisma. In many respects and i do believe he is the most gifted pops musicians we have ever had and will ever have.
TM - Is there anything else you want to announce to your fans?
SW - Expect the unexpected don't expect me to do the same thing i did before, expect something different that drives me and already thinking about my notes record and what i'm going to do next.
TM - Thank you for the interview today, hope you have a great day. We can't wait to see you in Australia.